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Boardroom’s Formula 1 Beginner’s Guide to McLaren

Get to know the iconic McLaren F1 team, including drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris.

For over 50 years, McLaren has been one of Formula 1’s most prestigious names, winning 12 Driver’s Championships (second to Ferrari’s 15) and eight Constructor’s titles. The Britain-based team has won 183 F1 races and climbed to 493 podiums as part of a massive portfolio of success.

But despite truly being one of motor racing’s legacy outfits, McLaren’s glory days grow further away each year, having last won a Driver’s Championship with a 23-year-old Lewis Hamilton in 2008 and having last won a Constructor’s crown in 1998. The team has used engine providers running the gamut from British Racing Motors to Ford-Cosworth, Porsche, Honda, Ford, Lamborghini, Peugeot, Honda, Renault, and (finally) a return to Mercedes in 2021, in which McLaren finished No. 4 in the Constructor’s Championship behind Ferrari, Red Bull, and champions Mercedes AMG Petronas. That finish came a year after beating out Ferrari for 3rd in 2020.

Led by 32-year-old Drive To Survive darling Daniel Ricciardo and 22-year-old rising star Lando Norris, McLaren will look to break through and recapture the success of generations past. While it’s not off to a great start in 2022, there’s still plenty of time for one of racing’s most celebrated brands to once again ascend toward the top of the sport.

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History of McLaren in Formula 1

Founded: 1966
Previously known as: Bruce McLaren Motor Racing 
Headquarters: Surrey, England
Owner: McLaren Group (85%), MSP Sports Capital (15%)
Key sponsors: A Better Tomorrow, Dell Technologies, Darktrace, Arrow, Tezos, Android, Webex, Unilever, Splunk, Stanley Black & Decker, Chrome, Alteryx Analytics, Smartsheet, DataRobot, Gulf, GoPuff, Coca-Cola, CNBC, Fx Pro, Party Responsibly.

Twentysomething Kiwi Bruce McLaren, a driver for F1 outfit Cooper, caught a bit of entrepreneurial spirit in 1963, forming Bruce McLaren Motor Racing. The company made its debut as a Formula 1 constructor at Monaco in 1966 and made a leap in 1968 with the twin arrivals of reigning world champion driver Danny Hulme and a spiffy new V8 “double four valve” engine manufactured by Cosworth. That year, McLaren’s team experienced its first Grand Prix wins on the way to a No. 2 finish in the Constructor’s Championship behind Lotus — but a solid 17 points ahead of Scuderia Ferrari.

McLaren turned out to have a keen eye for automotive engineering and the subtle optimization of a Grand Prix car, putting in place the foundation for a team that would come to be known for its sheer reliability in a dangerous and unpredictable sport.

Sadly, McLaren died in 1970 at the age of 32 when he lost control while testing out a new car for the upcoming Canadian-American Challenge Cup. His legend in motor racing, however, would soon take on new levels of majesty, with the team winning its first Driver’s and Constructors titles in 1974 led by driver Emerson Fittipaldi. They’ve won the double six more times since then — 1984, ’85, ’88, ’89, ’91, and ’98 — and have enjoyed memorable championship runs from legendary drivers like Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Mika Häkkinen, and Lewis Hamilton, who combined to win nine Driver’s Championships.

2022 McLaren F1 Drivers

Daniel Ricciardo
  • No. 3 car
  • Eight F1 victories, 32 podiums
  • Finished No. 3 in Driver’s Championship standings twice in a three-year span (2014, ’16)

A grinning, affable presence around the track, Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo has built himself quite a worldwide fanbase, and his moments of eminent cheekiness captured on Netflix’s Drive to Survive docuseries certainly haven’t hurt him in that regard. A veteran of HRT, Toro Rosso (now known as AlphaTauri), Red Bull Racing, and Renault, he finished eighth in the championship standings in 2021. That campaign that included a victory at the Italian Grand Prix, his last F1 win to date.

Lando Norris
  • No. 4 car
  • Earned both pole position and fastest lap at 2021 Russian GP, a career first
  • Launched his own karting team, LN Racing Kart, in 2021

He’s still awaiting his first Formula 1 victory, but 22-year-old Lando Norris continues to emerge as a bright, marketable star. McLaren is the only F1 team he’s ever known, first joining the organization in 2018 as a test driver when he was just 18 years of age. His sixth-place Driver’s Championship finish last year was his best to date.

Ricciardo and Norris celebrating McLaren’s 1-2 finish at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix (Peter Fox/Getty Images)

McLaren’s F1 Championships & Milestones

Numbers reflect results through the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Constructor’s Championships: 8 (1974, ’84, ’85, ’88, ’89, ’90, ’91, ’98)
Driver’s Championships: 12 (1974, ’76, ’84, ’85, ’86, ’88, ’89, ’90, ’91, ’98, ’99, ’08)

All-time Formula 1 wins: 183
F1 podiums: 493
F1 poles: 156
F1 fastest laps: 163

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