How the third iteration of an F1 conqueror slipped McLaren from its perch
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How the third iteration of an F1 conqueror slipped McLaren from its perch

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The McLaren MP4-15 was a silver arrow too often wreathed in smoke during the 2000 Formula 1 season. Millennial angst or over-reach in the engine bay? STUART CODLING examines the championship challenger that provoked a changing of the guard at McLaren

Change was in the air as the MP4-15 took shape in the late summer of 1999. The ticking over of the millennium was an inescapable hard point in the calendar, the new year of all new years, a potent cocktail of hopes and dreams and promises and, yes, nagging uncertainties, what with that pesky Millennium Bug… For once, the onset of 1 January carried a wider cultural significance than a wish list of soon-to-be-abandoned resolutions.

Such ferment for radical change passed the McLaren design office by. The move to swish new premises sculpted by Norman Foster was years away, and the byzantine ‘matrix management’ system was not yet a twinkle in deputy team principal Martin Whitmarsh’s eye.

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