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McLaren MP4 (MP4/1), competed in the 1981 Formula One season
McLaren MP4/1C, competed in the 1983 Formula One season

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.

The MP4 was the first car to be built following the merger of the McLaren team and Ron Dennis' Project 4 team, as the car's name (short for "Marlboro Project 4")[1] indicates.


Design and construction

The main engineer for the MP4 was John Barnard. The chassis itself was built 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.

The car was originally powered by a Ford engine but later switched to a Porsche engine.

Hercules Aerospace keeps the car of Watson which was destroyed in the 1981 Italian Grand Prix and shows it off to visitors after showing them the footage of the accident, showing how it was possible for him to survive in a carbon fibre car.[2]


John Watson and Andrea de Cesaris drove for the 1981 season with Niki Lauda replacing de Cesaris for the 1982 and 1983 seasons. The MP4/1 brought McLaren 6 wins; 1 in 1981 (MP4), 4 in 1982 (MP4B) and a further victory in 1983 (MP4/1C). [3]

See also

External links

  1. ^ Nye, Doug (1984). McLaren the Grand Prix, Can-Am and Indy Cars. Hazleton Publishing. p. 222. ISBN 0-905138-28-7.  
  2. ^ Motorsport, March 1999
  3. ^ Grand Prix Racing - the whole story


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