The famous MP4 chassis name is no longer after Mclaren confirmed the change earlier today.
The Woking based constructor will start calling their cars MCL from 2017 with this years car being MCL32. The move is part of a brand re fresh with Ron Dennis having been replaced by Zak Brown as cheif executive at the end of last year.
MP4 was reference to McLaren’s long standing sponsor Marlboro with the ‘M’ while P4 was reference to Dennis’ Formula 2 team before joining F1. It is also expected that the livery will have changes as well with orange being mentioned for either full or partial livery in another re branding away from the silver and black of previous years. A reversion or reference to orange would hark back to when the cars used to run in that colour back in the late 60’s and early 70s.
The first car to carry the now famous tag was the MP4 tag was the MP4-1 driven during the 1981 season. John Watson won the British Grand Prix that season as well as three other podiums. The most famous iteration was the MP4/4 from 1988 that seen Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna win 15 of the 16 races that season, the only exception being the Italian GP due to a collision between Senna and a back marker. Multiple engine suppliers have seen their engines in the back of MP4 labeled machinery. These range from Ford Cosworth, Tag-Porsche, Honda, Ford, Lamborghini, Peugeot and Mercedes. The MP4 moniker also made it to the current road car range as well with the MP4-12C road car and GT machine as well.
Will the re branding bring the former World Champions some better luck to go with the new regulation changes and re designed Honda engine? Winter testing starts on the 27th of February from the Catalunya circuit in Spain and will give us the first, early indications.