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Atlas F1 News Service, a Reuters report
Hakkinen Denies Retirement Rumours

Thursday May 18th, 2000

Formula One world champion Mika Hakkinen denied on Thursday speculation he would retire at the end of this season.

"I will not quit after this season... my contract (with the McLaren team) is such that I could not do it," Hakkinen was quoted as saying by Finnish regional daily Turun Sanomat.

The double world champion said he would stay with McLaren, for whom he has driven since 1993, at least until the end of 2001 season and maybe even longer.

Hakkinen made the comments in response to British press speculation which cited McLaren sources as saying he would leave Formula One after the season-ending Malaysian Grand Prix.

Hakkinen said he thought neither he nor his fiercest rival, German Michael Schumacher, would be around in five years' time.

"I would be surprised if that happened ... the pressure to win is brutal and the longer you drive in Formula One you start asking yourself 'what if some accident should happen?'," he said.

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