HAKKINEN READY TO ATTEMPT HAT TRICK IN NEW McLAREN CAR DaimlerChrysler confirms purchase of 40 percent of team INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, Feb. 3, 2000 - West McLaren-Mercedes today unveiled the car Mika Hakkinen will use to try to win a...
HAKKINEN READY TO ATTEMPT HAT TRICK IN NEW McLAREN CAR DaimlerChrysler confirms purchase of 40 percent of team
INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, Feb. 3, 2000 - West McLaren-Mercedes today unveiled the car Mika Hakkinen will use to try to win a third consecutive Drivers World Championship. "The team has been working extremely hard over the winter period preparing the new car," said Hakkinen, who won the title in 1998 and 1999, "so I'm very excited to see how the MP4-15 will perform. Naturally I am looking forward to the new season and, having won two World Championships, it's my ambition to fight for a third." A creation of the design team of Neil Oatley and Adrian Newey, the MP4-15 is an evolution of last year's car that Hakkinen and teammate David Coulthard used to win seven Grands Prix last season. "I spent a lot of time in the development of the car over the last months," Coulthard said when the car was launched at Spain's Jerez circuit, "and I believe we worked in the right direction. We are further ahead in the process than we were at this time last year." The car is powered by an all-new Mercedes-Benz V10 that was a result of the design target to build an even more compact and lighter engine and further improve driveability and power. "Of course, after winning two driver's titles in a row, there is an incentive to make it a hat trick," said Norbert Haug, head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport. "This is a challenge that fascinates the team and for which they would give anything." McLaren-Mercedes also hopes to regain the World Constructors Championship that Ferrari won last year. "We are looking forward to the challenges ahead of us this season," said Ron Dennis, the chairman and chief executive officer of the TAG McLaren Group. "We have had an intensive development program over the winter, and it will be interesting to see how the new car runs. We are optimistic that 2000 will be another good year for the West McLaren-Mercedes team. The McLaren team spent many hours in the wind tunnel and held off finalizing the car's final design until the last minute in order to create the ideal aerodynamic package. DaimlerChrysler confirmed today that it would buy 40 percent of the TAG McLaren team. Ron Dennis and the TAG Group each retain 30 percent of the team. "The investment in TAG McLaren is the result of our increasingly close and mutually beneficial cooperation in F1 and in other areas," said Jurgen Hubbert, a member of the managing board of DaimlerChrysler. "It forms a part of DaimlerChrysler's long-term strategy of maintaining Mercedes-Benz's leadership in engineering performance, technological edge and brand image in the face of increasingly stiff opposition."