The McLaren MP4/4 was the Formula One car raced by McLaren-Honda in the 1988 season. It was designed by Steve Nichols. The car was an evolution based the car on the MP4/3 from 1987. 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. In F1 2017, the car is downloadable content. 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.
Design[edit | edit source]
The Steve Nichols designed McLaren MP4/3 with its maximum power output of approximately 850 bhp (634 kW; 862 PS) from its Porsche built TAG V6 engine lost out nine times to the dominant Honda powered Williams of Nelson Piquet and Nigel Mansell, twice to the Lotus-Honda of Ayrton Senna, and twice in the latter stages to the Ferrari of Gerhard Berger. Reigning World Champion Prost could only manage three wins for the season (his lowest number since taking 2 wins for Renault in 1982), and finished 4th in the Drivers' Championship, though his win in Portugal was cause for celebration as it was the Frenchman's 28th career win, taking him past the previous record of 27 wins by triple World Champion Jackie Stewart.
For 1988 McLaren had secured use of the 1.5L V6 Honda turbo engines which since late in the 1985 season had been the best engine in Formula One. With the engines coming at the expense of Williams (who had won the previous two Constructors' Championships from McLaren), a strong 1988 was possible. Team boss Ron Dennis had previously tried to secure Honda engines for his Formula 2 team and welcomed the Japanese company after four successful years with the TAG engines. 1988 was due to be the last year for the turbo engines before they were banned, so most teams were making a concerted effort to establish themselves with naturally aspirated cars. Steve Nichols went ahead with the design of the car on a purely turbo engine basis, which put the team at a distinct advantage over their rivals. There was speculation that Honda would introduce their V10 engine during 1988, though Ron Dennis confirmed during qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza that racing the V10 was never part of the plan for 1988.
The team tried active suspension in early testing, but abandoned the idea. The car only had a few aerodynamic upgrades all season.
Specifications[edit | edit source]
Chassis[edit | edit source]
|Chassis construction||McLaren moulded carbon fibre/honeycomb composite|
|Bodywork construction||One piece cockpit top, side panels and engine cover |
Separate carbon fibre nose section
|Front suspension||Upper and lower wishbones, with pullrod-operated, remotely adjustable Showa spring/damper units|
|Rear suspension||Upper and lower wishbones, with pushrod-operated, remotely adjustable Showa spring/damper units, plus lower track-control arm|
|Wheel diameter||Front and rear: 13 in (330 mm)|
|Wheel rim widths||Front: 11.5 in (292 mm) |
Rear: 16.5 in (419 mm)
|Tyre dimensions (inches)|
|Brakes||Calipers: McLaren |
Discs and pads: Carbon Industrie
|Radiators, intercoolers and oil coolers||McLaren with Secan cores|
|Instruments||Honda and McLaren|
|Oil tank||Integral within gearbox casing|
|Carbon composite materials||Hercules Aerospace|
|Carbon release agents/bonding materials||Hysol Frekote|
Transmission[edit | edit source]
|Clutch||Tilton 5.5 in (140.0 mm) multiplate carbon|
|Gearbox||McLaren six-speed, three-shaft longitudinal |
Dry sump lubrication system
|Differential||Torsen (Gleason internals)|
Engine[edit | edit source]
|Cylinder layout||V6 (80°)|
|Maximum downshift rev limit||14,000 rpm|
|Fuel and oil||Shell|
|Fuel injection and ignition||Honda PGM-FI|
|Power||504 kW (676 bhp) at 12,500 rpm|
|Torque||424 Nm (313 lb/ft) at 10,000 rpm|
|Displacement||1,494 cc (91.2 in³)|
|Bore||79.0 mm (3.1 in)|
|Stroke||50.8 mm (2.0 in)|
|Weight||146 kg (322 lb) fully dressed|
|Cylinder block||Cast iron with wet cylinder lines|
|Cylinder heads||Aluminium alloy|
|Camshafts||Two per bank (inlet and exhaust), gear-driven|
Dimensions and weights[edit | edit source]
|Wheelbase||2,875 mm (113.2 in)|
|Track||Front: 1,824 mm (71.8 in) |
Rear: 1,670 mm (65.7 in)
|Length||4,394 mm (173.0 in)|
|Width||2,134 mm (84.0 in)|
|Height||940.0 mm (37.0 in)|
|Weight (without driver)||540 kg (1,196 lb)|
|Fuel tank capacity||150 litres (39.6 gallons)|
Chassis Log[edit | edit source]
MP4/4-01[edit | edit source]
|Canada||Montréal||Senna||—||—||Was race car, qualified and raced MP4/4-02|
|France||Paul Ricard||Prost||—||—||Spare car|
|Great Britain||Silverstone||Prost||—||—||Spare car|
|Germany||Hockenheimring||Prost||—||2nd||Was Senna's spare car, grid time set by MP4/4-04|
Was not used for testing.
Currently owned by McLaren.
MP4/4-02[edit | edit source]
|Brazil||Jacarepaguá||Prost||3rd||1st||Was spare car, used for Saturday and Sunday|
|San Marino||Imola||Senna||—||—||Spare car|
|Monaco||Monte-Carlo||Prost||—||—||Spare car, used by Senna in Q1 and P1|
|Mexcio||Mexico City||Prost||2nd||—||Spare car, used to set grid time|
|Canada||Montréal||Senna||1st||1st||FL, was spare car|
|Spain||Circuito de Jerez||Prost||—||—||Spare car|
|Japan||Suzuka Circuit||Senna||1st||1st||FL, was spare car (replaced MP4/4-05)|
Senna won the Championship
|Australia||Adelaide Street Circuit||Senna||—||2nd||Used MP4/4-05 for grid time|
Was used in the first 1988 Imola Pre-Season Test (Prost and Senna).
Currently privately owned.
MP4/4-03[edit | edit source]
|Brazil||Jacarepaguá||Senna / Prost||—||DSQ||Prost's race car, used in P1, Q1 and P2; Prost raced MP4/4-01, Senna used this car during race|
Was declared the primary test car, and thus ended up as the only MP4/4 chassis to not win a race.
Currently privately owned.
MP4/4-04[edit | edit source]
|Mexcio||Mexico City||Prost||—||1st||FL, spare car MP4/4-02 used for qualifying|
|Germany||Hockenheimring||Prost||2nd||—||Used Senna's spare car, MP4/4-01, for the race|
This car was not used for testing.
Currently privately owned.
MP4/4-05[edit | edit source]
|Spain||Circuito de Jerez||Senna||1st||4th|
|Japan||Suzuka Circuit||Senna||—||—||Was race car, replaced by MP4/4-02|
|Australia||Adelaide Street Circuit||Senna||1st||—||Used MP4/4-02 for the race|
Used in one test.
Currently owned by Honda.
MP4/4-06[edit | edit source]
|Spain||Circuito de Jerez||Prost||2nd||1st||FL|
|Australia||Adelaide Street Circuit||Prost||2nd||1st||FL|
Not used in any tests.
Currently privately owned.
Statistical overview[edit | edit source]
Race Victories[edit | edit source]
|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 Results[edit | edit source]
Notes[edit | edit source]
- Rendle, Steve (2018). McLaren MP4/4 – 1988 (all models) – Owners' Workshop Manual. Sparkford, Yeovil: Haynes Publishing. p. 51. ISBN 978-1-78521-137-9.
- Rendle, Steve (2018). McLaren MP4/4 – 1988 (all models) – Owners' Workshop Manual. Sparkford, Yeovil: Haynes Publishing. p. 166. ISBN 978-1-78521-137-9.
- Rendle, Steve (2018). McLaren MP4/4 – 1988 (all models) – Owners' Workshop Manual. Sparkford, Yeovil: Haynes Publishing. pp. 168–169. ISBN 978-1-78521-137-9.
Further Reading[edit | edit source]
- Rendle, Steve (2018). McLaren MP4/4 – 1988 (all models) – Owners' Workshop Manual. Sparkford, Yeovil: Haynes Publishing. ISBN 978-1-78521-137-9.
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