Guess Why The McLaren F1 Has A Central Driving Position

It’s been 25 years since McLaren first hit the road with the legendary F1 supercar, which makes now as fitting a time as any to look back on the mark it made on the automotive scene. And who better to reflect on it than the vehicle’s designer?

Gordon Murray started out as a Formula One engineer, working for Brabham before switching to McLaren. In the early 90s, though, he took on the new challenge of designing a road car, and the McLaren F1 is what resulted.

A quarter-century later, the F1’s performance has long since been surpassed – although not by many, mind you. What survives is the groundbreaking innovation that went into it – and that unforgettable driving position at the middle of the 1+2 cockpit. It’s something that none of its successors have successfully emulated, which all on its own would be enough to leave the F1 in a category all on its own.

But why did they do it? To better feel the vehicle’s inertia as it rotated around its axis? To offer a better view of the road ahead? It does all that, but none of those are why Murray pursued that unusual layout. Instead, as you can see and hear for yourself straight from the proverbial lion’s mouth, it comes down to something seemingly much more benign: pedal positioning. (That’s right, pedal positioning.)


  • kachuks

    F it, I’ll wear this shirt.

    • Random stranger

      I think it’s from “James May” personal collection. Quite rare actually.

    • JM

      Good thing he is an engineer and not a designer.

  • Six_Tymes

    sports car perfection.

  • Callanish

    That man gets to wear any shirt he wants and will still get all the respect.

  • Antas37


  • Kash

    See I would’ve said something like them trying to save cost by not having to build LHD and RHD models.

    • hahaha, not sure cost savings was even in their mind.

      • cargeniuass

        Especially with the gold insulation they used for the engine bay.

  • Power by BMW ,))

    • Chris C

      I wonder if McLaren would rather have BMW engines in the back of their F1 cars these days – be one in the eye for Mercedes if nothing else….

      Gordon Murray, the Callum brothers, Gerry McGovern – there seems to be a generation of brilliant British car designers that is not being repeated?

      • Michael webber

        Gordon Murray is South African . The Callum brothers are Scottish

      • Michael webber

        Gordon Murray is South African. The Callum brothers are Scottish

      • Bmw back then was the only one constructor that can make a special engine for them !

  • Jorge Teixeira

    “Groundbreaking innovation”? Clearly the article’s author never heard of the Ferrari 365 P from 1966…

    • Six_Tymes

      good point

  • Blade t

    Such a great car….

  • disqus_83g6mJmr6l

    the F1 is what a NEW AGE bugatti should have been,really