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banner Friday, 13 July, 2001, 14:53 GMT 15:53 UK
Hakkinen rules out retirement
Hakkinen has had a frustrating season so far
Hakkinen has had a frustrating 2001 season so far
By BBC Sport Online's Andrew Benson at Silverstone

Former world champion Mika Hakkinen has confirmed that he is not planning to retire at the end of the season and is negotiating a new contract with McLaren.

The Finn told a news conference at the British Grand Prix on Friday that he hoped to be driving next season.

Asked directly if he would retire at the end of the season, he said: "The first part of my answer is no.

"The second part is the team has an option on me for next year and we are going through discussions with [team boss] Ron [Dennis] and trying to find a good solution for the future."

His remarks bring to an end speculation that, prompted by his poor recent form, Hakkinen would quit the sport at the end of the year.

Hakkinen will help Coulthard win title
Hakkinen is seeking a new two-year contract

Earler this week, the former world champion had been quoted in the German newspaper Die Welt ruling out the possibility of retirement.

And Norbert Haug, the sports director of McLaren's engine partner Mercedes, said: "The great thing about him is that even negative events, like in the recent past, do not break his morale.

"He had so many good races and success in the past years and he wants to have that again."

A report in the German magazine, Auto Moto und Sport, said the only unresolved issue was the length of the contract.

The report said Hakkinen wants a two-year deal while McLaren are proposing a one-year commitment.

The contract extension is expected to be announced at the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim in late July.

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See also:

09 Jul 01 |  Formula One
Hakkinen 'set to retire'
10 Jul 01 |  Formula One
Coulthard admits McLaren mistakes
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