IN BRUCE McLaren’s day, the new miracle material for constructing chassis was Mallite, a composite sandwich of balsa wood and sheet aluminium-alloy.
McLaren’s first GP winner (below) was more conventional, but chassis materials would be the re-making of the team.
Its foray into carbonfibre came via former Brabham mechanic Ron Dennis, by then heading the Project Four team that dominated F2 and F3. With ambitions of F1, Dennis hired designer John Barnard, who was convinced carbonfibre was the material of the future. Marlboro, sponsor of both McLaren and Project Four, engineered a merger. The Dennis/ Barnard vision of carbonfibre arrived in the MP4/1 of 1981 and F1 was revolutionised.