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McLaren dismiss Hakkinen rumours

May 30, 2004 15:11 IST

Mika Hakkinen's former McLaren team mates have poured cold water on speculation that the Finn could make a Formula One comeback with Williams.

"He'll sit back and enjoy the rumours but he will not race in Formula One again," Briton David Coulthard told reporters at the European Grand Prix on Saturday.

"It would be good for the sport if he did but there's no way Mika is coming back. There's no doubt in my mind," said Coulthard, who added that he had talked to the double champion.

Team boss Ron Dennis said he also spoke to Hakkinen regularly, had received no hint that he wanted to return and suggested that McLaren would be his first choice if he did.

However Dennis said he did expect Canada's former world champion Jacques Villeneuve, who won the world title with Williams in 1997, to have a test for that team.

BMW-powered Williams are looking for a replacement for Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya, who is joining McLaren at the end of the season, and possibly also for Germany's Ralf Schumacher.

"I don't know if there has been some dialogue (with Williams)," he said of the Hakkinen speculation, which persists despite the Finn himself denying it.

"He talks about most things with me...and of course I am very aware of all the reasons why he chose to retire. I can't see that those reasons still don't exist."

Norbert Haug, motorsport head of McLaren's engine partners Mercedes, agreed.

"I certainly think if Mika has plans to come back then he will discuss it with us and it has not happened so far. We are in contact, we are good friends and we will be the first people, and particularly Ron, that he would talk to."

Villeneuve lost his drive at BAR last year. He has been strongly linked to a return to Williams and Dennis saw more of a possibility there.

"I think he is due to test, I think he will test for Williams and it will be interesting to see how well he goes," said the team boss.

Frank Williams said however that nothing was organised but he would not say whether the team intended to test Villeneuve.

"We have had a conversation with lots of people but we have no dates to test anybody at this time," he said.

Alan Baldwin in Nuerburgring
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