There was a time in the late 1980s and early 1990s that it appeared McLaren would dominate the Formula One landscape for ever and a day.
From 1988-1991, thanks in no small part to a rivalry that captured the imagination of the public, McLaren won four drivers’ and constructors’ titles and an incredible 39 race wins including 15 out of 16 races in 1988.
Ayrton Senna versus Alain Prost will be a fierce and intense battle that everyone will always remember but the McLaren success story goes back to the equally charismatic and legendary driver, Bruce McLaren, who founded the team way back in 1963.
The New Zealander tragically died in a testing crash in 1970 but his legacy lived on and McLaren is still the second most successful team in F1 history behind Ferrari, and the second oldest. 182 race wins, 12 drivers’ titles and eight constructors’ titles is testimony to that incredible achievement.
Before champions Senna and Prost came Emerson Fittipaldi, James Hunt and Niki Lauda. Since have come Mika Hakkinen and Lewis Hamilton but the team has gone through a frustrating barren patch since those glory days.
For 2019, and with Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris behind the wheel of the new MCL34, the famous team will be hoping that a return to the glory days is not too far in the offing.
STRENGTHS: McLaren is a privateer team in guise alone, with a phenomenal, state-of-the-art technology centre in Woking, substantial budget and workforce. Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz look an excellent pairing on paper.
WEAKNESSES: Despite all of the above, McLaren has been in the doldrums far too long by its high standards, hampered by misguided chassis development and a troublesome and unreliable Powertrain that switched from Honda to Renault but fared little better.