Mclaren is a British Constructor racing in Formula One since 1966. It is the second oldest and second most successful team on the grid after Ferrari. The team was founded by Bruce Mclaren and had its first race at the Monaco Grand Prix in 1966. The team would build a heritage of its own, winning the title with Formula One legends like Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Niki Lauda, and Lewis Hamilton. The team last won a title in 2008 when Lewis Hamilton won the driver’s championship from Felipe Massa. The team would reunite with Mercedes engines for the 2021 season.
As a new team strapped for cash, the team would take its time to find its feet in Formula One. The team would slowly make progress and start winning races. Danny Hulme, 1967 World Champion would join the team amidst an improvement in results and would help the team win their first race in Formula One. Following Bruce Mclaren’s death in 1970 Teddy Mayer took over the team and by 1972 the team had become a race winner and a serious title contender.
In 1974 and 1976 the team would win the drivers championship with James Hunt and Emerson Fittipaldi and make a further impact on the sport. By 1982 the team was unable to replicate its early success and ultimately would announce a merger with Ron Dennis’ Project Four Formula Two team, a decision that changed the trajectory of racing for Mclaren.
From 1983 onwards Mclaren would dominate the sport like no other team, The team would consistently fight for titles and have multiple triumphs to their name. The team would grow first Niki Lauda and Alain Prost behind the wheel and then later in the decade with Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna. The partnership of Senna and Prost would become sour once the two drivers started competing with each other for the title.
However, during this decade, Mclaren with its partnerships with Honda and Porsche was able to enjoy a highly successful decade.
In 1992 however, Honda announced its departure from the sport that left Mclaren with no competitive engine supplier. This would lead to Mclaren tumble down the grid as it tried to make its way back to the front of the grid.
The decline in Form(1993-1997)
From 1993 onwards Mclaren had lost the Honda engine that was one of the reasons behind the car’s competitiveness and in 1994 the team would lose the services of Ayrton Senna as well who would move to Williams. The team would start the process of rebuilding with Drivers Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard driving for them. The team would sign a partnership with Mercedes for engine supply that would chart their way back to the front of the grid, a pursuit that would culminate in 1998.
The Final Triumph(1998-1999)
In 1998, the combination of Adrian Newey’s machinery and Mika Hakkinen’s brilliance would shock the world as the Finnish driver would dominate the season and clinch the championship for Mclaren. In 1999 Mika Hakkinen would repeat the same feat by beating Eddie Irvine in the last race of the season to capture the title. In 2000, Hakkinen would lose the title to Michael Schumacher and in 2001 he would retire owing it to a loss of motivation.
Inconsistent Run and Decline(2000-Present)
Mclaren had made a mark in the previous decade by showcasing how a team could deliver consistent results every season. However, the same team has suffered from a lack of consistency in the 21st century. Mclaren was completely outclassed by Ferrari from 2000-2004. The team fell short against Renault in 2005 and Ferrari again in 2007. Although Lewis Hamilton was able to clinch a title for the team in 2008 it was all downhill since then. There have been multiple runner-up finishes for the team, multiple races won, title challenges as well. But through all of this, the team has been unable to win the championship. In the interim, the team had a disastrous partnership with Honda that resulted in nothing positive for the team. The team is going back to the Mercedes engine for the 2021 season but it is still a shell of a team compared to the glory day of the 1980s and 1990s.
For the 2021 season, Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris would be driving for the team.
Some of the prominent drivers to have driven for the team include Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Niki Lauda, Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen, and many more.