McLaren MP4-4 (1988) pictures

The McLaren MP4-4 annihilated its rivals in the 1988 Formula 1 season.

It is arguably the most dominant F1 car ever made. Its drivers often qualified multiple seconds ahead of the competition.

Having used TAG-financed Porsche engines for the previous four seasons, McLaren agreed a deal to take Honda engines from 1988. The Japanese turbos had been the class of the field the previous year, when Williams used them to win the championship.

While Williams had to give up the Hondas, Lotus continued using them, but they were no match for the all-conquering MP4/4.

McLaren won 15 out of 16 races. Ayrton Senna won the world championship for the first time driving the car, taking victory in eight of that year’s races, while he team mate Alain Prost won seven times.

The only race the team failed to win that year was the Italian Grand Prix. Prost retired from the Monza race with a technical problem, while Senna went out when he collided with a backmarker while leading.

The MP4/4 was designed by Gordon Murray, who had joined McLaren from Brabham, and Steve Nichols. It was the last turbo-powered McLaren before turbo engines were banned at the end of 1988.

The car had to comply with new regulations which greatly restricted the power of the turbos and were expected to make normally aspirated engines more competitive. However McLaren’s near-total dominated of the season put paid to that.

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