McLaren International’s domination of Formula One is unique. By the eleventh round of the series at Spa, it had already taken the Manufacturers’ World Championship with record points. Commenting last month on the achievements of the McLaren-Hondas, DSJ recalled other dominant makes from the past, up to the Alfa Romeo 158s.
It started before that, of course. In the beginning it seemed that nothing would beat Panhard-Levassor, and in 1912-13 Peugeot, with its new-fangled twin-cam multi-valve engines (we have come full-circle!) was supreme, but then there were fewer major races so it was less apparent. After World War One came that string of wins by the invincible Talbot-Darracq voiturettes and at the time of the Brooklands British Grand Prix the Delage team won the Constructors’ Championship (ten years afterwards Dick Seaman had his run of victories in the same kind of Delage against the new ERAs, a sort of confirmation of future exploits of vintage cars in their own field).
Back to McLaren-Honda, you might have been saddened or relieved by the misfortunes which befell it at Monza, shattering dreams of a full season unbeaten, but at least they proved that in motor racing there is no such thing as a foregone conclusion.