McLaren's 1981 MP4 - later renamed the MP4/1 - is one of a handful of cars which can legitimately be claimed to have changed the face of Formula 1. Its sequel was naturally less revolutionary - but ultimately proved to be far more successful as visionary designer John Barnard rigorously eliminated the shortcomings of the original.
With the MP4/1, Barnard not only made full carbonfibre construction de rigueur if you wanted to be competitive in F1, he also definitively swept aside a number of cherished garage traditions.
For years Barnard had been vexed that mechanics were responsible for fabricating various elements of the car, such as wing brackets and so on; it was craftsmanship, yes, but it was also impinging on an area Barnard considered to be the designer's bailiwick. The MP4/1 was a turning point on the road to the supremacy of the design office, a state of affairs in which no element of the car is not ?the subject of dozens of carefully optimised CAD prescriptions.