McLaren MP4/11

McLaren MP4/11

by Luca Dal Monte

The project is led by Neal Oatley, Paddy Lowe, and Steve Nichols. However, the McLaren MP4/11 fails to resolve the serious technical and competitive impasse into which the Woking team has fallen after the departure of Ayrton Senna. Sixteen races contested, 0 wins, 0 pole positions, 0 fastest laps in races. Just like the previous season. And the one before that. At McLaren, it’s time for new faces at the design table—or rather, in front of the computers. But the arrival of Adrian Newey is still to come.

Technically, the chassis of the MP4/11 is entirely made of carbon fiber with a honeycomb structure. Regarding aerodynamics, the nose remains raised, and the sidepods are substantially revised. But the most interesting novelty is the double rear wing—the second, smaller one positioned above the engine cover. However, it proves to be of little use.

McLaren MP4/11 Image 1


Mika Hakkinen: The Finn is in his fourth season with McLaren, and his results – certainly not due to his own faults – have been declining. Dealing with a car with significant limitations, Hakkinen does what he can. In the first part of the season, he manages to stay afloat thanks to various points-scoring finishes – the best result being fourth place at Interlagos. In the latter part of the year, with a car that is slowly improving, Mika steps onto the third step of the podium four times, at Silverstone, Spa, Monza, and Suzuka.

David Coulthard: 1996 marks the first season in McLaren for the young Scottish driver, who the previous year secured his first Formula 1 victory behind the wheel of a Williams. His season is marked by several retirements but also by two podium finishes. With a second place in Monte Carlo, he secures the best seasonal result for McLaren and the best performance ever for the MP4/11 model. Coulthard finally steps onto the third step of the podium at the European Grand Prix held at the German Nürburgring circuit.

Our model cars:

McLaren MP4/11 Image 2

Like all cars of the 1996 season, the sides of the cockpit are raised to protect the driver’s head, as prescribed by the new regulations that come into effect this year. The engine is the 75° V10 provided for the second season by Mercedes. It’s lighter but bulkier than the model from the previous year.

The MP4/11 is the last McLaren car with the classic and iconic white and red livery with which the English team has appeared on the race tracks since the 1974 season. Marlboro signs a contract with Ferrari and leaves McLaren after over twenty years, 9 Drivers’ World Championship titles, and 7 Constructors’ World Championship titles.

McLaren MP4/11 Image 3