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)
Tyres G Goodyear
Tyre dimensions (inches)
Brakes Calipers: McLaren
Discs and pads: Carbon Industrie
Steering McLaren rack-and-pinion
Radiators, intercoolers and oil coolers McLaren with Secan cores
Fuel tank ATL
Battery GS Yuasa
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)
Driveshafts Metalor steel

Engine[edit | edit source]

Type Honda RA168E
Cylinder layout V6 (80°)
Maximum downshift rev limit 14,000 rpm
Fuel and oil Shell
Spark plugs NGK
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)
Compression ratio 9.4:1
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
Turbochargers Two, IHI

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]

Race Circuit Driver Grid Race Notes
Brazil Jacarepaguá Senna 1st DNS Raced MP4/4-03
San Marino Imola Senna 1st 1st
Monaco Monte-Carlo Senna 1st Ret FL
Mexcio Mexico City Senna 1st 2nd
Canada Montréal Senna Was race car, qualified and raced MP4/4-02
Detroit Detroit Senna Spare car
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
Hungary Budapest Prost 7th 2nd FL
Belgium Spa-Francorchamps Prost 2nd 2nd
Italy Monza Prost 2nd Ret

Was not used for testing.

Currently owned by McLaren.

MP4/4-02[edit | edit source]

Race Circuit Driver Grid Race Notes
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
Detroit Detroit Senna 1st 1st
France Paul Ricard Senna 2nd 2nd
Hungary Budapest Prost Spare car
Belgium Spa-Francorchamps Senna Spare car
Italy Monza Senna Spare car
Portugal Estoril Prost 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]

Race Circuit Driver Grid Race Notes
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]

Race Circuit Driver Grid Race Notes
San Marino Imola Prost 2nd 2nd FL
Monaco Monte-Carlo Prost 2nd 1st
Mexcio Mexico City Prost 1st FL, spare car MP4/4-02 used for qualifying
Canada Montréal Prost 2nd 2nd
Detroit Detroit Prost 4th 2nd FL
France Paul Ricard Prost 1st 1st FL
Great Britain Silverstone Prost 4th Ret
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]

Race Circuit Driver Grid Race Notes
Great Britain Silverstone Senna 3rd 1st
Germany Hockenheimring Senna 1st 1st
Hungary Budapest Senna 1st 1st
Belgium Spa-Francorchamps Senna 1st 1st
Italy Monza Senna 1st 10thRET
Portugal Estoril Senna 2nd 6th
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]

Race Circuit Driver Grid Race Notes
Portugal Estoril Prost 1st 1st
Spain Circuito de Jerez Prost 2nd 1st FL
Japan Suzuka Circuit Prost 2nd 2nd
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]

Year No. Event Driver Notes
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]

Year Driver Tyre 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
1988 Flag of Brazil (1968–1992).svg Flag of San Marino.svg Flag of Monaco.svg Flag of Mexico.svg Flag of Canada.svg Flag of Detroit, Michigan.svg Flag of France.svg Flag of Great Britain.png Flag of Germany.svg Flag of Hungary.svg Flag of Belgium.svg Flag of Italy.svg Flag of Portugal.svg Flag of Spain.svg Flag of Japan.svg Flag of Australia.svg
France Prost G 1st 2nd 1st 1st 2nd 2nd 1st Ret 2nd 2nd 2nd Ret 1st 1st 2nd 1st
Brazil Senna DSQ 1st Ret 2nd 1st 1st 2nd 1st 1st 1st 1st 10th 6th 4th 1st 2nd

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Rendle, Steve (2018). McLaren MP4/4 – 1988 (all models) – Owners' Workshop Manual. Sparkford, Yeovil: Haynes Publishing. p. 51. ISBN 978-1-78521-137-9.
  2. Rendle, Steve (2018). McLaren MP4/4 – 1988 (all models) – Owners' Workshop Manual. Sparkford, Yeovil: Haynes Publishing. p. 166. ISBN 978-1-78521-137-9.
  3. 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.
V T E McLarenLogo.jpg McLaren Racing
Bruce McLaren
Notable Personnel
Éric Boullier · Ron Dennis · Tim Goss · Jonathan Neale · Neil Oatley · Peter Prodromou
Former Notable Personnel
John Barnard · Gordon Coppuck · Pat Fry · Norbert Haug · Robin Herd · Paddy Lowe · Neil Martin · Teddy Mayer · Sam Michael · Gordon Murray · Adrian Newey · Steve Nichols · Jo Ramirez · Nicholas Tombazis · Martin Whitmarsh
3. Australia Daniel Ricciardo · 4. United Kingdom Lando Norris ·
World Champions
Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi (1974) · United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton (2008) · United Kingdom James Hunt (1976) · Finland Mika Häkkinen (1998, 1999) ·
Austria Niki Lauda (1984) · France Alain Prost (1985, 1986, 1989) · Brazil Ayrton Senna (1988, 1990, 1991)
F1 Cars
M2B · M4B · M5A · M7A · M7B · M7C · M7D · M9A · M14A · M14D · M19A · M19C · M23 · M26 · M28 · M29 · M29B · M29C · M29F · M30 · MP4/1 · MP4B · MP4/1C · MP4/1E · MP4/2 · MP4/2B · MP4/2C · MP4/3 · MP4/4 · MP4/5 · MP4/5B · MP4/6 · MP4/6B · MP4/7A · MP4/8 · MP4/9 · MP4/10 · MP4/10B · MP4/10C · MP4/11 · MP4/11B · MP4/12 · MP4/13 · MP4/14 · MP4/15 · MP4-16 · MP4-17 · MP4-17D · MP4-18 · MP4-19 · MP4-19B · MP4-20 · MP4-21 · MP4-22 · MP4-23 · MP4-24 · MP4-25 · MP4-26 · MP4-27 · MP4-28 · MP4-29 · MP4-30 · MP4-31 · MCL32 · MCL33 · MCL34 · MCL35 · MCL35M
Season Reports
1966 · 1967 · 1968 · 1969 · 1970 · 1971 · 1972 · 1973 · 1974 · 1975 · 1976 · 1977 · 1978 · 1979 · 1980 · 1981 · 1982 · 1983 · 1984 · 1985 · 1986 · 1987 · 1988 · 1989 · 1990 · 1991 · 1992 · 1993 · 1994 · 1995 · 1996 · 1997 · 1998 · 1999 · 2000 · 2001 · 2002 · 2003 · 2004 · 2005 · 2006 · 2007 · 2008 · 2009 · 2010 · 2011 · 2012 · 2013 · 2014 · 2015 · 2016 · 2017 · 2018 · 2019 · 2020 · 2021
Full results
v·d·e Nominate this page for Featured Article
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.