On May 22 1966, Bruce McLaren started a Formula 1 race in a chassis bearing his own name for the very first time. The overweight and under-prepared M2B car only lasted nine laps before retiring with an oil leak, but the New Zealander had made his mark. The McLaren name would go on to become one of Formula 1 racing’s most enduring and competitive marques so far, winning grands prix and world championships for legendary drivers Emerson Fittipaldi, James Hunt, Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen and Lewis Hamilton.
In May 2016, 50 years later, McLaren once again heads to Monte-Carlo – the scene of the team’s debut – to mark its 50th anniversary in grand prix racing, celebrating the milestone with a host of online and social content that looks back at Monaco ’66 and the team’s incredible legacy. Central to the campaign is an online film presented by McLaren’s corporate partner, luxury watch-making brand Richard Mille. The film charts some of the pivotal moments in the team’s history – it kicks off at one of our earliest factories, a humble south London workshop, before following the tragedy of Bruce’s premature death in 1970, and the incredible successes in the 1970s and ’80s that established McLaren as one of F1’s most pre-eminent constructors.
Fernando Alonso: “I grew up watching McLaren racing in Formula 1 – those memories are part of who I am; they mark a point in my life that I’ll always remember fondly. To be racing in Monaco on the 50th anniversary of McLaren’s very first grand prix will be a powerful and inspiring feeling for me. It’s hard to believe that the whole team in Monaco back in 1966 comprised only six people – including Bruce and his wife! – but it’s proof of how much you can grow and develop something with sheer passion and determination. I will feel extremely proud wearing my McLaren-Honda overalls at Monaco on Sunday”.
Jenson Button: “McLaren is part of the very fabric of grand prix racing, and it’s appropriate and fitting that the team celebrates its 50th anniversary in Formula 1 in Monte-Carlo – the very place at which Bruce McLaren contested the team’s first-ever race, back in 1966. Despite its roots in New Zealand, McLaren feels like the quintessential British grand prix team – it’s been based in the UK for its entire lifetime – half a century – and has a set of values and sense of sporting fair-play unlike any other team in Formula 1″.