Review

Building the F1 McLaren from Lego Technic

Ramon Schneider
18.02.2022
Translation: Katherine Martin

Just in time for the new Formula 1 season, Lego is launching a McLaren race car. Although the manufacturer has made a nice job of the aesthetics, the mechanics are simplistic.

After a nine year wait, Formula 1 fans are finally getting another race car from Lego Technic. The orange, blue and black McLaren vehicle is the fifth Formula 1 car that Lego Technic has released since the early noughties. Rumours about the toy were already circulating back in October. As the racing team didn’t unveiltheir vehicle in the press until recently, though, the Lego set had to be kept under wraps, too.

Nailing a resemblance to the original was a challenge for Lego designer Lars Krogh Jensen – the car was, after all, still being developed: «It was exciting to watch the car develop, but that obviously meant that we had to constantly adjust our model, too.»

LEGO McLaren Formula 1 racecar (42141, LEGO Technic)
150.–

LEGO McLaren Formula 1 racecar

42141, LEGO Technic

42141, LEGO Technic

96

Now, the wait is over. From 1 March 2022, Lego Technic’s Formula 1 race car will be available worldwide. This fits in nicely with the upcoming racing season which starts in Bahrain on 20 March. Many Technic fans will probably be upset about the price. With an RRP of 199 francs for 1,432 pieces, that works out at a whopping 13,9 rappen per block. That’s more expensive than the BMW motorcycle.

Assembly

The contents of the box are clearly arranged. There are 1,432 blocks divided into several plastic bags, as well as a building manual with just over 300 pages. The booklet begins in typical Lego fashion with a couple of comparisons between the model and the original race car. McLaren Team Leader Andreas Seidel gives some insight into the development of the new F1 vehicle, while Lego designer Lars Krogh Jensen talks about the collaboration with the racing team from England. After that come the step-by-step assembly instructions which are divided into four phases.

The car is built in four phases.
The car is built in four phases.

Along with the individual parts and instruction booklet, you’ll also find the infamous sticker sheets. A total of 64 stickers are spread across three different sheets. From sponsors to spoilers, to rear-view mirrors and rims, this set gives you plenty of sticking to do.

64 stickers are included in the set.
64 stickers are included in the set.

Apart from having to precisely apply the stickers, putting the car together is simple. Six leisurely hours of building is all it takes to finish the model. The product’s 18+ age rating is purely a marketing manoeuvre, allowing Lego to target adults. If you ask me, an eight-year-old would be able to build this race car. That’s down to there being very few technically demanding elements within the build. The V6 engine, differential and working steering wheel are familiar features. Anyone who’s built a Technic set before will already be familiar with these construction steps.

Engine, differential and suspension.
Engine, differential and suspension.

So far, I’m almost a little disappointed – building the set has barely challenged me. The suspension, however, is interesting. From the outside, only the four flat, black bars are visible – similar to the original. At the same time, a sophisticated system diverts the suspension to a yellow spring behind the engine. This was definitely the most fun, most memorable part of the build.

The aesthetics

Although the assembly didn’t quite live up to my expectations, the car really comes into its own in the looks department. I’m pleasantly surprised by the model’s size in particular. With a length of 64 centimetres, you’ll be hard pushed to display the car on a typical living room shelf.

At 64 centimetres, the car is longer than I’d initially thought.
At 64 centimetres, the car is longer than I’d initially thought.

Compared with Lego Technic’s previous F1 sets, the McLaren is by far the most attractive car. The designers have done a good job of making the model look as much like the original race car as possible. One nice touch is the engine, which you can see despite the fairing

Even with the fairing is visible.
Even with the fairing is visible.

F1 cars normally run on slicks – in other words, tyres without tread. Lego, on the other hand, only produces tyres with tread. As a result, the McLaren model is fitted with blue Pirelli rain tyres. I wouldn’t expose the model to water for too long, though – otherwise the stickers will start peeling off.

The tyres might be made for rain, but the stickers are not.
The tyres might be made for rain, but the stickers are not.

My verdict

For many fans, the McLaren has fulfilled a long-held desire: after a nine-year wait, there’s finally another Lego Technic race car. Visually speaking, I like the model, as it comes pretty close to the original. Turning to the fun factor, though, I’d expected more. Not much of the building process has stuck in my mind besides the suspension. It’s a shame, because for me, the construction of the model is more important than its appearance.

The set retails at 199 francs – a tidy sum. But let me offer the bargain hunters among you a bit of reassurance: I assume that the set will drop in price a couple of weeks after launching. It will, after all, be available from other outlets besides Lego from 1 March. As a result, this could push the selling price down by a couple of percentage points.

McLaren drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris enjoying the Lego model.
McLaren drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris enjoying the Lego model.
Image: lego.com
Lego gave me this product to test out. In the editorial office, our articles aren’t influenced by the interests of the manufacturers, and we aren’t responsible for sales targets.

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Riding my motorbike makes me feel free, fishing brings out my inner hunter, using my camera gets me creative. I make my money messing around with toys all day.


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