Hamilton Stays With Mclaren

By: Audrey Nolan

Lewis Hamilton sign up a five-year extension with McLaren last Friday, making it a 15-year-contract with the team. Hamilton's original contract was signed in 2006, but as the driver had a great beginning and managed to finish the season as runner up against Kimi Raikonen, they decided to make a new contract.

McLaren chief executive Ron Dennis said the 23-year-old driver had excelled all expectations and deserved "improved financial terms."

"Today's announcement will take the length of our relationship with Lewis to a total of 15 years, which we believe is among the longest running associations between a sportsman and a team in the history of sport, particularly motorsports," Dennis said.

Hamilton said he feels really happy to remain with McLaren for the rest of his career since they have credited him for what he has accomplished. "Whilst last year was my first year with the team in Formula 1, I have been connected to McLaren and Mercedes-Benz since 1998 and feel that I could easily drive for this team for the whole of my Formula 1 career," he said.

"I am with the right team to compete for race wins and both the drivers' and constructors' world championships in the future." McLaren's team was kicked out of the constructors championship last season as a punishment for having confidential information regarding Ferrari's vehicles and aerodynimics.

McLaren F1 chief executive Martin Whitmarsh stated the company decided to create a new deal for Lewis once the team's 2008 car had been unveiled last week.

"This was certainly not a discussion that was under any particular timeframe as our previous contract with Lewis was ongoing," Whitmarsh said. "Since Heikki (Kovalainen) joined the team last December, it has become more apparent how well he and Lewis will work together to become a competitive force for the team."

They also hired Kovalainen to replace Fernando Alonso as McLaren's other driver.

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