McLaren MP4-27 Steering Wheel (2012)
Driven by Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, the respective 2008 and 2009 world champions, the MP4-27 was McLaren’s challenger for the 2012 FIA Formula 1 World Championship® season. Despite being an evolution of the previous season’s multiple race-winning MP4-26, the MP4-27 was substantially revised from the ground up. The car featured a more tightly waisted rear bodywork which improved air flow to the rear of the car, and a revised cooling system. FIA regulations to clampdown on blown diffusers, with exhausts exiting close to the car's floor, ensured that the MP4-26’s distinctive U-shaped sidepods were redesigned and replaced with a far more conventional layout. McLaren’s new exhaust layout was very effective and later copied by numerous teams on the grid. The MP4-27 was only one of three cars on the grid to not feature the notorious “platypus” stepped nose, instead featuring a more aesthetically pleasing, gradually sloped nose.
The MP4-27 demonstrated early promise in testing and this followed into the first race of the season, as Hamilton and Button locked out the front row after qualifying in Australia. Hamilton would go on to finish third whilst Button would win the race, despite team principal Martin Whitmarsh's admission that the team had made a mistake in calculating Button's fuel load, which forced him to enter a "severe fuel-saving mode" eight laps into the race. Another qualifying front row lockout followed in Malaysia, though Hamilton could only salvage a podium after an eventful and frustrating race for McLaren. As their rivals started to show their pace, the team still managed to secure a double podium in China, with Button and Hamilton finishing behind Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg.
The MP4-27’s performance advantage started to wane after China and the rest of the season became particularly testing. Podiums eluded the team in Bahrain, Spain and Monaco before victory for Hamilton in Canada. Two modest performances in Valencia and Silverstone followed, and while upgrades for the German Grand Prix improved performance, reliability became an issue. The MP4-27 would go on to retire five times from mechanical issues after the upgrades, despite having had no retirements in the first nine races of the season. Hamilton, in what would prove to be his last season at McLaren, took the chequered flag in Hungary, Italy and the penultimate race of the season in the USA. Button would score two second place podium finishes in Germany and Singapore and take victory in Belgium as well as at the last race of the season in Brazil.
McLaren ultimately finished the 2012 season in third place with 378 points – the MP4-27 securing seven wins in 20 races. Despite the raw speed that was showcased by the 35 per cent win rate and eight pole positions, the car didn’t achieve its potential, largely due to mechanical failures.
This fine scale model is a full-size collector’s replica of the McLaren MP4-27 steering wheel from the 2012 season, as piloted by McLaren duo Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, complete with working buttons, switches and paddles. This replica has been hand-crafted utilising the original CAD data supplied directly by McLaren Racing and has undergone strict scrutiny by both the design and engineering teams to ensure complete accuracy in both weight and look and feel.