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McLaren "not hurried" in search for Hamilton teammate

NEWS STORY
05/11/2007

McLaren CEO Martin Whitmarsh insists that despite intense speculation over who will partner Lewis Hamilton in 2008, the Woking team is "not hurried" and will take its time while searching for a replacement for the recently departed, Fernando Alonso.

At present, the annual game of 'musical chairs' has ground to a halt as drivers wait to see who will get the call from the Woking outfit. Despite many drivers already having secured deals for next season, we already know from experience that contracts are often not worth the paper they are written on.

Consequently, F1 waits on tenterhooks as McLaren ponders its decision, and with the first post-season test just over a week away many of the teams and drivers remain in limbo.

"In truth I think we're rather dictating the driver transfer market at the moment," Martin Whitmarsh told The Guardian. "Until the second McLaren drive is sorted out I don't think you'll see much movement, so we're not really hurried.

"Obviously there are some drivers who've approached us who are contracted elsewhere and we've had to say we can't talk to them unless they can prove they are free to negotiate."

One driver who can continue with his negotiations for next year, having been ruled out of McLaren's plans, is Ralf Schumacher. The German's manager is understood to have approached Ron Dennis enquiring if the former Toyota driver was under consideration, he wasn't and isn't.

Meanwhile, following Patrick Head's comment that the other Schumacher could well be under consideration, a Pitpass source reveals that the Englishman was making similar comments ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Before entering F1 in 1991, Schumacher was a member of the highly successful Sauber Mercedes Sports Car team.

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