Through the years, the sport of
auto racing has become popular worldwide. In America, NASCAR is the dominant auto racing league, with drivers becoming household names for their success on the circuit.
Internationally, though, Formula 1 is the name most racing fans are familiar with.
Like NASCAR, Formula 1 has a rich history, and a number of the cars that drivers have raced have become iconic vehicles in
car history. Formula 1 aficionados, you’re sure to recognize some of these iconic cars.
What do some people call Formula 1’s best car of all time?
Goodwood Road & Racinggives us a look at these notable vehicles, one of which is the McLaren-Honda MP4/4. The publication calls it "statistically, the best F1 car of all time."
In the 1988 season, the MP4/4 won 15 of 16 races while being driven by Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna. The one race that was lost was the Italian Grand Prix, which was won by Ferrari–appropriately so, as it was the weekend following the death of Enzo Ferrari.
The MP4/4 came near the end of Formula 1's first turbo era, and it was McLaren's first step toward domination on the circuit. The car used a Honda V6 engine, and the chassis built around it proved to be too much for rivals to deal with.
A Formula 1 king, the Ferrari F2002
Ferrari dominated Formula 1 in the first half of the 2000s, and the differentiation between the cars was the year in the model number. The 2002 model is usually seen as the best of the pack, just edging out the 2004 version. Both years' vehicles won 15 times, but the 2002 needed one fewer race in which to achieve success.
The F2002 was powered by a 3.0-liter V10 engine so it wasn't the most powerful car on the track, but it didn't need to be. It had top-of-the-line handling, with an innovative clutchless gearbox that was so small that it could be packaged in virtually any way the designer wanted it. That extra aerodynamic design delayed the F2002's release, and it wasn't used until the third race of the 2002 season, winning 14 of 15 races that year and an additional one early in the 2003 season.
The long-haul winner: the Lotus 72
Goodwood calls the Lotus 72 "a special racing car." Its 20 victories don’t seem to be too impressive until you know that they came over the course of five seasons.
More impressive are the three Constructors' Championships and two Drivers' Championships the Lotus 72 won over the course of six seasons. It was considered an innovative machine at launch, with inboard brakes, side-mounted radiators, and an overhead air intake.
Even its design was different from what F1 fans were used to. Instead of the usual cigar-shaped body, the Lotus 72 had a wedge shape inspired by the pure-wedge look of the Lotus 56 IndyCar.
Debuting during the 1970 season, the Lotus 72 was retired in its first race but then earned four straight victories in the next set of competitions. The car's final victories were during the 1974 season, giving it a longevity few F1 cars have experienced.
In fact, the Lotus 72 holds the record for most time between a first win and final win for a Formula 1 chassis, and being competitive for five seasons is virtually unheard of.
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