McLaren, Mercedes make deal, new MP4-15 and Sauber launches

The West McLaren Mercedes team have launched the MP4-15 in Jerez. The car is a development of last seasons successful challenger; the major changes concern the new FO110J V10 engine. "The team has been working extremely hard over the winter...

The West McLaren Mercedes team have launched the MP4-15 in Jerez. The car is a development of last seasons successful challenger; the major changes concern the new FO110J V10 engine.

"The team has been working extremely hard over the winter period preparing the new car," said Mika Hakkinen, "so I am very excited to see how the MP4-15 performs today. Naturally I am looking forward to the new season and, having won two World Championships, it is my ambition to fight for a third."

David Coulthard, meanwhile, said "I have spent a lot of time in the development car over the last couple of months, and I believe that we are further ahead with the process than we were at this time last year. That said, this time of the year is always crucial as we get to grips with the new chassis and ensure the whole package works well together. I think there is every chance we will be stronger than we were in 1999."

Ron Dennis said: "We are looking forward to the challenges ahead of us this season. We have had an intensive development programme over the winter and it will be interesting to see how the new car runs today. Mika and David are both well prepared for the season ahead and we are optimistic that 2000 will be another good year for the West McLaren Mercedes team.".

Norbert Haug: "Of course, after winning two drivers' titles in a row, there is an incentive to make it a hat-trick. This is a challenge that fascinates the team and for which they would give anything. To increase our competitiveness, our engine has been improved in terms of better performance, weight, compactness and consumption. I have no doubt that we can develop the MP4-15 to be an even better car than Mika Hakkinen's title winner from last year."

DaimlerChrysler aquire an interest in TAG McLaren

It has been officially announced this morning that DaimlerChrysler has taken up its option to buy a stake of the TAG McLaren group.

DaimlerChrysler now owns a 40% stake in the TAG McLaren Group, with Ron Dennis and TAG Group S.A. owning 30% each, and remaing in overall control of the company. The purchase price has not been revealed.

Juergen Hubbert of DaimlerChrysler said "The investment in TAG McLaren is the result of our increasingly close and mutually beneficial cooperation in Formula One and in other areas. 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 competition. It also ties in with our strategic orientation toward developing the sporting accents of the Mercedes-Benz brand, initiated with the decision to acquire a majority interest in AMG."

Ron Dennis said "This is an historic milestone in the further development of the TAG McLaren Group. The equity participation of DaimlerChrysler will further strengthen TAG McLaren. It will also permit an even closer cooperation between TAG McLaren and DaimlerChrysler, which will make ever greater use of the synergies that exist to the benefit of all shareholders and employees of the Group. Our new corporate headquarters and research and development centre will put us in the optimum position to exploit the available opportunities even more effectively."

Sauber Petronas C19 launched

PP Sauber have launched the C19 in an event open to the general public. Speaking on the new car and their hopes, Peter Sauber said: "Our car, the Red Bull Sauber Petronas C19, was completed last year and has been ready for testing early. In addition, we have two experienced drivers with Pedro Diniz and Mika Salo. Diniz was with the team in 1999, he knows the procedures and will now be able to capitalise on this. Salo showed last year as Michael Schumacher'€™s substitute in the Ferrari, what he is capable of. I'€™m convinced that together with them, a further improved Sauber Petronas V10 engine and the additions in personnel, we will be successful."

Mika Salo and Pedro Diniz are to have equal status within the Sauber team.

-- Stephen M Baines http://www.motorsport.org.uk

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Michael Schumacher , David Coulthard , Mika Hakkinen , Mika Salo , Norbert Haug , Peter Sauber , Pedro Diniz
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , Sauber , McLaren