McLaren retain Coulthard and Raikkonen 22 Aug 2003
In Hungary this morning McLaren confirmed that both David Coulthard and Kimi Raikkonen will continue to compete for the team in 2004. Third driver Alexander Wurz will also remain with the squad, as will test driver Pedro de la Rosa.
"The McLaren Mercedes team strives to win World Championships and in order to do so we have to have the best drivers available, and I believe we have achieved that objective," said team boss Ron Dennis. "David and Kimi form a strong combination and together with Alex, Pedro and everybody in the team we have a strong package."
Of the announcement, Coulthard said: "I'm pleased to be driving for the team for the ninth year in succession, and after such an amount of time it's inevitable that strong relationships have been established and I really feel part of the Team McLaren Mercedes family. I'm convinced that my experience will continue to provide the team with great benefits and look forward to the last four races. I will do everything I can to support the team in their World Championship battles and then both Kimi and I will start focusing on our 2004 campaign."
Raikkonen added: "We have all had an exciting and refreshing 2003 season and I hope it continues right to the end. I'm enjoying the battle for the Championship, which is one of the closest fought for many seasons. Having worked with everybody in the team for the past two years I have developed a lot both on and off-track and am looking forward to continuing this progress next year. I think David and myself have formed a strong partnership and work well together, and we will continue to do so next season."
McLaren's testing team was equally delighted with news, Wurz commenting: "I'm enjoying my time with Team McLaren Mercedes and the immense technical challenges which are part of my job as third driver. As every racing driver will confirm racing is what you want to do. However I know that my contribution to the development programme makes a real difference and is a key factor to the success of the team. As a result until the right opportunity comes along, I strongly feel that I couldn't be in a better place."
De la Rosa added: "It has been an encouraging first year and I look forward to staying for another season, as I have been continuously impressed by the professionalism of Team McLaren Mercedes."
The McLaren team lies third in the 2003 constructors' championship on 103 points, behind Williams (118) and Ferrari (120). Raikkonen is third in the drivers' standings on 62 points, nine behind championship leader Michael Schumacher. Coulthard is seventh on 41 points.