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McLaren celebrates its 50th anniversary in the Formula 1 world championship
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Jenson Button
Posted By: Alex Kalinauckas  |  27 May 2016   |  10:22 pm GMT  |  30 comments

McLaren is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the team’s first appearance at a Formula 1 race at this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix.

McLaren first took part in the F1 world championship at the 1966 Monaco race when founder Bruce McLaren entered a chassis bearing his own name: the M2B. A McLaren statement described that car as “overweight and under-prepared” and the New Zealander retired after nine laps due to an oil leak.

The team has since gone on to win 182 races, 12 drivers’ titles and eight constructors’ championships and it has released a special video that charts McLaren’s progress in F1 and features many of the memorable moments of the squad’s history.


McLaren is also the most successful team, in number of victories, at the Monaco Grand Prix as its cars have won in the principality on 15 occasions. No other team is in double figures.

Ayrton Senna’s five consecutive triumphs, out of his career total of six at Monaco, all came aboard a McLaren.

But the British team has not faired so well at F1’s most famous race in recent seasons and its most recent win came in 2008, courtesy of Lewis Hamilton.

Ayrton Senna Monaco Grand Prix

With Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso only 10th and 12th in the second practice session for this year’s edition of the Monaco Grand Prix, a 16th McLaren win appears unlikely at this stage.

Alonso won the Monaco race in 2007 during his first one-season stint with the team, and the double world champion described McLaren’s growth over its first 50 years of F1 racing.

Fernando Alonso Monaco Grand Prix 2007

He said: “It’s hard to believe that the whole team in Monaco back in 1966 comprised only six people – including Bruce and his wife! – but it’s proof of how much you can grow and develop something with sheer passion and determination.”

Button, who has chalked up eight wins for the team since he joined at the start of 2010, described how McLaren feels like a “quintessential British grand prix team”.

He said: “Despite its roots in New Zealand, McLaren feels like the quintessential British grand prix team – it’s been based in the UK for its entire lifetime – half a century – and has a set of values and sense of sporting fair-play unlike any other team in Formula 1.”

Jenson Button

What do you make of McLaren’s 50th anniversary? Can the team achieve a special result to mark the occasion this weekend? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.

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McLaren F1 team as we know it was formed with a merger of the racing team owned by Ron Dennis in the early 1980’s. The team’s history is equally English if not more than it is kiwi.

Andrew Halliday

I don’t dislike McLaren but I do like to wind up my McLaren loving friends with a few simple truths/observations. McLaren portray the image of being one of the ‘big teams’ but are they still relevant? In the last 20 years they’ve won 3 drivers championships and 1 constructors championship. Compare that to Ferrari (6 and 8), Red Bull (4 and 4), Williams (2 and 2), Renault (2 and 2) and Mercedes (soon to be 3 and 3) and they would be classed as an upper midfield team at best.


I was about to ask about the “McLaren 50” celebrations in 2013 but it looks like that celebrated 50 years since the company was formed. I really hope they don’t dig out the old style team gear they had then!


When you think F1, you think of Ferrari, McLaren & Williams. It’s a remarkable achievement to be in the sport for 50 years, and not just being there, but having a rich and memorable portion. They’ve had their era of dominance, who can forget 15 wins in 16 GP’s in 1988. They’ve battled Ferrari, Williams, Red Bull during those teams own era of dominance. But putting things in perspective, no Constructor championship since 1998 is very surprising.
But still, they deserve to be celebrated, they’ve had some of the greatest drivers in their employ, a few of them won all, or most or their first Championship with them.
McLaren today are a far cry from the 1988-91 era, or the late 90’s. So we wonder if they can ever return to that kind of form. Well, to be able to return, first of all, they need to be there… and they still are. Good luck to them.


Ron,……… please give Stoffel Vandoorne two years under Alonso. All parities will benifit,


Stoffel is a free agent for 2017 if McLaren don’t give him a race seat. Decision time must be August/September to give him time to find another team if it’s not going to happen.

I suspect it will happen for him next year. Dennis may well be influenced by Verstappen’s success as he was with Kubica’s success in Sept 2006 when he went for Hamilton for 2007


@ james…..ron dennis has confirmed that SVD is not for sale. given that you have stated that mclaren must either give him a race seat or he is free agent says to me that button must be the sacrificial lamb [or mutton in his case] as alonso has already said that he still one year left in his contract. where will button go? williams? that is just another midfield team, unless there is a williams/honda deal in place and button is a part of that. then again where would williams be without the best engine on the grid? interesting times ahead.


Williams is staying with Mercedes next year. I can imagine Toto wanting to move Wehrlein up the grid a bit next year, maybe to Force India or Williams, must as Ferrari had planned with Bianchi for 2015.


James, if that’s the case, it’s likely Jenson would be out. Is Williams a strong possibility for him?


It was 12 months ago. Not sure now. Money likely an issue

I can imagine Sainz at Williams, I think he’s their kind of driver. If we presume Gasly comes in for Kvyat next year at TR, do they give Carlos a 3rd season, which is unprecedented, or does he move on?


James a 3rd season is unprecedented, but if Toro Rosso can secure a 2017 spec engine could that 3rd season for Sainz happen? A 2017 spec engine, be it Ferrari or Renault could catapult them into the top four. James Key is doing a fantastic job on the technical side. Podiums may become a realistic target. They may require an experienced leader, so Sainz could be needed. Speaking of James Key, is he really a target for Ferrari?


Key said on Thursday that they have the 2017 Ferrari and updates


With aero changes kicking in and wider tyres in 2017, couldn’t ask for a better timing to give Vandoorne McLaren race seat.

I read somewhere, Vandoorne comparing Super Formula and F1, and mentioning Super Formula car to be quick around the corners.

So, with aero changes and possible change in the behaviour of tyres, it should level the playing field a bit for rookie.

Looking forward to seeing Vandoorne at McLaren in 2017.


A telling video – subtle in its mastery.
Noise and action around all the shots –
Except for the last one with the latest Honda addition –
Quietly reposeful with just that tinkly piano music for background.
A once-dominant organisation finally reaching its autumn years?
And those earlier shots with plans and drawing board in focus –
As in ‘we must get back to it’?


Ron: “Nice words, thanks Jenson. Oh, err, bye bye”I

Richard Groves

Sporting fair play? Short memories when it comes to that Ferrari data then.


You should have tried to read between the lines, shame!


Yes. What a truly odd comment from JB…
Having a very subtle swipe at them ?
– as he is about to be given the Order of The Boot by Ron??


2007, 2008: great old days for McLaren, especially these classic race at Monaco in 2008, where Lewis hit the barrier at Tabac and won the race in rainy conditions.

However, Ayrton Senna made McLaren so great in my view. The best driver ever in the best car in the late 1980-s and early 1990-s.

Hakkinen drove very well for McLaren for many seasons struggling at the beginning and finally clinching two titles.

DC I think has served for 9 seasons, the longest record for McLaren.

I think McLaren is greater than any other team, I’ve been always McLaren’s fan even today, when they don’t have particularly quick car to say at least.

They’re struggling in midfield, but it is still great McLaren with history, great two champions: Fernando and Jenson.


A magnificent team with such a history of success. Over the past 30+ years I have found myself willing others to beat them when McLaren were dominant and now I find myself willing them to achieve success.

What concerns me are the comments of Boullier (3rd best chassis) and Dennis (the team that will end Mercedes dominance) as odd and reeking of desperation. I greatly admire both men for what they have achieved however some of the things they have said recently (especially Dennis when reading extended interviews) concerns me that he has lost his way.

People deride the performance of the Honda engine last year however I believe history will prove 2015 was fraught with issues on the chassis design team and that these were not acknowledged due to the obvious hole created by their Japanese partners. I believe Dennis is a victim of this.

I wish them all the success in the world but I am sorry McLaren don’t have anywhere near the 3rd best chassis (as Qualifying this evening will demonstrate) and you will not be the team to end Mercedes dominance.


I still remember the joyous celebrations of Mika Hakkinen at his title triumph in Suzuka 1998 with McLaren clinching the constructor’s title.

At that moment, not even in my vilest of all dreams would I have imagined , McLaren will still be searching for their “next” constructors title even after waiting for next 18 years. (the less it is said about 2007 with regards to McLaren, the better it is. )

I wonder if any journalist has bluntly reminded Ron Dennis that “McLaren HAS NOT won any constructors title in the 21st century”.

It’s great to know about the development of MTC or how great the plans are for road car division, but what happened to the “pure F1 racing”, ethos of “we exist to win”.

What is todays McLaren best at?
-Ron Dennis claims McLaren has the best drivers line-up!!! I have my reservations on that.

-Do they have the best chassis ? Certainly not.
-Best power unit, anyone???
-Best young drivers program ? At the moment, it’s efficient enough to only jeopardize their careers.
– Best pit-stop crew? Williams might have a thing to say about that..
– Hell, McLaren has even stopped producing good looking car livery. The current one appears to be an attempt to disappear in the background of tarmac.

I fear McLaren won’t win any championship in the current “power unit” era, but Ron Dennis still has the audacity to claim McLaren will be the team to dislodge Mercedes !!!!!!!

Let’s start scoring points first in every race Ron…


Indeed the livery pretty much sums up the feeling I get from McLaren these days. Boring, unimaginative, corporate…

Money making machine these days, not a race team.


That is F1 to me, has been for decades now.
I used to record every race on BHS video, I stopped long ago, it’s far to contrived now.
McLaren will return, they are one of the top teams, all this naysayer talk is rubbish.


Great team, suddenly gave us fans of the sports many moments of joy.

Is this the full drivers’ statement? Very telling that neither of them talk about returning back to competitiveness!!!! Where is the fire boys?


As a Ferrari fan the best championships are the ones when McLaren and Ferrari fights until the last lap of the championship for the win regardless of who comes out on top. Congratulations to McLaren for such a successful 50 years. I hope they can get bac to where they belong sooner than later. The Kiwi Bruce McLaren is certainly has established McLaren F1 team as one of the biggest iconic name of British Sport & sport in general.

Teams like RBR, Mercedes will always come and go as constructor. Ferrari, McLaren and Williams are the heart and soul of F1. This sport doesn’t mean much without these historic teams. Some teams pretty close if not as big as the sport itself. At least Ferrari and McLaren to me are two of those teams. I’m hoping we will see Schumacher vs Mika; Lewis vs Filippe type championship battle between these two historic teams soon.


Congrats to Mclaren 50 years in the sport.
Will they put an ORANGE Livery on their cars in celebration


I think it’s Dennis that is most resistant to the orange. For him that’s the pre-P4 McLaren, pre-Dennis, so he’ll pay it lip service, but that’s it. That’s the impression I get.


I’ve campaigner on this fine forum for McLaren to return to tangerine orange for quite some time – but I doubt they’ll do it!

McLaren may be an English team, but they do have NZ roots. Ah Bruce and Denny, 2 of the most pleasant and likeable people to have graced a Formula 1 paddock. I’ve got a soft spot for New Zealand. The Kiwi’s don’t have the attitude problem you get with other colonial countries. It’s probably the heritage. New Zealander’s are not descended from convicts, religious zealots, slaves, freaks, weirdos and general neer do wells like some colonials I can think of…………..Even the way Bruce and Denny spoke was soft and melodic, rather than harsh and whiny. And Denny, while a bit gruff, had the heart of a lion and a gritty determination that Nigel Mansell would have been proud of.

So well done McLaren, and well done New Zealand. Like the mighty All Blacks, Bruce and Denny left a brilliant legacy and have done that gorgeous little country proud.


I do believe that mclaren have certainly been a substantial force within F1 but i do not believe that they are much more than just another competitor in the overall scheme. yes, they introduced levels of sophisticated technology that still forms the core of modern monocoque construction but that is what they are configured to do. that was and still is their business. ron dennis has built an incredible and enviable empire with his considerable skills and foresight and for that alone he must be highly commended. all that aside, that is in the past and no one can live in the past…that’s history. today we see a race team that’s struggling and it has been for a long time. can they turn it around? i am not so sure that they can. only time will tell. they certainly have the technical facilities and they certainly have the finances…what is lacking is,IMO, the engine. they are still a midfield team and they should be racing in much better company.


@ gaz boy…have you ever been to new zealand? have you ever met/worked and socialised with new zealanders?

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