McLaren has confirmed that its 2017 Formula 1 car will be called the MCL32, ending its 35-year long tradition of using ‘MP4′ as part of the chassis’ name.
McLaren introduced the MP4 naming pattern in 1981 following the arrival of Ron Dennis at the team, with the MP4/1 making its debut at that year’s Argentine Grand Prix.
Dennis announced back in November that he would be resigning from his position as chairman and CEO following a boardroom struggle, making way for executive director Zak Brown to take over at the start of December.
McLaren had previously considered keeping its existing naming pattern, as confirmed to NBC Sports by Brown last month, but the team confirmed on Thursday that the MP4 name would be following Dennis out of the door at Woking.
Via a video on Twitter, McLaren announced its 2017 car will officially be called the McLaren-Honda MCL32.
Dennis brought the MP4 name to McLaren in 1981 having previously run an operation called Project Four Racing in Formula 2 and Formula 3. MP4 came to stand for ‘Marlboro Project 4’ after Dennis took over McLaren with finance from Marlboro chief Philip Morris. Following the tobacco giant’s exit from the team, it later came to stand for ‘McLaren Project 4′.
Had McLaren wanted to strictly return to the pre-Dennisian naming pattern, then the 2017 car should have been known as the M31. However, this may have sparked confusion given the 2016 car was called the MP4-31, perhaps reasoning the decision to christen it MCL32.
McLaren is set to officially unveil the MCL32 car on February 24, with some kind of revival of its historic orange livery expected as part of the ongoing changes at Woking following Dennis’ departure.
Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Vettel are the two most decorated drivers currently on the Formula 1 grid, with seven World Championships between them (four for Vettel, and three for Hamilton).
However, their paths have rarely crossed on the track, and only in 2010 did both drivers battle each for a World Championship in the same year. They also battled Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber that year, with Vettel emerging on top to claim his first World Championship.
However, the 2017 season sees Hamilton and Vettel in the two best cars on the grid, and they have gone head-to-head multiple times already this year, with each claiming two victories through the first five races. Currently, Vettel leads Hamilton 104-98 in the world championship, and the two men are developing a strong on-track rivalry.
Monaco Grand Prix coverage continues with FP3 and qualifying on Saturday. Full times are linked here.
In Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, we take you behind the scenes during F1 superstar Fernando Alonso’s qualifying runs for the Indy 500, including when he was on the pole for a brief period. He’ll eventually start fifth.
On Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, Parker Kligerman and his backseat driver, Kyle Petty, took to the iRacing simulator to make a mock run around Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.
They look at the challenges of IMS, as well as the challenges two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso will face in the first oval track race in his illustrious career. Alonso is among the favorites in the race and will take the green flag from the middle of Row 2 (fifth position).
Check out the above video.
Sunday is the biggest day of the year in motorsports, starting in the morning with Formula 1’s legendary Monaco Grand Prix.
Then, at Noon ET, it’s the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The final part of the tripleheader of racing is NASCAR’s longest race of the season, the 400-lap, 600-mile Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Newly-named NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018 inductee Ken Squier gives you a great primer for what promises to be a memorable day around the world (see video above).