McLaren F1 M14

1970 - Chassis M14-A/2

McLaren F1 M14

Despite Denny Hulme’s victory at the Mexican GP, the 1969 season had been a disappointment, with the 4-wheel-drive M9A proving to be an expensive red herring. For 1970, McLaren introduced the M14A, designed by Jo Marquart who had been responsible for the M9A. The new car had revised front suspension and more fuel capacity but was otherwise very similar to the M7C. An M14D derivative was also built for the Alfa Romeo V8 that Autodelta were touting.

Chassis 2 was destined to be Hulme’s regular car and he started the season with an encouraging second place at the South African GP. He was then third at the Race of Champions, qualified on the front row in Spain and at Silverstone, and was fourth at Monaco. But in the break between Monaco and the next race at Spa, the team’s season was turned upside down. Firstly Hulme’s hands were badly burnt during qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 and then Bruce McLaren was killed in a testing accident the 2nd of June. The shattered team skipped the Belgian GP a few days later, returning for the Dutch race on the 21st of June. Hulme’s hands hadn’t mended so Peter Gethin drove M14A/2 for this race. The young Englishman in his debut Grand Prix, understeered into a bank on lap 19, emerging unhurt but damaging M14A/2 sufficiently that the tub had to be scrapped. Hulme transferred to the M14D while M14A/2 was rebuilt with a new monocoque in time for the German GP at the start of August. The new tub incorporated heaver gauge 16 swg and 18 swg alloy skins instead of the usual 20 sag material. The change was mainly for safety purposes, as it added slightly to the weight of the tub.

Still driving with considerable pain, Hulme managed podium finishes at the Nürburgring and Mexico City, but otherwise it was a very disappointing end to a promising season. 1970 was the first season that McLaren had gone without a victory for three years.

A new M19A was ready for Hulme in 1971 but Gethin was left with the stock of M14As for the early part of the year. He drove M14A/2 to second place at the Spring Trophy at Oulton Park in April and the Rothmans International Trophy at Silverstone in May after which it was used by Jackie Oliver at the British and Italian GPs. The M14A was finally redundant and was quickly acquired by Can-Am and Formula 5000 Privateer to use in F5000. It was fitted with a 5-litre Chevrolet V8 and used by Dean in both British and American F5000 racing but proved surprisingly uncompetitive. At the end of the year, Dean sold the car to club racer Willie Wood who used it mainly for libra racing at Croft but he found the car off the pace even at that level and sold it on to Johnny Blades in June who quickly moved it on to Ian Ward Racing in August for Allan Kayes to drive in F5000 again. A season and a half of tragically poor results followed, after which the car moved through three other short-term owners before being acquired by Johnty Williamson for sprint events in 1977. Even there, the results were poor and Johnty sold it to Chris Stewart in mid-1979. After passing through the hands of a couple of wheeler dealers, it moved to the US in 1985 when bought by Warren Sankey and was extensively rebuilt in 1987 by Phil Reilly and refitted with a DFV engine for new owner Jim Stollenwerck to run in vintage racing. It passed to Dick James a year later and stayed with him until sold back to England in the mid-1990s.