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.
The MP4/4 is featured in various video games such as Forza Motorsport 6 and F1 2017. It is also featured in Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec but does not have the MP4/4 livery and appears under the name F688/S.
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.
|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
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