Hamilton to test in 2006, drive in 2007

UPDATE (GMM) Lewis Hamilton will make his F1 debut for McLaren in 2007, according to reports.

'AS' newspaper in Spain revealed that the 21-year-old Briton, a standout of the 'GP2' season this year and a long-time protégé of Ron Dennis, has now signed a contract to become Fernando Alonso's silver-clad teammate.

The Spanish report also contends that Pedro de la Rosa, the 35-year-old Catalan, is likely to be retained by the Woking team as a test driver.

News of Hamilton's arrival, of course, hardens speculation that both Kimi Raikkonen – heading either to Ferrari or Renault – and Juan Pablo Montoya, are set to leave the McLaren camp.

'AS' said that 30-year-old Montoya, linked most strongly with a move to Red Bull but also BMW-Sauber, was actually offered the seat alongside Alonso, but he rejected the team's insistence that he accept a hefty pay cut.

06/11/06 (GMM) GP2 dominator Lewis Hamilton is unlikely to test for McLaren during the 2006 championship season, Ron Dennis insists.

But the Woking based team's chief informed reporters at Silverstone that Hamilton, a rookie contender for the ride next to Fernando Alonso next year, would probably get a run somewhere in Europe before the year is through.

Dennis, though, became more cryptic when probed more deeply about McLaren's '07 lineup. ''We've taken decisions and acted on the decisions,'' he started.

''We have a variety of strategies which are activated by certain circumstances beyond our control,'' Dennis continued. ''We know exactly where we'll go, and what we'll do according to what unfolds over the next few weeks.''

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