Latest news about the McLaren F1 team, info and history on the team and drivers (Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris) for the 2019 World Championship.
McLaren F1 Team - Latest News:
McLaren F1 Team - History:
When it comes to Formula One seniority, only Ferrari can boast to have been involved in the sport for longer than McLaren which has been in continuous operation since 1966. Over its five decades in the sport, the team’s driver roster has become the ultimate who’s who of some of the greatest talent in the sport, and along the way McLaren has picked up 12 drivers championships and eight constructors titles.
The team is named after its founder, New Zealand racing driver Bruce McLaren, who was already a three-time Grand Prix winner with the Cooper Car Company by the time he decided to set up Bruce McLaren Motor Racing. McLaren himself scored the new team’s first race win in Belgium in 1968 while his team mate Denny Hulme picked up two more, which helped the team to second place in that year’s constructors championship.
McLaren died in a testing accident in 1970 and didn’t live to see the team which still bears his name win its first driver and team titles in 1974 with Emerson Fittipaldi clinching the world championship. The epic 1976 season culminated with James Hunt winning that year’s title, but after that a lean spell followed. Ron Dennis took over as team principal in 1981, and a change of engine providers from Ford to TAG reenergised the team with Niki Lauda becoming champion in 1984 followed by back-to-back successes for Alain Prost in 1985-6.
Two years later saw the start of the McLaren-Honda glory years. Fierce competition between team mates Prost and Ayrton Senna resulted in four consecutive constructors titles, three world championships for Senna and one more for Prost. Soon afterwards the end of the Honda collaboration meant McLaren once again struggled for direction, but a new engine partnership with Mercedes propelled Mika Hakkinen to the title in 1998 and 1999, while over the course of 15 seasons from 1998 to 2012 the team finished outside the top three in the constructors championship only twice.
One of those times proved to be among the team’s lowest and most controversial moments in its history, when it was fined $100m by the FIA and disqualified from the 2007 championship over the ‘Spygate‘ affair after it was found that McLaren personnel were in possession of detailed technical blueprints of the rival Ferrari car.
Despite this setback, McLaren rebounded and promptly won the following year’s world championship with their new racing prodigy, Lewis Hamilton, although they still narrowly missed out on taking the constructors title which had now eluded them since 1998. The 20-year partnership with Mercedes was also souring after Mercedes set up its own works team in 2010 and which later poached Hamilton to drive for them. McLaren wanted to be a works team and opted for a reunion with Honda in 2015 – but so far that has proved far less successful than had been hoped for. 2016 was another dismal year for the team, performance issues continuing to hamper them and at the close of the season Jenson Button made way for Stoffel Vandoorne.
2017 marked the final year of the McLaren Honda partnership, another year of terrible on-track performance pushed the team to announce they would take Renault power units from 2018 onwards.
Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne stayed with the team in 2018, and early sign pointed to improved performance but by the end of the season it wasn’t to be. 6th in the constructors and 357 point behind their target Red Bull Racing despite having the same engine. That year Alonso announced he would be leaving the team, saying that he had achieved everything he wanted to in the sport. Stoffel Vandoorne left the team for Formula E.
2019 sees McLaren opt to promote Lando Norris into a race seat to partner Carlos Sainz, who was announced on a multi year deal.