McLaren MP4 (MP4/1), competed in the 1981 Formula One season
|Chassis||Carbon fibre monocoque|
|Engine||1981-1983: mid-engine, longitudinally mounted, Cosworth DFY, 2,993 cc (182.6 cu in), NA, 90° V8
1983: mid-engine, longitudinally mounted, TAG-Porsche PO1, 1,499 cc (91.5 cu in), turbo, 90° V6,
|Transmission||McLaren / Hewland FGA 400 5-speed manual|
|Notable entrants||Marlboro McLaren International|
|Notable drivers||7. John Watson
8. Andrea de Cesaris
8. Niki Lauda
|Debut||1981 Monaco Grand Prix|
|n.b. Unless otherwise stated, all data refer to
Formula One World Championship Grands Prix only.
The McLaren MP4/1 (initially known as the MP4) was a Formula One racing car produced by the McLaren team. It was used during the 1981, 1982 and 1983 seasons. It was the first Formula One car to use a carbon fibre composite monocoque, a concept which is now ubiquitous.
Design and construction
The main engineer for the MP4 was John Barnard. The chassis itself was built by McLaren using carbon supplied by Hercules Aerospace (U.S.A.) and quickly revolutionised car design in Formula One with new levels of rigidity and driver protection and its Carbon-Fibre-Composite (CFC) construction, a first in Formula One. Within months the design had been copied by many of McLaren's rivals.
Hercules Aerospace keeps the car of Watson which was destroyed in the 1981 Italian Grand Prix and shows it off to visitors after allowing them to view footage of the accident, highlighting how it was possible for him to survive in a carbon fibre car.
John Watson and Andrea de Cesaris drove for the 1981 season with Niki Lauda replacing de Cesaris for the 1982 and 1983 seasons. In 1982, the MP4B nearly brought Watson to the World Championship, but he finished third behind Keke Rosberg and Didier Pironi, with 39 points. In that same year however, it did take second in the Constructors' Championship, collecting 69 points. For the 1983 season, the car was then updated into the MP4/1C, and the season started well with a 1–2 finish for the MP4/1C at Round 2 in Long Beach, in which Watson won from 22nd on the grid – the farthest back on the grid a driver has won from in Formula One – and Lauda finished second from 23rd despite suffering from a worsening leg cramp. During the 1983 season, McLaren worked with Techniques d'Avant Garde and Porsche to develop a turbocharged V6 engine and the MP4/1D was the test mule; and then later in the season at the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort the Cosworth-powered MP4/1C was replaced by the TAG-powered MP4/1E, which was essentially also a test mule that competed in only 4 races; it was competitive but did not win any races. In total, the MP4/1 brought McLaren 6 wins, 11 other podium finishes and a total of 131 points.
Complete Formula One World Championship results
(key) (results in bold indicate pole position; results in italics indicate fastest lap)
|1981||Marlboro McLaren International||MP4||Cosworth DFV
|Andrea de Cesaris||Ret||Ret||11||Ret||Ret||8||DNS||7||Ret||12|
|1982||Marlboro McLaren International||MP4B||Cosworth DFV
|1983||Marlboro McLaren International||MP4/1C||Cosworth DFV
- Nye, Doug (1984). McLaren the Grand Prix, Can-Am and Indy Cars. Hazleton Publishing. p. 222. ISBN 0-905138-28-7.
- Sheehan, Michael (March 2012). "Ferrari's 65-Year Race to Save Weight". Sports Car Market. 3 24: 44–45.
- Motorsport, March 1999
- Formula1Arab (2011-06-06). "Murray Walker : Life In The Fast Lane | Part 2/4". YouTube. Retrieved 2011-12-06.