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DATE News (chronologically)
11/06/08
f1
McLaren working to keep Hamilton on top
Lewis Hamilton's reign as Formula One world champion is less than a week old but McLaren boss Ron Dennis has already revealed plans to keep him at the top of the sport are making good progress.

Hamilton made a triumphant return to the McLaren Technology Centre at Woking yesterday less than 24 hours after flying in from Brazil where he clinched the title in the final Grand Prix of the season.

"As always, the roundabout doesn't stop with the world championship," said Dennis.

"We are really well advanced in our new car and we will announce the car in the latter part of January."

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren's Formula One CEO, pledged to give Hamilton the tools to maintain his position as number one.

"We owe it to him to build the best racing car in the world next year," he said.

"This is always a decisive period. We know the progress we are making but we don't actually know the progress our competitors are making.

"With the new rules, we are working hard. We are testing and there'll be lots of sand-bagging and sweeping going on but we are looking forward to the first race of next year when we start finding out."

Hamilton, the youngest world champion at 23, delighted the 1,400 McLaren employees who welcomed him back by pledging the rest of his career to the team.

Dennis, who has denied on a number of occasions this year he will quit McLaren, aims to be there too.

"My involvement will continue," he said. "It's inevitable that things change and there are a lot of young people who want to move upwards in the company but I will be back at Grands Prix and I will be part of McLaren's future.

"We are very passionate about our company and there's no question I'll be part of it's future."

Both Hamilton and Dennis paid tribute to the work done behind the scenes as McLaren's employees turned out in force to welcome their star back home as champion on the day he received a message of congratulations from the Queen.

"It's Lewis' world championship, it's his day - but this is a great day for everyone in the organization," added Dennis.

"We are, through and through, a team. We win as a team and we lose as a team.

"Last weekend was challenging. Everybody had their hearts in their mouths on that last lap but we've won a lot of races and dominated some of the races this season.

"In fact we won most of the difficult races this season, with Monte Carlo being a tremendous achievement for us as a company, 14 Monaco Grands Prix is just a fantastic number and we will try to make it 15 next year," added Dennis

Confirming he will be there for rest of his career, Hamilton promised: "I'm not going anywhere. When you're living your dream why would you change?

"The car was so reliable. It didn't stop on me once. I want to say a big thank you to everyone and I look forward to working with you next year.

"We're going to do it again and I'll be doing everything I can to make sure we do."

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