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Car and Driver: McLaren Boss Denies Rumors of a New F1


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McLaren F1


You can’t escape your past. McLaren Automotive is a very different company from the one that produced the original F1 supercar more than 20 years ago, one that today produces a range of cars and employs a staff of more than 1000. Yet it’s fair to say that none of the company’s modern lineup has yet acquired the iconic status enjoyed by the F1, the fastest car in the world when it was introduced and still one of the most desirable megacars. So when British magazine Autocar published a story earlier this week asserting that the company is working on a modern successor to the F1, a car that will share its predecessor’s three-seat layout and central driving position, it created a stir.


Unsurprisingly, when journalists got a chance to speak to McLaren boss Mike Flewitt at the company’s financial results meeting, it wasn’t long before he was asked about it.


“I’m really not going to comment on that article,” said Flewitt, after jokingly suggesting that he would replace McLaren’s design department with Autocar’s rendering artists.


But when pressed, he admitted that customers do frequently request a modern take on the F1.


“You get asked all the time,” he said. “I regularly get asked for three seats and a V-12 and a manual gearbox. I just don’t think there’s a real business case to do one of those.”


Flewitt also referenced Jaguar’s decision to build a continuation run of Lightweight E-types. “I haven’t got six VIN numbers in my bottom drawer that we forgot to use,  either,” he said. “People often hark back to things that they’ve loved, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right thing to do now.


“We loved the F1, but we’re not going to make another one.”


Which is undoubtedly true, but on closer reading, the Autocar story didn’t suggest that McLaren was going to reproduce anything close to a replica of the F1—rather, a modern homage to it that would be “the fastest GT car yet built, as opposed to a super sports car chasing outright performance.”


For its part, Autocar isn’t backing down. Jim Holder, Autocar’s editorial director and the original author, told us: “I’m entirely confident in the story. It’s well sourced and verified, and a scout around dealer comments and forums should leave anyone questioning its veracity in no doubt about its truth. There are customers and potential customers out there openly discussing the car as described.”


Come on, McLaren, just build it.


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