McLaren confirms 2017 F1 car name, ends MP4 pattern

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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.

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.