McLaren Mercedes announced today that both its drivers, Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard, will continue to drive for team next year. "It is very appropriate that Hockenheim is the venue which we have chosen to extend our relationships with Mika and David," said McLaren boss Ron Dennis. "Mika's contract now sees him entering his eighth season with the team - which will be the longest period of association between a team and a driver in terms of Grands Prix contested. David has also shown great commitment and loyalty to us during the last four seasons and we are delighted that this is continuing."
Hakkinen's new salary is speculated to be $16 million a year - more than twice his current annual salary - whereas David Coulthard will earn $5 million - a modest rise in his current salary.
A happy Hakkinen commented: "I can hardly imagine life in any other team. I now feel a long established member of the family." Coulthard, relieved no doubt, was equally delighted. "I am ecstatic that I am continuing with the team and I very much appreciate the confidence that McLaren and Mercedes have shown in me," he said.