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banner Monday, 14 May, 2001, 12:19 GMT 13:19 UK
Plane crash kills F1 engine man
Mika Hakkinen after winning the 2000 Belgian Grand Prix
Hakkinen won two world titles with Ilmor engines
One of the founders of the company that makes Mercedes' Formula One engines has died in a plane crash.

Briton Paul Morgan, co-founder of Ilmor Engineering with Swiss Mario Illien, was killed on Saturday when the vintage plane he was piloting crashed on landing, police said.

Morgan died when his plane flipped as it landed at 1500 BST at Sywell Airport in Northamptonshire.

A police spokesman, who declined to be named, said Morgan had been flying alone.

Paul Morgan
Morgan: Sad loss

The McLaren team expressed shock at Morgan's death. The company said in a statement he had died in a flying accident but was unaware of specific details.

McLaren driver David Coulthard refrained from spraying champagne after his victory at Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix out of respect for Morgan.

"Obviously the victory has been marred by Paul's death," Coulthard said. "We are all very sad and I don't feel much like celebrating."

The 52-year-old was managing director of Ilmor Engineering, the company that builds and supplies McLaren's Mercedes F1 racing engines.

He was married with three children.

Morgan was flying a World War Two propeller-driven South African Naval Fury plane, police said.

Indycar success

The single-engine plane crashed on landing, flipping over onto its cockpit and trapping the pilot, a police spokesman said.

"He was certified dead on the scene by a police surgeon," the spokesman said.

The airport was temporarily closed. Officers from the Civil Aviation Authority will investigate the cause of the crash.

Ilmor started when Morgan and Illien quit the Cosworth company to set up on their own in the 1980s. They began by building engines for the US-based Cart IndyCar World Series, and moved into F1 in 1991.

Mario Illien
Illien founded Ilmor with Morgan
Morgan was a partner with Illien, US motor racing mogul Roger Penske and Mercedes-Benz in an alliance that prepared some of the most best engines in Indycar racing.

"The news was just devastating," said Penske, who owns a 25% share of the business. "Mario was the designer, but Paul Morgan was the one that kept it together. It's a tremendous loss."

Ilmor/Mercedes quit the Cart series last year and this season is developing the Oldsmobile engine that took pole at the Indianapolis 500 on Saturday.

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See also:

12 May 01 |  Formula One
McLaren drivers rue 'disaster'
12 May 01 |  Formula One
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