The McLaren MP4/7A was McLaren International's Formula One entry for the 1992 season, and a follow-up to their successful MP4/6 from 1991. The Williams-Renault combination was getting faster and more reliable, and became a formidable challenger to McLaren's dominance. McLaren used the MP4/6 chassis, now designated MP4/6B for slightly modified front wing aerodynamics, for the first two races of 1992. The all-new MP4/7A was expected for the Spanish Grand Prix, the fourth race of the year. However, due to Williams' speed in pre-season testing, McLaren team principal Ron Dennis made the decision to bring the car out one race early, at the Brazilian Grand Prix. This was one month earlier than expected.
|Chassis||Carbon fibre monocoque|
|Suspension (front)||Double wishbones, pushrods|
|Suspension (rear)||Double wishbones, pushrods|
|Engine||Honda RA122-E, 3,493 cc (213.2 cu in), 75° V12 NA, mid-engine, longitudinally mounted|
|Transmission||McLaren transverse 6-speed semi-automatic|
|Notable entrants||Marlboro McLaren Honda|
|Notable drivers||1. Ayrton Senna|
2. Gerhard Berger
|Debut||1992 Brazilian Grand Prix|
This was the first McLaren to use a semi-automatic transmission; it was a McLaren-designed electro-hydraulic unit with semi-automatic activation. The team's technology partner Techniques d'Avant Garde (TAG) helped with development. This system allowed the driver to keep his foot on the pedal, without lifting from it, since the throttle cable was replaced with an electronic sensor. It also controlled engine speed automatically during gear changes. 
A variant of the car, dubbed MP4/7B, featuring an experimental active suspension system, was introduced in testing for that year's Portuguese Grand Prix, though it proved insufficiently reliable and was not used for the remainder of the 1992 season. The system would however be used on the MP4/7A's replacement, 1993's MP4/8.
With Honda pulling out of Formula One at the end of the 1992 season (after 69 wins as an engine supplier since 1983, 44 of them with McLaren), the team would be forced to use customer Ford V8 engine's in 1993, thus the MP4/7A was the last McLaren to use the Japanese engines until the McLaren Honda partnership would be renewed prior to the 2015 season.
For the first time since 1987, McLaren failed to capture the Constructors' or Drivers' Championship title. It was therefore the first time the team had failed to win the championships with Honda power, as the years 1988 to 1991 had all been successful in this respect. While the MP4/7A showed that it was able to keep up with the Williams FW14B in a straight line on several occasions, the active suspension on the Williams allowed it to better exploit its aerodynamic package, thus relegating the passively-suspended McLaren to 'best of the rest' status. The MP4/7A also suffered from teething troubles early on: both Senna and Berger dropped out of the car's debut race in Brazil with electrical problems, and Senna dropped out of the Canadian Grand Prix while leading when the alternator failed. Five Grand Prix victories were recorded by the drivers: three for Ayrton Senna, in his fifth season for the team, and two for Gerhard Berger in his third and final season for McLaren before switching back to Ferrari for 1993. 
Honda RA122-E V12 engine
Complete Formula One resultsEdit
(key) (results in bold indicate pole position, results in italics indicate fastest lap)
|1992||Marlboro McLaren||Honda RA122-E
* 9 points scored using the McLaren MP4/6B