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Reviving the spirit of the McLaren- Honda MP4/4 – Premium

Submitted by on December 24, 2014


In 1988, McLaren and Honda formed a partnership that would result in one of the most successful racing cars of all time. In 2015, the two are set to reunite and are looking to set the bar high. But what could be higher than their last attempt at a turbo powered Formula 1 car? We take a look at their awesome creation from 1988 and the last era of turbo F1 – The McLaren MP4/4.

The MP4/4 was a car that had everything a team could ask for. Superior performance matched with a superior driver lineup and a team ready to back it all up.


Rewind back to 1988, McLaren-Honda had developed the MP4/4 as a response to the domination of the Williams team in ‘87. It was the very last hurrah to a dying breed of turbo powered Formula 1 car that had dominated the series for the better part of a decade.


However, tough new restrictions on fuel and boost pressure for turbo cars meant that expectations for competitive, let alone championship winning turbo cars were initially doubtful. However, the MP4/4 was quick to overturn these thoughts by cleaning up the field race after race and acted as a final salute to an exciting, although dangerous era of F1 racing.


The superior Honda RA168-E 1.5L Turbo V6 paired together with the ‘dream team’ driver lineup of veteran Alain Prost and the talented Ayrton Senna, team McLaren were seemingly unstoppable. Narrowly missing out on having the perfect season, the MP4/4 will forever be remembered for its dominance of the grid while at the hands of two of Formula 1’s most memorable drivers.


Watching onboard footage of either of these drivers on the limit and you’ll realize that their skill was nothing short of heroic. Piloting 700HP of force fed power in a lightweight carbon fibre package with nothing but a retro 6 speed manual transmission on the narrow streets of Monaco? Frankly, I can’t think of anything more frightening.

Now let’s fast forward back to today’s situation.

For 2015; turbo power has returned, McLaren and Honda are set to revive a legendary partnership after a disappointing season for McLaren at the rear of the competition. And McLaren’s driver lineup is now complete with 2 former world champions in Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button.


Will 2015 bring about the revival of McLaren-Honda glory that we once saw with the MP4/4?

1988 Mclaren MP4/4 Stats:

– Claimed 15/16 Pole positions

– Claimed 15/16 race victories

– Claimed 10 one-two victories from 16 starts

– Led for 1003 of the 1031 laps in the entire season




DSC_4337Images: Jayson Fong

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