McLaren duo set to stay on

The record breaking partnership between McLaren drivers Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard will be extended into its seventh consecutive year if Ron Dennis gets his way, following hints made by the Silver Arrows team boss in this week's Autosport magazine

McLaren duo set to stay on

"We will always take and have always taken the best drivers available to us," Dennis exclusively told Autosport. "There is no reason whatsoever to change our existing driver line-up - they are doing an excellent job. I can't see the circumstances under which that would change."

The Coulthard and Hakkinen duo has yielded one constructors' and two drivers' championships and with both set to stay on it leaves little opportunity for others to land a top line drive. Rubens Barrichello is expected to stay on with Ferrari despite rumours to the contrary following the Brazilian's reluctance to obey team orders in Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix.

With a lock-out on drives with both of Formula 1's Big Gun teams, it would take a retirement from one of the existing drivers to give a rising star a chance. It is understood that even if Dennis wants to retain his services, Hakkinen may call it a day if his poor form continues. The Finn has only scored four world championship points from six races so far this year compared to Coulthard's tally of 38.

Jordan-Honda driver Jarno Trulli has been linked to the Woking-based team, but would have to release himself from a contract with Benetton boss Flavio Briatore.

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