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McLaren 2009
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Special feature

How McLaren revitalised a hybrid lemon into an F1 history-maker

This year's MCL60 isn’t the first
F1 car McLaren has transformed
from a hopeless prospect to a race winner. In 2009, the Woking team went from semi-regular Q1 elimination to becoming the first KERS-equipped team to claim a grand prix victory with hybrid power, as STUART CODLING explains

Out of the gate, the car that would become Formula 1’s first hybrid-powered grand prix winner looked peculiar and was embarrassingly slow. When the MP4-24 pulled out of McLaren’s garage at the Autodromo do Algarve on a wet January morning in 2009, rival engineers rolled their eyes when they clocked it was sporting
an incongruous 2008-spec rear wing – all the more noticeable given the impact of the
sweeping rule changes F1 was adopting.

“The track is so wet we need all the downforce we can get,” explained the team’s chief spin doctor, former GP Racing editor Matt Bishop. Nice try, Bish.

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