HISTORY OF McLAREN
TIME LINE - THE 2000s
Once again, team, engine builder and drivers retained stability, the driver pairing becoming the longest ever in Grand Prix racing during the year. There was no doubt that speed was there, with the drivers and test driver Olivier Panis frequently showing fastest in testing.
With Mika Hakkinen on pole for the first three races, and teammate Coulthard alongside him in the first two, that was certainly never in doubt, but both drivers failed to finish in Australia due to pneumatic valve failure. Hakkinen suffered engine failure in the second race, and Coulthard was disqualified, so with Michael Schumacher leading the two McLarens home in the third race, the Ferrari driver had a huge advantage.
But then the advantage turned: Coulthard won in England, Hakkinen in Spain, Coulthard in Monaco and then again in France. In Austria, Hakkinen began the fight back, leading home his teammate, while Hakkinen won in Hungary and superbly in Belgium where he took the championship lead.
Unfortunately, a mechanical failure at Indianapolis virtually ended his chances. A superb race to second in the damp of Japan wasn't enough, but Coulthard's late race challenge in Malaysia could not make up for two penalties in the last three races. Second was the position in both Championships.
Drivers' Championship: 2nd, Hakkinen, 89 pts; 3rd, Coulthard, 73pts
In 2001, the Team McLaren Mercedes pairing of Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard were joined by Alexander Wurz, who was announced as the team’s test driver.
Michael Schumacher won the first two races of the season, however Coulthard fought back in Brazil and a few days after his 30th birthday scored his first season win, however Hakkinen had a problem on the start grid and did not compete in the race.
In San Marino, Coulthard and Hakkinen lined up on the front row of the grid, marking the team’s 50th one-two qualifying result, while Coulthard finished on the second step of the podium with Hakkinen fourth. At the Spanish Grand Prix, Hakkinen retired on the final lap of the race with mechanical failure.
Coulthard scored his second win of the season in Austria, while Hakkinen had to wait until the British Grand Prix, one of the Team McLaren Mercedes teams’ home races, to taste the victor’s champagne.
At the Italian Grand Prix in September, Hakkinen announced that he would be taking a year’s sabbatical from Formula 1 in a career which included a pair of Drivers’ Championship in 1998 and 1999, 20 Grand Prix victories, 26 pole positions, 25 fastest laps and 420 points. The Finn won the following race at Indianapolis, which would ultimately be the final win of his Formula 1 career.
Coulthard finished his season with two podium positions – third in the US and Japan and secured second position in the drivers championships. Hakkinen finished the season fifth.
Drivers’ Championship: 2nd, Coulthard 65 pts; 5th, Hakkinen, 37pts
David Coulthard and Alex Wurz were joined at Team McLaren Mercedes in 2002 by young Finnish star and new signing, Kimi Raikkonen, who made an immediate impression by scoring his first podium position at the season’s first race, where he finished third at the Australian Grand Prix.
David finished third in Brazil, the Scot moving up to fourth place overall in the Drivers’ World Championship after scoring another six points for third place at the Spanish Grand Prix. However, Spain proved to be a disappointing weekend for Kimi who retired from the race.
David finished sixth in Austria, then came the highlight of the year, the Monaco Grand Prix which secured David his 12th Formula 1 career victory, and the celebratory champagne for Team McLaren Mercedes. Fastest during free practice in Canada, David finished second, with Kimi finishing fourth, after the Finn made an excellent overtaking manoeuvre on Ralf Schumacher at turn one.
Kimi returned to the podium at the next race, the European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring securing third place, the only Team McLaren Mercedes finisher after David retired on lap 37 following an incident with Juan Pablo Montoya at the first corner.
Kimi scored the highest finish of his career at the Mobil 1 French Grand Prix, driving a superb race to finish second overall, with David standing alongside him on the podium having finished third.
David finished fifth at the Mobil 1 German Grand Prix and the next race in Hungary, with Kimi fourth at the Hungaroring.
The Team McLaren Mercedes pairing ended the year upbeat with a pair of third places, David at the SAP USGP and Kimi at the Japanese Grand Prix.
Drivers’ Championship: 5th, Coulthard 41 points, 6th, Raikkonen 24 pts
The 2003 FIA Formula One World Championship began with the introduction of new rules, a new qualifying procedure, and ended in a nail biting climax at Suzuka.
Team McLaren Mercedes started the season with the appointment of new test driver Pedro de la Rosa, to supplement the work done by David, Kimi and Alex, and the team made a strong start in Australia, David scoring his 12th win for the team, followed by Kimi scoring his first Formula One victory in Malaysia, and taking the lead of the Drivers’ World Championship table.
The incident packed Brazilian Grand Prix saw Kimi eventually taking second place, with Giancarlo Fisichella awarded the victory. As the European season began, Kimi secured another podium in San Marino, with David finishing in fifth place. Spain however was disappointing for both drivers, ending in a double retirement.
In Austria, Kimi was second, with David finishing fifth, having moved up the field from 14th on the grid. There was another second place for Kimi in Monaco, while David finished sixth. The Scot retired in Canada with transmission failure, while Kimi finished sixth, having started from the pitlane after a mistake in Saturday qualifying.
The back-to-back European and Mobil 1 French Grands Prix, saw Kimi secure his first Formula 1 pole position (European GP), although the race ended in retirement for both drivers. David had a particularly difficult race in France, fuel rig failure on his second pitstop costing him time and dropping him down the race order. He finished fifth.
Kimi and David finished third and fifth respectively at the British Grand Prix, while David finished in a well-deserved second place at the Mobil 1 German Grand Prix.
Hungary, Italy, and the USGP gave Kimi another valuable 20 Drivers’ World Championship points, with fifth place the best result for David at the Hungaroring. Kimi was lying second in the Championship, nine points behind Michael Schumacher going into the final race of the season.
Kimi knew to become the Drivers’ World Champion he had to win in Japan, with Michael Schumacher finishing out of the points. Both Team McLaren Mercedes drivers drove fantastic races, and while they could not catch eventual race winner, Rubens Barrichello, two podium positions rounded off the end of what had been a fantastically close season.
Drivers’ Championship: 2nd, Raikkonen 91 pts, 7th, Coulthard 51 points
Model: MP4-19 & MP4-19B
The 2004 FIA Formula One World Championship began with the introduction of new regulations, which included the bottom five teams from the previous years championship being able to run a third car during Friday practice sessions. In addition there was a change to the qualifying format, which meant that two qualifying sessions would be held back to back on a Saturday for the duration of the season. In addition the 2004 calendar saw the inclusion of two new races in Bahrain and China, 18 races in total. Three sets of back to back grands prix, Monaco and Europe, Canada and the USA and France and Britain were scheduled over an eight week period.
The start of the season was a disappointing one for Team McLaren Mercedes. David finished eighth for the team in Australia and then sixth in Malaysia. An unsatisfactory inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix followed for the team with David and Kimi both retiring from the 57 lap race.
The first four European races saw Team McLaren Mercedes score only one point with Kimi finishing sixth at the San Marino Grand Prix.
Canada saw a turnaround in fortunes for the MP4-19 where Team McLaren Mercedes came away with a fifth place for Kimi and sixth place for David. The team moved on to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway one week later for the second back-to-back race of the season where Kimi and David finished the 73-lap incident filled United States Grand Prix in sixth and seventh positions respectively, scoring five points in the Constructors’ Championship.
The second half of the season saw an improvement in the competitiveness of Team McLaren Mercedes with the introduction of the revised 2004 car, the MP4-19B in France, where David achieved the third fastest time in qualifying and David and Kimi finished the 70-lap Mobil 1 French Grand Prix in sixth and seventh place respectively.
At the following race, the British Grand Prix, Kimi scored the third pole position of his career, finishing the race in second place. In addition David scored a further two points for the team with seventh place. The team scored five points at Hockenheim two weeks later with a fourth place for David and while Kimi set a new lap record and the fastest lap of the race; he was forced to retire with a rear wing failure.
Belgium returned to the calendar after a year’s absence, with the usual difficult weather conditions affecting running over the weekend. Qualifying took place in wet conditions that were constantly changing over the two hour period. As a result Team McLaren Mercedes drivers David and Kimi qualified in fourth and tenth positions respectively. However the race saw Kimi score his second Formula One career win after a superb performance and secured the team’s first victory of the season.
The following four races saw Team McLaren Mercedes accumulate a further 20 points with Kimi returning to the podium on two more occasions; at the inaugural Chinese Grand Prix he finished third and in Brazil where he came a very close second to 2005 team mate Juan Pablo Montoya with a gap of under one second. Brazil also marked the last race for David as a Team McLaren Mercedes driver, having competed in 150 races, with 12 wins and seven pole positions for the Woking based squad.
Drivers’ Championship: 7th, Raikkonen 45 pts, 9th, Coulthard 24 pts
The 2005 FIA Formula One World Championship marked the longest season in the sport’s history with 19 races and a new host venue, the Istanbul Speed Park, home to the Turkish Grand Prix.
Team McLaren Mercedes finished as runner-up in the Constructors’ Championship, with Kimi second in the Drivers’ Championship and Juan Pablo fourth. The MP4-20 was said by many observers to be the fastest car on the grid and there were some pretty impressive statistics set during the season including 10 race wins, 18 podiums and 12 fastest laps.
Australia marked Juan Pablo’s first race for the team, however heavy rain during the new aggregate qualifying sessions affected lap times with Kimi and his new team mate lining up in 9th and 10th place respectively on the grid. Kimi finished the race in eighth, with Juan Pablo sixth.
Malaysia was a tough race for Juan Pablo. Having qualified in 11th after a small mistake, he flatspotted a tyre in the early part of the race, causing significant vibration. He ended in a credible fourth place while a tyre failure for Kimi which was caused by a puncture pushed him down the field and he finished in 11th.
Bahrain marked the first podium position for Kimi and also Pedro’s race debut for the team, deputising for the injured Juan Pablo. Pedro battled hard in the closing stages of the race, finishing in fifth place.
At the San Marino Grand Prix it was Alex who was standing in for his injured team mate. The Austrian drove a controlled race to finish in third place, while Kimi, who had qualified in pole, was forced to retire due to mechanical failure.
Juan Pablo returned to racing action in Spain, with Kimi taking his second consecutive pole position. Kimi scored his first win of the season, finishing almost a minute ahead of second placed man Fernando Alonso. Juan Pablo, who had to make an additional pitstop after his fuel rig malfunctioned, finished in seventh.
Kimi made it two wins in a row at Monaco, with two perfect qualifying runs earning him his third consecutive pole position. Juan Pablo’s race was compromised by the stewards’ decision to delete his qualifying runs after a practice accident. He lined up 16th on the grid, however after a fantastic drive ended the race in fifth.
The European Grand Prix brought disappointment for Kimi, after he was forced to retire on the final lap with suspension failure whilst leading the race. This was due to a flatspotted tyre, the subsequent vibrations causing the failure. Juan Pablo finished the race in seventh. Kimi’s disappointment was short lived, as he took victory in the following race in Montreal. There was frustration for the team and Juan Pablo though, after he was black flagged and excluded after exiting the pitlane under a black flag. Juan Pablo had been leading the race when he was disqualified.
The French Grand Prix brought another podium finish for Kimi, followed by the British Grand Prix in which Juan Pablo scored his first win for the team. The Colombian went on to finish in second place in the Mobil 1 German Grand Prix, with Kimi taking the 10 championship points on offer in Hungary.
The inaugural Turkish Grand Prix was a double podium celebration, Kimi standing on the top step and Juan Pablo in third, with Juan Pablo scoring his second win at the following race, the Italian Grand Prix in early September.
Kimi made it two wins in a row at Spa-Francorchamps, and in Brazil McLaren celebrated its 40th one-two finish with Juan Pablo winning the race and Kimi in second. The Japanese Grand Prix marked Team McLaren Mercedes’ sixth consecutive victory, and will no doubt be long remembered for its fantastic overtaking manoeuvres, particularly Kimi’s move on Giancarlo Fisichella to take the victory on the final lap of the race.
The season came to a close in China where Kimi finished the Grand Prix in second place. Juan Pablo unfortunately hit a loose manhole cover and was forced to pit to repair a punctured tyre. He later retired with an engine failure.
Drivers’ Championship: 2nd, Raikkonen 112 pts, 4th, Montoya 60 pts, 17th, Wurz, 6pts, 19th, de la Rosa, 4pts
Mika Hakkinen in the 2000 MP4-15 David Coulthard in the 2001 MP4-16 David Coulthard at the 2002 Canadian Grand Prix Mika and David at the 2002 Belgian Grand Prix Kimi Raikkonen at the 2003 French Grand Prix David Coulthard at the 2003 British Grand Prix David and Kimi in the MP4-19 The MP4-19B debut at the 2004 French Grand Prix Juan Pablo wins the 2005 Italian Grand Prix Kimi wins the 2005 Japanese Grand Prix Kimi and Juan Pablo on the podium at the 2005 Turkish Grand Prix