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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 May 2004, 16:13 GMT 17:13 UK
Queen opens new McLaren facility
The Queen meets Emerson Fittipaldi, Alain Prost and Mika Hakkinen
The Queen meets Emerson Fittipaldi, Alain Prost and Mika Hakkinen
The Queen has opened Formula One team McLaren's new state-of-the-art headquarters in Woking, Surrey.

The facility, which cost 300m over a five-year period, was constructed on the site of a former ostrich farm.

The Queen met a number of former McLaren drivers as well as the current pair of David Coulthard and Kimi Raikkonen during her visit.

She also saw some of the winning cars which have made McLaren the most successful team in recent history.

The Queen watched mechanics reassemble the McLaren car which competed at the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona last weekend.

McLaren boss Ron Dennis told her: "People don't realise that the cars are completely dissembled and rebuilt after every race."

The Queen replied: "And the parts put back in the right order, I hope."

Former world champion Mika Hakkinen, who won the title with McLaren, said: "A building like this will certainly help - its definitely going to bring better results in the long-term.

"It's much more comfortable, clean and organised. People can concentrate on their work and make fewer mistakes."

Architect Lord Foster said: "This is the workplace of the future now. It's very much about human values, advanced technology and ecology."

Poor start

In spite of their outlay, McLaren are currently enduring their worst start to a season for 23 years.

Their drivers have only picked up five points between them in five races so far this season.

McLaren have in recent years been expected to challenge Ferrari at the front of the grid.

Dennis said he is determined to see his team dominate again and denied that there had been too much focus on the building of the centre.

The new facility allows the majority of McLaren's activities to be based in one place and contains laboratories as well as design and development areas.


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