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The McLaren MP4/4 was the Formula One car raced by McLaren-Honda in the 1988 season. It was designed by Steve Nichols and Gordon Murray. Murray based the car on the lowline BT55 from 1986. It was driven by Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna. It had a Honda turbo engine.

The MP4/4 was one of the most dominant cars in F1 history, winning fifteen out of the sixteen races, Senna with eight and Prost had seven. Senna won the title, scoring 90 points (94 gross), three more than Prost, whose 87 came from 105 gross points, the first time a driver had scored over 100 points in a season (back then, only the first six scored points, with the winner scoring nine). The constructors' championship shows a more telling story. McLaren, with 199 points, scored only two points less than the entire field, and second-placed Ferrari, with 65, had less than a third of McLaren's total.

The team broke their 1984 points record by 55.5 points. The record was surpassed in just 11 races, with both championships being held over 16 races.

They set a record of ten one–two finishes, which is yet to be broken. Ferrari came closest in 2002 with nine.

The one race that got away from McLaren was the Italian Grand Prix, where after Prost had earlier retired with an engine failure, Senna had a collision with Jean-Louis Schlesser and was unable to continue. Ferrari scored a one–two.

DesignEdit

The MP4/4 was based on the lowline concept pioneered by Gordon Murray when he was at Brabham. The car based on the concept, the Brabham BT55, had many issues, including fuel and oil starvation along with engine installation problems. And a two-second turbo lag in the BMW engine used meant that the car was slow to accelerate. The aerodynamic gain, caused by the reduction in front area by 30%, did not compensate for the cornering issues, and the car could not take full advantage of the increase in top speed.

Murray moved to McLaren in 1987, and the MP4/3 used the lowline concept. However, the TAG-Porsche engine was not as powerful as the Williams's Honda engine, and McLaren were unable to challenge strongly, not helped by the unreliability of the TAG engine.

The MP4/4, however, had the all-powerful Honda engine, which as an 80° V6, had a very small frontal area, especially with a small fuel tank of just 150 litres (down from 195 the previous season and 220 the season before). With Honda working hard on the fuel management of its engine, the McLaren car was made reliable to add to the quickness it already possessed.

The team tried active suspension in early testing, but abandoned the idea. The car only had a few aerodynamic upgrades all season.

Statistical overviewEdit

Race VictoriesEdit

Year No. Event Driver Notes
1988 1 Brazilian Grand Prix Alain Prost Prost's 20th win for McLaren.
2 San Marino Grand Prix Ayrton Senna Senna's first win for McLaren.
3 Monaco Grand Prix Alain Prost Prost's 30th career victory.
4 Mexican Grand Prix Alain Prost
5 Canadian Grand Prix Ayrton Senna
6 Detroit Grand Prix Ayrton Senna
7 French Grand Prix Alain Prost Fifth one-two of the season for McLaren.
8 British Grand Prix Ayrton Senna Senna's tenth win of his career.
9 German Grand Prix Ayrton Senna
10 Hungarian Grand Prix Ayrton Senna Tenth victory of the season, at the tenth race.
11 Belgian Grand Prix Ayrton Senna Title secured at this race.
12 Portuguese Grand Prix Alain Prost
13 Spanish Grand Prix Alain Prost Prost's 25th win for McLaren.
Broke their own 1984 record for wins in a season (13th win).
14 Japanese Grand Prix Ayrton Senna
15 Australian Grand Prix Alain Prost Tenth one–two of the season for McLaren.

Complete Formula One ResultsEdit

YearDriverTyre12345678910111213141516
1988 Flag of Brazil (1968–1992) Flag of San Marino Flag of Monaco Flag of Mexico Flag of Canada Flag of Detroit, Michigan Flag of France Flag of Great Britain Flag of Germany Flag of Hungary Flag of Belgium Flag of Italy Flag of Portugal Flag of Spain Flag of Japan Flag of Australia
France Prost G 1st2nd1st1st2nd2nd1stRet2nd2nd2ndRet1st1st2nd1st
Brazil Senna DSQ1stRet2nd1st1st2nd1st1st1st1st10th6th4th1st2nd

NotesEdit

V T E McLarenLogo McLaren Racing
Founder
Bruce McLaren
Notable Personnel
Éric Boullier · Ron Dennis · Tim Goss · Jonathan Neale · Neil Oakley · Peter Prodromou
Former Notable Personnel
John Barnard · Gordon Coppuck · Pat Fry · Norbert Haug · Robin Herd · Paddy Lowe · Neil Martin · Teddy Mayer · Sam Michael · Gordon Murray · Adrian Newey · Steve Nichols · Jo Ramirez · Nicholas Tombazis · Martin Whitmarsh
Drivers
2. Belgium Stoffel Vandoorne · 14. Spain Fernando Alonso
World Champions
Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi (1974) · United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton (2008) · United Kingdom James Hunt (1976) · Finland Mika Häkkinen (1998, 1999) ·
Austria Niki Lauda (1984) · France Alain Prost (1985, 1986, 1989) · Brazil Ayrton Senna (1988, 1990, 1991)
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