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.