The MP4/21 is a Formula One car built for use in the 2006 season. It continues the line of McLaren’s MP4/x range, and is often remembered for its bold chrome livery combined with bold red stripes. The livery was designed with the team’s new sponsor at the time, Emirates, in mind. It also contained an idiosyncratic needle-nose design, which had previously been used on McLaren’s MP4/19, back in 2004.
After eleven years of partnership with Ilmor as their engine builders, McLaren switched to Mercedes-Benz, and so the MP4/21 was the first McLaren car to be solely powered by Mercedes-Benz engines.
The car started the 2006 season with drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya at the wheels, but after a mere few races, it was evident the MP4/21 wasn’t and probably wouldn’t ever be as competitive as its predecessor, the MP4/20. Even though the MP4/21 was allegedly more reliable than its ancestor, it was hugely let down by the underpowered Mercedes engines. For the first time since 1996, McLaren didn’t win a single race all season, with their highest finish being second-place finishes for Kimi Raikkonen in Australia and Italy and one runner-up finish for Juan Pablo Montoya in Monaco.