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McLaren F1 Team


The second oldest of F1's current teams, McLaren is only usurped by Ferrari for historical value to the sport.

Set up by F1 great Bruce McLaren as a small outfit in the early 1960s, the team has grown into one of the most recognisable motorsport brands in the world, with IndyCar and Sportscar successes adding to the glittering F1 achievements until this very day.

Eight constructors' championships, 12 drivers' titles and 183 race victories. Here is the story of McLaren's time in F1.

McLaren, Fittipaldi and Hunt - 1966-1979

After early hardships in 1966 and an underperforming BRM engine in 1967, a turn to Ford Cosworth DFV V8s for the team's third year in F1 proved fruitful, with reigning champion Denny Hulme partnering McLaren and driving the team to second in the constructors'.

Fittingly, Bruce took the first win for the team in the sport in Belgium that season, becoming the youngest winner in F1 at the time at just 22 years of age, holding the record until Fernando Alonso's victory in Hungary 35 years later.

Hulme won two further races that season and a further win in 1969 but the death of founder Bruce rocked the team in 1970 after a crash whilst testing at Goodwood.

The next victory for the team would come at the hands of Hulme in 1972 at the South African Grand Prix in a year where seven podiums with Peter Revson would establish McLaren as a front-running team.

The same pairing continued form through 1973 with victories and podiums aplenty but it was the arrival of Emerson Fittipaldi for 1974 that brought the first taste of championship success for McLaren.

Three victories for the Brazilian and startling consistency ensured a first driver and constructors' championship double was achieved just eight years on from the team's debut in F1.

This was the dawning of a battle with Ferrari that would culminate in the infamous 1976 battle between James Hunt and the Scuderia's Niki Lauda that spawned famous Ron Howard film 'Rush'.

Hunt held on to become champion despite Lauda's incredible comeback from one of the worst crashes in F1 history at the Nurburgring. McLaren was not able to take the constructors' title, and would not take either title until 1984.

Lauda, Prost and Senna dominate - 1980-1993

After James Hunt's win in the 1977 Japanese Grand Prix, McLaren would go winless until the 1981 British Grand Prix where Northern Irishman John Watson would earn victory, the first for a carbon fibre monocoque in grand prix racing.

When Niki Lauda joined after returning from retirement, McLaren showed signs of progress. Four victories between Lauda and Watson, including the latter's stunning drive at Detroit to win from 17th on the grid. The team finished the season in second and whilst 1983 proved to be challenging with just one win - Watson from 22nd on the grid at Long Beach - success would soon return.

Having been guided by Ron Dennis' leadership since 1981, McLaren had provided Lauda, now joined by Alain Prost, a championship-winning car in 1984. Despite the Frenchman securing seven wins to Lauda's five, an impressive number of second places was enough for the Austrian to take the crown.

1985 was all about Prost though, with five wins securing his first drivers' title. It would be the second of two doubles achieved by the team in a row, with Prost victorious in 1986 despite Williams claiming the constructors' bragging rights.

McLaren would have to settle for second again in 1987 before building one of the most dominant cars in F1 history for 1988. The enigmatic Ayrton Senna joined Prost to begin one of the most notorious team-mate pairings in the sport.

Senna would emerge as champion as the MP4/4 won all but one race all season, with Senna being taken out of the lead by backmarker Jean-Louis Schlesser at the Italian Grand Prix.

The McLaren-Honda domination would continue into 1989, although this time a bitter feud would erupt. The breaking of a supposed gentleman's agreement at the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola would infuriate Prost, with the battle for the title coming down to the penultimate race at Suzuka.

The pair famously collided at the final chicane, with Senna disqualified after recovering to win the race on track. McLaren protested but to no avail as Prost was crowned the world champion in another drivers' and constructors' double.

Senna would avenge his defeat when Prost moved to Ferrari in 1990. Again, after trading victories all season long, the battle arrived at Suzuka in the penultimate event. The pair collided once more, this time at the very first corner of the grand prix, with Senna this time crowned world champion.

Seven victories went the Brazilian's way in 1991 as McLaren dominated for championship-double number four in a row before Williams overtook the team in 1992.

Five victories that year between Gerhard Berger and Senna ensured second in the standings, with the same amount of wins achieved by Senna alone in 1993 - including the European Grand Prix at Donington Park where the Brazilian drove the 'lap of the gods' - as Michael Andretti struggled for performance.

Hakkinen, Coulthard and Raikkonen - 1994-2006

Andretti's shortcomings allowed young star Mika Hakkinen to cut his teeth at the team. A change to Peugeot engines did not help the Finn nor Martin Brundle as the team struggled to just fourth in the standings after a winless season.

McLaren would finish in the same position in each campaign until 1998 where, with David Coulthard backing up Hakkinen's exploits, yet another championship double would be delivered. Eight wins for the champion along with one for the Scotsman ensured the team conquered previous champions Williams and a resurgent Ferrari team supported by Michael Schumacher.

1999 would be a tale of more success, assisted by Schumacher's absence through injury. Eddie Irvine provided a fight for Ferrari but Hakkinen had just enough to scrape the championship. Five victories for the Finn was enough for him, but a succession of retirements for both Hakkinen and Coulthard would prevent a constructors' title success, beginning a drought yet to end.

Hakkinen and Coulthard would continue the fight with Ferrari until one Finn was replaced by another in 2002. Kimi Raikkonen joined Coulthard but reliability again let both drivers down. Two third-place finishes in the team's table was followed by fifth in 2004 with only three wins in that period.

2005, however, saw the arrival of Juan Pablo Montoya and a rejuvenated Raikkonen. Seven wins for Raikkonen and three for Montoya was simply no match for the might of the Fernando Alonso and Renault partnership, although McLaren was able to better Ferrari and Schumacher.

2006 was winless, with Montoya leaving the team mid-season to be replaced by Pedro de la Rosa, leaving the team back in third.

Alonso, Hamilton and Button - 2007-2014

Alonso and Lewis Hamilton, one point and former driver Raikkonen. That is the story of 2007. Alonso moved to McLaren to partner rookie Hamilton after the Finn replaced the retired Schumacher at Ferrari.

After both McLarens had an equal share of eight wins, Hamilton made an error in China, losing points and suffered a momentary gearbox issue in Brazil whilst Raikkonen won the final race in Sao Paolo to stave off his rivals by one point at the end of it all.

Add to this the 'spygate' scandal where McLaren was excluded for coming into possession of confidential Ferrari documents, meaning a grand total of zero was scored in the constructors' championship.

Hamilton would bounce back in 2008 to take the title in yet another dramatic season-finale. After winning five times, including a breathtaking display at a sodden Silverstone to head the field by over a minute, Hamilton was in danger of losing out to Felipe Massa at the death in Brazil.

But by overtaking Timo Glock's Toyota at the final corner for fifth, Hamilton became the final McLaren world champion.

The team was still competitive, however. After Heikki Kovalainen came and went, 2009 world champion Jenson Button joined the team for 2010.

Strong performances by both Hamilton and Button contributed to two second-place constructors' championship finishes behind Red Bull, but the hard work put in at Woking would be to no avail.

When Hamilton left at the end of 2012, performances started to taper. No podiums would be achieved by Button or Sergio Perez in 2013, whilst the team was provided a boost by Mercedes-powered dominance in 2014. This was the foundation of the two-three finish at the opening race for Button and Kevin Magnussen, but the other Mercedes-engined teams Williams and Force India were too strong for the form to continue.

McLaren-Honda disaster and regrowth - 2015-Present

A switch to Honda was meant to bring back the glory years for McLaren. Instead, it was a broken marriage with Alonso - who had returned to partner Button - giving a lovely nod to GP2 with an insult at the Japanese manufacturer's home grand prix.

Three seasons with a lack of speed or reliability saw McLaren finish ninth twice, but under the guidance of Zak Brown and now Andreas Seidl, the team is rebuilding.

Renault engines provided some solace in 2018 whilst Spaniard Carlos Sainz earned a podium finish in the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix, the first for the team since Australia 2014.

2020 was a massive step forward as Sainz and Norris pushed the team further forward. Two podiums, including Sainz's near-win at Monza, and impressive consistency ensured the team returned to the top three in the constructors' championship.

Daniel Ricciardo joined in place of Ferrari-bound Sainz for 2021 and despite early struggles, ended McLaren's nine-year victory drought at the Italian Grand Prix, with team-mate Norris second.

Norris was a standout performer in his third year in the sport and was denied victory by the weather in Sochi.

The team could only finish fourth, but the signs were on show that Brown and Seidl's leadership was paying off.

2022 was something of a step back for McLaren - it ended with the team losing out to Alpine in the battle for fourth in the Constructors' Championship. Early-season promise from Imola and Melbourne soon evaporated in a hugely frustrating year.

Norris ended the season in seventh in the Drivers' standings while Ricciardo was way down in 11th, a result which saw his spell with the team end.

Team Principal Seidl also departed McLaren after the 2022 season, to be replaced by Race Director Andrea Stella.

McLaren F1 in 2023

Norris will have a new team-mate at McLaren in 2023 after the departure of the underperforming Daniel Ricciardo. He is replaced by another Australian in the shape of the exiting Oscar Piastri.

The official McLaren car launch for 2023 is set for Monday February 13. The car already has a name - the MCL60.

GBGreat britain
Team Boss:
Andrea Stella
Technical chief:
James Key
full name:
McLaren F1 Team
Cr McLaren

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