Motorsport News

McLaren – 50 years in F1

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The 1966 Monaco Grand Prix was McLaren’s very first Grand Prix. This weekend is the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix. You can probably work out the rest. Here are some of their most memorable moments from 50 years in the sport

1966: McLaren make their Formula 1 debut at the Monaco Grand Prix with a new car, called the M2B. The team also announces a sister car called the M4H which is much harder.

1968: Bruce McLaren secures McLaren’s first F1 championship win at the Belgian Grand Prix. He becomes the last person to win an F1 race in a car with their own name on the badge. Apart from the brief period in 1984 when Keke Rosberg got shitfaced and accidentally changed his name to Dave Williams-Honda.

1974: McLaren win their first F1 championship thanks to Emerson Fittipaldi and his famous catchphrase, ‘I would have gone faster if it wasn’t for these fucking sideburns’.

1976: James Hunt joins McLaren and goes on to give the team their first outright title in the world championship of shagging.

1977: Gilles Villeneuve makes his Formula 1 debut driving a McLaren at the British Grand Prix. He would later go on to win six Grand Prix, take 13 podiums and become one of the sport’s most beloved drivers, all while not driving a McLaren. On reflection, he probably shouldn’t have been on this list.

1980: McLaren merges with Ron Dennis’s Project Four Racing team. Dennis immediately makes his presence felt by having the McLaren factory cleaned and then rebuilt at a neater angle.

1981: McLaren announces the MP4/1, the very first F1 car with a carbon fibre chassis, immediately changing forever the shit stick-on design that 19 year olds use to decorate the dashboards and door mirrors of their Ford Fiestas.

1981: Andrea de Cesaris completes his single season at McLaren by reversing into himself.

1984: The team win their second constructors’ title thanks to sweary airline enthusiast Niki Lauda. ‘Turdholes!’ he quips afterwards. ‘I’m too old for this fucking shit. Knobslot!’

1985: Alain Prost wins his first world title driving the McLaren MP4/2B. At the same time he earns his new nickname, ‘Le Teacheur’ which is later upgraded to ‘Le Professeur’ after he takes a job at Grand Prix Polytechnic (now the Metropolitan University Of Formula 1)

1988: Ayrton Senna crashes out of the Monaco Grand Prix. He is so angry he immediately storms back to his nearby apartment and smashes up the place before realising this is actually his neighbour’s apartment and oh Christ, that was a cat not a cushion. Nonetheless, the Brazilian goes on to win his first world championship during a season in which he and Alain Prost win 15 out of 16 races and lap so many cars that time begins to reverse itself, a bit like in that Superman film.

1989: In a dramatic conclusion to the drivers’ title fight, McLaren’s Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna crash into each other during the Japanese Grand Prix. This is unfortunate for both drivers as Ron Dennis had just put up a sign in the motorhome clearly stating that all breakages must be paid for.

1990: Gerhard Berger joins Senna at McLaren and becomes known for playing pranks on his team mate. For example, at the Japanese GP Berger secretly arranges for Senna and Alain Prost to crash into each other again, giving Senna the world championship. ‘I thought Ayrton would hate to be world champion for a second time!’ quips Berger. ‘It turns out I had completely misunderstood something he had said to me the previous day! Ballsacks!’

1993: Senna wins the Australian Grand Prix, securing Mclaren’s 104th Grand Prix victory and thereby making them most successful F1 team of all time, as well as the tidiest. Ron Dennis immediately renounces this accolade because 104 is a slightly messy number.

1994: McLaren starts the new season with a Peugeot engine. Unfortunately, it appears to be the non-turbo diesel out of a 205 van.

1997: McLaren gains a fresh colour scheme thanks to new sponsor, West cigarettes. ‘This is a natural fit since there is great similarity between McLaren and West,’ said a spokesman at the time. ‘By which I mean, our cars taste fucking disgusting too.’

1999: Mika Hakkinen wins the drivers’ title for second year in a row. ‘Oh good,’ the Finnish driver quips. ‘I have won the 1999 drivers’ championship and this increases the number of drivers’ championships I have won from one to two since I also won the drivers’ championship in the previous year, which was 1998.’

2002: Mika Hakkinen takes a sabbatical. David Coulthard is told this is ‘definitely his year’, which is what people have been saying for the previous five years. And will continue to say for the next five.

2005: Juan Pablo Montoya joins the team. McLaren reveal the season’s budget is allocated 35 percent to development, 25 percent to operations, 40 percent to snacks.

2006: Montoya leaves McLaren halfway through the season because they have run out of waffles.

2007: Lewis Hamilton starts his first F1 race, driving a McLaren. He is just 22 and still has his real hair and accent.

2007: Fernando Alonso has a tantrum about not being the number one driver and starts fowarding emails like a big baby until McLaren send him one entitled, ‘Fuck off you mardy twat’.

2008: Lewis Hamilton takes his first world championship at the wheel of the MP4-23. Ron Dennis describes the win as ‘availing to myself a quantity of delightedness’.

2009: Ron Dennis relinquishes control of the McLaren racing team after announcing that he wants to spend more time with his OCD. Control of the team is given to an affable skeleton disguised as a geography teacher.

2014: Ken Magnussen spends a whole year driving for McLaren although in future literally no one will remember this, even Ken Magnussen.

2015: McLaren begins a new partnership with Honda, kicking off what will one day become known as The Age of Embarrassment.

2016: McLaren celebrates 50 years in F1 with a bad car and some nice new hats.