Spotlight on the season: McLaren in 2014
2014 was a transitional year for McLaren, yet one still filled with great battles and exciting moments both on and off track. On the eve of our new partnership with Honda, we’ve compiled a selection of our favourite moments from the 2014 F1 season:
Launch of the MP4-29
A cold and frosty winter morning in Woking wasn’t the most obvious place to find a brand new Formula 1 car, but it was on Friday 24 January that the McLaren MP4-29 was revealed to the world. Following the biggest revolution in technical regulations for decades, it featured a 1.6-litre V6 Mercedes power unit and a host of cutting-edge integrated technologies, including turbo-charging and Energy Recovery Systems (ERS).
A spectacular start to the season for Kev – he finished third on his F1 debut in Melbourne, and was later promoted to second following Daniel Ricciardo's exclusion. His was the best rookie debut for 18 years.
In the picturesque glamour of the Cote d’Azur, Kevin mastered the notoriously tricky, winding streets of Monte-Carlo for the first time, out-qualifying his team-mate to start eighth on the grid and seriously impressing some notable former world champions in the process.
In Montreal, scene of his epic rain-soaked charge to victory in 2011, Jenson posted a superbly aggressive performance from ninth to fourth in one of the most exciting and dramatic races of the year. It was an extremely encouraging result for the team after a tricky start to the season.
In the spring, Formula 1 returned to Austria for the first time in 11 years. Set in the heart of the stunning Styrian mountains, Spielberg was the setting for a cracking race, and is sure to be a firm F1 favourite for years to come.
At his home grand prix, Jenson pulled off a stunning lap to qualify third on the grid – his best starting position for his home race since 2005. Meanwhile, the grandstands (and the whole McLaren team) turned #PinkForPapa in memory of Jenson’s much-loved father, John.
Monza, the fastest racetrack on the calendar and a circuit that oozes history and legend. Kev qualified a superb fifth on his first time out at the track, and enjoyed another spirited tussle in the race, eventually claiming 10th at the chequer.
Under the bright lights and glamorous backdrop of Singapore’s Marina Bay, Kev showed his Viking spirit in the toughest race of his career so far. He battled extreme temperatures in an over-heating cockpit to bring the car home in 10th position and pick up a well-deserved point for the team.
Suzuka saw the introduction of some key upgrades to the MP4-29 and, in turn, a much-needed boost in performance for the team. Jenson finished fifth, a turning point in a difficult season so far, and the beginning of an upward trend that led to five top-five finishes for the team in the last five races of the season.
McLaren’s first time out at the brand-new Sochi Autodrom was a memorable one, with Jenson and Kevin finishing in fourth and fifth – McLaren’s best result of the year after Australia. The team’s efforts were rewarded with 22 points and provided the crucial jump ahead of Force India to establish fifth in the constructors’ standings.
The culmination of a lot of hard work by the whole team – both at the track and back at Woking – plus superb tyre management by Jenson saw him cross the line in fifth place, securing his third top five finish in four races.
With the bit once more between his teeth, Jenson again drove a terrific race to come home fifth at the stunning Yas Marina Circuit. Double points in the season’s finale meant his efforts secured McLaren’s fifth position in the championship.
Abu Dhabi test
Breaking cover publicly for the first time during the test session at Abu Dhabi at the end of the 2014 season, the debut run for the interim MP4-29H/1X1 was a proud moment for the whole team, and it launched a new era for the historic McLaren-Honda partnership.
McLaren-Honda 2015 driver announcement
A quiet morning in December on the Boulevard at MTC made way for the buzz of the most talked-about announcement of the year. Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button were announced as the drivers to begin the new McLaren-Honda era for 2015, with Kevin Magnussen staying in the McLaren family to become our test and reserve driver.