The McLaren F1 Team has a storied history in the world of motorsports, with a legacy that spans decades. From its early days as a small racing outfit to its current status as one of the most successful teams in the sport, the McLaren F1 Team has always been at the forefront of innovation and excellence.
Join us as we take a closer look at the incredible journey of this iconic racing team.
The Early Years Of Bruce McLaren And The Formation Of The Team – Team History
The McLaren F1 Team was founded by New Zealand racing driver Bruce McLaren in 1963. McLaren had already made a name for himself in the world of motorsports, having won several races and championships in his home country and in Europe.
McLaren was a works driver for the Cooper Formula One team. Together they won three Grands Prix and came second in the 1960 World Championship.
Bruce wanted to compete in the Australasian Tasman Series and he approached his employers. Charlie Cooper (the boss) insisted they use the company’s 1.5-liter Formula One-specification engines. This frustrated Bruce as 2.5-liter motors were permitted by the Tasman rules.
This prompted Bruce to set up his own team with Timmy Mayer. They intended to use the custom-built Cooper cars.
The racing team was initially called Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Ltd. The team’s first car, the McLaren M1, was built in a small workshop in Surrey, England, with McLaren and a small team of mechanics doing most of the work themselves.
McLaren won the 1964 Tasmanian series. Tragically Timmy Mayer was killed at Longford Circuit in Tasmania during the practice session for the final race.
Bruce approached Teddy Mayer to join him in a business partnership. The results were that Teddy bought into Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Limited (BMMR.) He eventually became its largest shareholder.
This decision was to save the team when tragedy struck!
Despite the team’s limited resources, McLaren was determined to succeed and quickly made a name for himself in the racing world. the team has a rich history of success in various racing categories, including Formula One, Can-Am, and IndyCar.
The Team’s First Formula One Race And Early Successes.
The McLaren F1 Team’s first Formula One race was in 1966, at the Monaco Grand Prix. Despite facing tough competition from established teams like Ferrari and Lotus, McLaren managed to finish eighth in the race. This was a promising start for the team, and they continued to improve over the next few years.
McLaren F1 Team (1966 – 1982)
Although Bruce started racing before this, the first F1 season the team participated in was in 1966.
McLaren F1 Team 1966 -1967
McLaren’s first Grand Prix race was at the 1966 Monaco race and came in in 8th place.
McLaren F1 Team 1968 – 1969
In 1968, they won their first race, the Belgian Grand Prix, with driver Bruce McLaren behind the wheel. This was a major achievement for the team, and it helped to establish them as a serious contender in the world of Formula One racing.
Over the next few years, the team continued to achieve success, winning races and championships and cementing their place in racing history.
Hulme won the International Trophy at Silverstone. Both of these were non-championship races,
Bruce won the team’s first championship race at the Belgian Grand Prix. Hulme won the Italian and Canadian Grand Prix later on in 1968. The team came in second in the constructors’ championship.
In 1969 Bruce won a further 3 championship races, and Hulme won the Mexican Grand Prix, making it 4 for the year.
McLaren F1 Team 1970- 1971
1970 started well with a 2nd place result for the drivers (Hulme and Bruce) in the first two Grands Prix.
Tragedy struck in June when Bruce was killed in a crash at Goodwood. He was testing the new M8D Can-Am car.
Despite the tragedy, the team carried on forging ahead. Teddy Mayer became the team’s chief executive. Hulme continued driving with Dan Gurney and Peter Gethin. Although Gurney won the first two Can-Am events at Mosport and St. Jovite and placed ninth in the third, he decided to leave the team in the middle of the season.
Hulme and Gethin stayed on, and in 1971 Hulme led the South African Grand Prix at Kyalami, North of Johannesburg. Unfortunately, he had to retire with a broken suspension.
Gethin left for the BRM team mid-season, and there were no wins.
1972 was brighter when Hulme won the team’s first Grand Prix after a long 2 ½ years. His win was in South Africa, and he and the other driver, Peter Revson, scored ten other podiums. This resurgence resulted in the team finishing third in the Constructors’ Championship.
McLaren F1 Team 1973 – 1980s
In 1973 McLaren introduced the McLaren M23, the team’s foundation for the next 4 years.
The drivers for McLaren during this period included the following legendary names.
|Driver||Years Driving |
|Danny Hulme||1968, 1974|
|Peter Revson||1972, 1973|
|Jacky Ickx||1973, 1974|
|Emerson Fittipaldi||1974 (drivers’ championship -1974)|
|Jochen Mass||1974 – 1977|
|James Hunt||1976 – 1978 (who won the championship in 1976)|
|Patrick Tambay||1978 – 1979|
|John Watson||1979 – 1985|
|Alain Prost||1980 (drivers’ championship 1985, 1986, 1989)|
|Andrea de Cesaris||1981|
|Alain Prost||1984 – 1989|
|Niki Lauda||1982 – 1985 (drivers’ championship -1984)|
|Gerhard Berger||1990 – 1992|
Famous McLaren F1 Team Drivers Over The Years
The team has been home to some of the greatest drivers in F1 history, including.
- Bruce McLaren
- Danny Hulme
- Jody Scheckter
- Emerson Fittipaldi
- John Watson
- James Hunt
- Gerhard Berger
- Ayrton Senna
- Alain Prost
- Niki Lauda
- Mika Häkkinen
- David Coulthard
- Jenson Button
- Lewis Hamilton
- Fernando Alonso.
McLaren’s Formula One Results
Over the years, McLaren has achieved the following.
|Constructors’ Championships winning percentage||14%|
|Drivers’ Championships winning percentage||21.1%|
|World drivers championships||13|
In the process, the team has won 13 world drivers championships.
The McLaren drivers’ championship winners over the years are listed below.
The Dominance Of The McLaren-Honda Partnership In The 1980s
The 1980s were a golden era for the McLaren F1 Team, thanks in large part to their partnership with Japanese engine manufacturer Honda. From 1984 to 1991, McLaren-Honda won an incredible 44 races and 8 Constructors’ Championships.
Drivers like Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost were behind the wheel. This period of dominance cemented McLaren’s place as one of the greatest racing teams of all time, and their success with Honda engines helped to establish the Japanese manufacturer as a major player in the world of Formula One.
The McLaren F1 Team Is A Technology Leader
McLaren is also known for its innovative approach to technology and engineering.
McLaren F1 Team Carbon Fiber Monocoque
The team was the first to introduce the carbon fiber monocoque in F1, which revolutionized the sport’s safety standards.
They also developed ground-effect aerodynamics, which enabled cars to generate downforce by channeling air through the car’s underside.
The Struggles And Resurgence Of The Team In The 1990s And 2000s
Despite their success in the 1980s, the McLaren F1 Team faced a number of challenges in the following decades.
The departure of Honda as their engine supplier in 1992 marked the beginning of a difficult period for the team, as they struggled to find a competitive engine and driver lineup. The teams last wins were the constructor championship in 1998 with drivers David Coulthard and Mika Häkkinen.
However, the team experienced a resurgence in the 2000s, with Mika Hakkinen and Lewis Hamilton leading them to multiple Constructors’ Championships and Drivers’ Championships. Today, the McLaren F1 Team continues to be a force to be reckoned with in the world of Formula One.
The last 2nd place in the championships was in the 2011 world championships with Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.
The Current Era Of The Team And Its Future Prospects.
In recent years, the McLaren F1 Team has undergone significant changes, both on and off the track. In 2018, the team announced a new partnership with Renault as their engine supplier, and in 2019, they welcomed Carlos Sainz Jr. and Lando Norris as their new driver lineup.
The team has shown promising results in recent seasons, with Oscar Piastri signed for the 2023 season and Norris achieving 7th place in the 2022 season.
With a strong leadership team and a talented driver lineup, the future is brighter for the McLaren F1 Team.
The results since 2020 are listed below.
- 2020 season – 3rd
- 2021 season – 4th
- 2022 season – 5th
- 2023 season – 5th (at present)
There was much anticipation that the 2023 car would be the real deal and return the team to the top or ranks.
This is unfortunately not true, and the car has struggled in the first five races as follows.
|Lando Norris||Oscar Piastri||Championship |
The team has also expanded its motorsport program to include IndyCar, where it has already achieved success, winning the 2021 Indianapolis 500.
Overall, the McLaren team has a long and storied history in motorsport and continues to innovate and push the boundaries of technology and engineering.
With a talented team of drivers and engineers, seeing the drivers regularly on the podium would be nice.