The McLaren MP4-27 was the quickest car on average during the 2012 season but a series of problems kept the team and its drivers from enjoying championship success.
In particular a string of retirements late in the season cost Lewis Hamilton win in Singapore and Abu Dhabi. A one-two finish was on the cards at Monza until Jenson Button dropped out of second place with a fuel pressure problem.
It was a disappointing end to a season which had started promisingly with front-row lock-outs in Australia and Malaysia, and a victory for Button in Melbourne.
McLaren were quick to exploit the potential of using the Coanda effect to create an exhaust exit which directed gasses into the diffuser, boosting downforce. In a closely-fought season the MP4-27 was often the benchmark on pure performance.
Its distinctive drooped nose was replaced by a higher version early in the year and this was followed by a dip in performance, partly owing to the car’s shortcomings in wet conditions. Another exhaust upgrade at the German Grand Prix restored the team to its previous level of competitiveness.
The team had seven wins by the end of the season – as many as champions Red Bull. But persistent dropped scores due to technical failures and other misfortunes saw them fall to third in the constructors’ championship behind Ferrari despite back-to-back wins in the final two races.
Image © McLaren/Hoch Zwei