Template:F1 team McLaren, founded in 1963 by Bruce McLaren (1937–1970), is a racing team based in Woking, England, which is best known as a Formula One constructor but has also competed in the Indianapolis 500, Canadian-American Challenge Cup, and 24 Hours of Le Mans. Its full title is currently Team McLaren Mercedes. The team is managed by Ron Dennis and is controlled by McLaren Racing, a member of the McLaren Group.
In 1990 McLaren Cars was founded to produce road going cars based on the team's racing expertise.
Bruce McLaren Motor Racing was founded in 1963 by New Zealander Bruce McLaren. The amiable Kiwi made the team’s Grand Prix debut at the 1966 Monaco race, however Bruce’s race was rather short lived due to a terminal oil leak on the car.
In 1966 and 1967, the team raced only one car in the Championship with Bruce behind the wheel. In addition to his Grand Prix duties, Bruce also contested the Can Am Championship that year and alongside team mate Denny Hulme, the pair won five out of the season’s six races.
In 1968 the team consisted of two drivers including reigning Formula One World Champion Denny Hulme who also drove for McLaren in Can Am that year. Bruce won the non-championship Race of Champions at the Brands Hatch circuit, then the Belgian Grand Prix was the scene of the team's first Championship win.
A further three podium finishes followed for Bruce in 1969, while he and Hulme won each round of the Can Am Championship.
As a team, McLaren had a disastrous beginning to the decade, with the death of team boss Bruce McLaren while testing the latest CanAm car at Goodwood. Despite this immense setback, they pulled together and achieved notable successes in several formulae, including CanAm, Formula 1, Formula 2, IndyCar and F5000.
McLaren decided to abandon the CanAm series at end of the 1972 season, focussing solely on Formula 1 and IndyCar. This decision turned out to be the right one: in 1974 they achieved their first Formula 1 World Constructors' and World Drivers' championship (with Emerson Fittipaldi) and their first Indy 500 win (with Johnny Rutherford). The Drivers' Championship would come their way again in 1976 with James Hunt.
McLaren finally ended their IndyCar involvement at end of 1979 season after increasingly poor returns from the series.
The current McLaren F1 team resulted from a merger of the McLaren team and Ron Dennis' personal Formula 2 team, called Project 4, in 1981. This has caused some confusion among fans of the sport, as all McLaren cars since 1981 have carried the designation "MP4-xx." In this case the "P4" comes from Project 4, and has no relation to the generation of chassis.
In fact, "MP4" stood for 'Marlboro Project 4', so that the full title of the cars 'McLaren MP4-xx' reflected not only the historical name of the team, but also the names of the team's major sponsor and the team's new component part. The team's cars still carry the MP4 tag, and it is worth noting that in their post-tobacco era, (and, more surprisingly perhaps, even when sponsored by rival tobacco brand West), there is still a vestige of that Marlboro sponsorship.
The most successful period in McLaren's history came under the early leadership of Ron Dennis. John Barnard designed the revolutionary MP4-1 chassis, the first F1 chassis made entirely of carbon-fibre composites, which proved very strong when mated to the TAG / Porsche turbo engine. A succession of strong drivers helped, with Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Keke Rosberg, and Stefan Johansson driving for the team in this period. McLaren-Porsche won the Constructors' title in 1984 (with Lauda taking the Drivers' crown), and 1985 (with Prost winning his first world title). McLaren did not win the Constructors' Championship in 1986, although Prost took the drivers' title again.
After losing the previous two Constructors titles to Williams in 1986 and 1987, McLaren was able to convince Honda to switch its backing from Williams starting in 1988. The McLaren-Honda won an amazing 15 of 16 races that year and leading all but 27 laps, achieving a staggering and unbeaten record to this date. (Senna had been leading comfortably at Monza, but collided with back-marker Jean-Louis Schlesser's Williams.) Ayrton Senna took the driver's title that season, his first with the Woking marque. The next year, using a new 3.5L atmospheric engine designed by Honda, McLaren again won both titles, with Alain Prost clinching it in Japan after a highly-controversial collision with his teammate Senna. This was the culmination of a vitriolic feud between the two men.
Alain Prost left to join the Ferrari team in 1990. Nevertheless, McLaren continued to dominate Formula One for the next two seasons, with Senna winning the World Drivers' Championship in 1990 and 1991, and McLaren taking the constructors title in both of those years. New teammate Gerhard Berger helped to ensure this double success.
From 1992 onwards, McLaren fell into a decline. After the thorough dominance of the Renault-powered Williams in 1992, Honda left Formula One. McLaren switched to Ford engines. While these proved suitable in the hands of Senna, American Michael Andretti's season was a disaster, scoring only a handful of points. He was replaced before the end of the year by Finnish youngster Mika Häkkinen. In 1994, Senna departed for Williams, and Martin Brundle joined Häkkinen in new Peugeot-powered cars. The results were unimpressive, and Peugeot was dropped after a single year in favour of promising new Mercedes-Benz engine. But 1995 was even worse than 1994, with the radical MP4-10 proving to be too heavy and slow. Former Champion Nigel Mansell was too wide to fit into the car!
1996 was the end of an era for McLaren, as they parted company with long-term sponsors Marlboro, and the famous red and white McLaren livery disappeared from Formula One to be replaced with West branding and a silver Mercedes livery.
Late 1990s return to form
Despite the struggles of 1996, the Mercedes engine came good in the end. While Williams dominated F1 in 1996 and 1997, McLaren made slow, careful strides with its Mercedes engine and drivers Häkkinen and David Coulthard. Coulthard made a promising start to the 1997 Formula One season by winning the Australian Grand Prix. The car was not good enough to consistently win grands prix, although Coulthard also won the Italian Grand Prix. During 1997 McLaren poached Williams' talented designer, Adrian Newey. Then Mika Häkkinen offered a taste of things to come with his victory in the final race of the 1997 season, the European Grand Prix.
The fact that McLaren now had Adrian Newey on board, coupled with the withdrawal of Renault at the end of 1997, meant that McLaren was now perfectly positioned to strike. In 1998 the McLaren was once again able to regularly challenge for Grand Prix victories, winning nine grands prix that year. Häkkinen took the Drivers' Championship in 1998, scoring 100 points, and McLaren took the Constructors' Championship in 1998. Häkkinen took the title again in 1999, but the season was more difficult for the team who lost the Constructors' Championship to Ferrari.
Since 2000, McLaren has struggled somewhat to regain its place at the top of Formula One, partly due to a perceived lack of pace from the Mercedes engine. In 2001, Mika Häkkinen dropped off the pace in comparison with Coulthard, although neither driver could compete with the now dominant combination of Michael Schumacher and Ferrari. In 2002 Häkkinen took a sabbatical (which turned into retirement), opening the way for promising compatriot Kimi Räikkönen to take his place. McLaren only captured four wins over the following three seasons. 2002 saw just a single win at Monaco for Coulthard.
2003 started very promisingly, with wins at the two first grands prix of the year, one each for Coulthard and Räikkönen. However, rival teams soon caught up as McLaren was severely hampered in by the development of the MP4-18, a radical new design which due to reliability problems never raced in anger. This forced the team to use the year-old MP4-17D, a very severe handicap in modern Formula One racing. However, despite this, Räikkönen finished in the points consistently and challenged Michael Schumacher for the championship all the way up to the very last race, eventually losing the title by only 2 points.
The team began the 2004 Formula One season with the MP4-19, which technical director Adrian Newey described as a "debugged version of the MP4-18." This proved to be anything but the case, and a new car was required by mid-season. The MP4-19B was basically an all new car with a radically redesigned aerodynamic package. The fact that Coulthard qualified third for its first race, the French Grand Prix, gave the team hope of a better end to the season which was realised when Räikkönen took a famous victory at the 2004 Belgian Grand Prix ahead of Michael Schumacher.
Coulthard was replaced by Juan Pablo Montoya for the 2005 season, driving alongside Räikkönen. It wasn't quite the dream start for Montoya, who had to be replaced by test drivers Pedro de la Rosa and Alexander Wurz after sustaining an injury. However, the 2005 Formula One season has been more successful for McLaren. This success has been tainted somewhat by reliability issues which continued to haunt the team throughout the year, for example Räikkönen suffered his third engine change penalty at the Italian Grand Prix.
While faster than the resurgent Renault F1 team in most of the races, Renault (and Fernando Alonso in particular) have been able to capitalise when McLarens have broken down. However when Alonso claimed the driver's title, Renault abandoned their conservative approach in both car development and Alonso's driving style. By common consent the Renault R-25 could almost match McLaren's speed at the penultimate Japanese Grand Prix and at the Chinese Grand Prix, where safety car ruined Räikkonen's race strategy and Renault's unsportsmanlike act using Fisichella slowing both McLarens allowed Alonso to take his seventh win of the season. Unlucky Montoya hit an open drain cover, and that ultimately denied McLaren the Constructors' title. At the final grand prix of the season Ron Dennis said, "We feel our championship efforts were thwarted by our conservative approach to the first four races."
Imperial Tobacco (through its West brand) was the title sponsor of McLaren from 1997 until July 29 2005, after which McLaren were obliged to seek a new principal sponsor due to a European Union directive banning tobacco advertising.
On February 22 2005 Diageo plc and Team McLaren announced  that Diageo would become principal sponsor of the team through its Johnnie Walker brand, the most popular brand of whiskey worldwide. "Johnnie Walker" titles and "walking man" images were applied to the team's cars (either side of the air intake) for the Hungarian Grand Prix, however "Johnnie Walker" is not be part of the team name. The team will therefore be known as 'Team McLaren Mercedes' until a new title sponsor can be found.