The 1997 season marked the dramatic changes in Mclaren F1 team – at least in the appearance of the cars. New silver livery was launched to celebrate the team’s new sponsorship deal with West, replacing the red and white of Marlboro that the team had used since 1974. Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard continue to race for McLaren as in 1996. The start of the season was very promising – Coulthard won the first round of the Championship in Australia, McLaren’s first win since 1993. But then the engine reliability became the major problem. Failures of Mercedes-Benz V10 engine, supplied by the German company for the third year, cost at least several wins to McLaren team. Hakkinen retired 3 times when leading the race – all from engine troubles, and the epic fail was Luxembourg Grand Prix at Nurburgring where one-two finish was lost when both cars retired with identical failures within a lap. Nevertheless, Coulthard won in Italy and Hakkinen scored the only season’s win in the last race of the season in European Grand Prix at Estoril. In the final Drivers’ standings of the season Coulthard was 3rd (after Michael Schumacer was excluded from the results of the Drivers Championship) , and Hakkinen 6th. The team eventually finished fourth in the Constructors’ Championship, with 63 points.
|David Coulthard||10||West McLaren Mercedes|
Why does the MP4/12 model not have the “West” lettering on the sides and rear spoiler??
It’s because of the ban on tobacco advertising introduced by the European Council since 1989. In the 1997 season in three F1 championship races (French, British and German Grand Prixs) tobacco-sponsored teams had to use non-tobacco liveries. McLaren used livery represented in this model in non-tobacco races that season.
Another reason is that scale model manufactures is also forced to follow anti-tobacco regulations (at least in Europe). Minichamps, as a rule, produced the F1 models in non-tobacco variants, while Spark usually have separate tobacco decals supplied with the model.