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The McLaren MP4/4 was the Formula One car raced by McLaren-Honda in the 1988 season. It was designed by Steve Nichols and Gordon Murray. Murray based the car on the lowline BT55 from 1986. 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.

DesignEdit

The MP4/4 was based on the lowline concept pioneered by Gordon Murray when he was at Brabham. The car based on the concept, the Brabham BT55, had many issues, including fuel and oil starvation along with engine installation problems. And a two-second turbo lag in the BMW engine used meant that the car was slow to accelerate. The aerodynamic gain, caused by the reduction in front area by 30%, did not compensate for the cornering issues, and the car could not take full advantage of the increase in top speed.

Murray moved to McLaren in 1987, and the MP4/3 used the lowline concept. However, the TAG-Porsche engine was not as powerful as the Williams's Honda engine, and McLaren were unable to challenge strongly, not helped by the unreliability of the TAG engine.

The MP4/4, however, had the all-powerful Honda engine, which as an 80° V6, had a very small frontal area, especially with a small fuel tank of just 150 litres (down from 195 the previous season and 220 the season before). With Honda working hard on the fuel management of its engine, the McLaren car was made reliable to add to the quickness it already possessed.

The team tried active suspension in early testing, but abandoned the idea. The car only had a few aerodynamic upgrades all season.

SpecificationsEdit

[1][2]

ChassisEdit

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) Front: 25 × 10 × 13
Rear: 26 × 15 × 13
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

TransmissionEdit

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

EngineEdit

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 weightsEdit

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 LogEdit

[3]

MP4/4-01Edit

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.

MP4/4-02Edit

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.

MP4/4-03Edit

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.

MP4/4-04Edit

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.

MP4/4-05Edit

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.

MP4/4-06Edit

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 overviewEdit

Race VictoriesEdit

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 ResultsEdit

YearDriverTyre12345678910111213141516
1988 Flag of Brazil (1968–1992) Flag of San Marino Flag of Monaco Flag of Mexico Flag of Canada Flag of Detroit, Michigan Flag of France Flag of Great Britain Flag of Germany Flag of Hungary Flag of Belgium Flag of Italy Flag of Portugal Flag of Spain Flag of Japan Flag of Australia
France Prost G 1st2nd1st1st2nd2nd1stRet2nd2nd2ndRet1st1st2nd1st
Brazil Senna DSQ1stRet2nd1st1st2nd1st1st1st1st10th6th4th1st2nd

NotesEdit

  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 ReadingEdit

  • 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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