The evolution of McLaren in Formula 1

This animation shows how McLaren F1 cars have morphed over the years, from the team’s first winner to the current black and orange machine

The evolution of McLaren in Formula 1

There’s a seemingly never-ending Formula 1 debate raging in the Wheels office, discussing the pros and cons of changes and results from race weekend to race weekend. Up for argument is everything from aerodynamics to the sound of the cars, and there’s always someone defending a point.

Imagine our fascination, then, when this GIF from appeared on our screens, illustrating the transformation and evolution of McLaren Formula 1 cars from the 1960s right through to the current day.

The animation incorporates cars from key points in McLaren’s racing heritage including the McLaren M7A, which drove to the team’s first F1 race victory in 1968 and a further two wins that season, to the 1976 M23 driven by James Hunt, which beat Niki Lauda to championship victory that year.

Also in the mix is the MP4/2B car that Lauda would drive a few years later in 1985, taking his final F1 victory at the Dutch Grand Prix before retiring from the sport.

Other recognisable favourites include the legendary Honda-powered MP4/4 driven by Ayrton Senna in 1988, the year he won his first world championship, and the 2008 MP4-23 that took Lewis Hamilton to his first championship victory.

The 2012 MP4-27 driven by British teammates Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton makes an appearance and plenty others besides, until the current black and orange McLaren MCL32 appears at the end, as driven by Fernando Alonso.

It’s a unique way to see the elements of F1 design and layout that have changed, and what has stayed the same since McLaren entered the sport.


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