You hate to see it.
Mid-2000’s was some of the best years for F1, particularly because of those screaming V10s, so, why would someone in their right mind send such a beautiful piece of engineering to the salvage yard? I’ve only recently come across a tragic yet logical video (slide show really) from eight years ago showing the enormous jaws of a wrecking claw ripping up a Mercedes-McLaren Formula 1 car like a forked through pulled pork.
After reading the caption I understood why they did what they did but it doesnt make it any less gut wrenching.
Here’s the video.
Long story short, McLaren did not want anyone getting at their intellectual property or the IP of other companies no matter how old it is, even though it’s been a full decade after the 2002 race season.
And here’s a quote from the wrecking yard themselves when they found out they’d be crushing a multi-million dollar car, wheels and all.
Our partner Kiesow Autorecycling was allowed to scrap an original Formula 1 racing car by David Coulthard from the 2002 season.
An F1 racing car, an excavator and a weight of 3 tons … !!!
This car was stored in a hall. The hall was rented by Mclaren. After a few years, Mclaren decided that the car’s condition was not good enough for a museum. So the reason for scrapping the car was the technology which was installed. Many protected patents from different manufacturers make it impossible to sell the car.
PS: It was not our decision to scrap the car – McLaren Mercedes gave us this …! We weren’t allowed to leave ANYTHING intact …; ((
The F1 car being crushed, the MP4-17, has an interesting bit of history. Although the MP4-17 suffered many engine failures, Mclaren-Mercedes still managed a third place in the constructers championship. With a reliable Mercedes V10 and with the one-two punch of Raikkonen and Coultard, McLaren-Mercedes could’ve easily been second, one-upping Williams-BMW, nevermind Ferrari.
As fate would have it, although McLaren-Mercedes wanted to use their highly developed MP4-18 for the 2003 season, setbacks in crash testing and initial reliability forced Mercedes to further develop their old car, the MP4-17, the one being crushed. Even though their 2003 season car, the MP4-17D was arguably slower than the top field, thanks to the driving skill of mostly Kimi Raikkonen, Mercedes-McLaren missed out on a second-place overall constructers finish by just two points.
The MP4-17, although highly modified for the MP4-17D, was such a competitive chassis. If this MP4-17D had a more reliable engine, Raikkonen surely could’ve snagged first away from Michael Schumacher.
Relegated to gather dust in a McLaren hall with thoughts of what could’ve been, perhaps that’s what pushed McLaren to have it crushed rather than mothballing it. Third best in constructers championships and a close second place overall finish for Raikkonen are just not good enough.
Add that, to make this car a possibility, several technologies from many companies made signing off on this car to the auctions all but impossible.
So, its fate was sealed long before it rolled into that McLaren hall for display. It’s just sad to see something so state-of-the art turned into dust in a matter of minutes.