About the Car
MP4/1C is the second to last revision of the original MP4/1 design which was used from 1981 until 1983.
McLaren began their 1983 season with the C variant. Still powered by the naturally aspirated Cosworth DFV - like half of the grid then. This season's technological narrative was no longer ground effect design, but turbocharging taking over natural aspiration after multiple years of struggle.
The season started well. John Watson was able to win at Long Beach in an almost last to first scenario. Niki Lauda finished second after finishing third at Jacarepaguá. Otherwise the season was patchy with retired cars, a did-not-qualify from both and only two more podiums.
In the latter half of the season, Lauda forced McLaren's hand to adopt the still work in progress turbocharged TAG/Porsche engine. MP4/1 was not designed for it so reluctantly designer John Barnard had to hack together the final E revision.
As one might guess, this did not go well. McLaren didn't finish in all, but one of the remaining races. And even then it was only Lauda in 11th.
MP4/1C was McLaren's last Cosworth DFV car. An engine which powered much of F1 from late 60s to early 80s. It managed to fight back to new turbo power to some degree, but it became clear that the old faithful was not long for F1.
Image credit: John Chapman CC.