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Last Updated: Friday, 22 August, 2003, 10:24 GMT 11:24 UK
Coulthard stays at McLaren
By Andrew Benson
Motorsport editor

David Coulthard and Juan Pablo Montoya on the podium after the German Grand Prix
Is Montoya lined up to replace Coulthard at McLaren?
David Coulthard has been retained by McLaren in 2004 - but he looks set to be replaced by Juan Pablo Montoya the following year.

The Scot's position as Kimi Raikkonen's team-mate next season was announced on Friday morning at the Hungarian Grand Prix, ending speculation about Coulthard's immediate future and setting him up for a ninth season at McLaren.

But there are increasingly strong rumours within F1 that McLaren have already lined up Williams star Montoya for 2005.

A number of sources have told this website they believe that Montoya has already secured a switch to McLaren at the end of next season although whether that is a firm contract or a letter of intent is unclear.

HAVE YOUR SAY

And the best-selling Colombian news magazine Cambio reported last week that Montoya has already secured a switch to McLaren at the end of next season.

The magazine quoted sources close to Montoya, who visited his home country immediately after the last race, saying a deal was done.

Williams and McLaren will not comment on the rumours.

Coulthard, who has had a disappointing season in 2003 after a strong start to the year, said he was "pleased" to be staying on at McLaren.

"I'm convinced that my experience will continue to provide the team with great benefits," he said.

"I will do everything I can to support the team in their world championship battles and then Kimi and I will start focusing on our 2004 campaign."

David Coulthard
Coulthard is set for a ninth year with McLaren in 2004

McLaren have retained both Alexander Wurz and Pedro de la Rosa as test drivers.

McLaren's interest in Montoya was revealed by the BBC Sport website last month.

The team had approached Montoya about a switch when his Williams contract expires at the end of 2004 - but made it clear they would take him at the end of this season if possible.

Williams, who have admitted that McLaren are after Montoya, have refused to release the 27-year-old before the end of his deal but can do nothing about it if he has decided to switch camps after that.

If the Raikkonen-Montoya partnership comes off, it would give McLaren arguably the most exciting driver line-up in F1 and two drivers who have shown they have no fear about taking on Michael Schumacher.

Coulthard, for his part, will probably be in strong demand when he leaves McLaren.

Jaguar and Toyota are among the teams who have expressed an interest in his blend of pace and experience in the past.




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SEE ALSO
Montoya 'will dethrone Schumi'
11 Aug 03  |  Formula One
Coulthard's split personality
04 Aug 03  |  Formula One


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