F1 2019 Game: McLaren career mode guide - full R&D tree

f1 2019

McLaren are a staple of Formula 1. The have entered over 800 races, second only to Ferrari, and claimed 182 wins, 155 poles, and 485 podiums, again all second to the Scuderia.

When it comes to iconic cars and drivers there is no team that can match McLaren. They won their first Constructors' World Championship in 1974 with Emerson Fittipaldi and gave James Hunt his only World Championship in 1976. They dominated the 1980s, first with Niki Lauda in 1984 and then the titanic duo of Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna, whose rivalry is brought to life in this year's F1 2019 game.

In the late 90s they brought the fight to Michael Schumacher and won back-to-back Drivers' Championships with Mika Hakkinen before introducing Lewis Hamilton to the Formula 1 arena.

Hamilton's maiden championship in 2008 was the last time McLaren created a championship car, while their last win was at the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix.

Thanks to a disastrous partnership with engine manufacturer Honda, the McLaren name has lost much of its lustre over the last few years. Now with Renault power, the car sits firmly entrenched in the midfield battle and watches the top three teams disappear into the distance. Can you just into the orange rocket and bring McLaren's glory days back?

READ MORE: All F1 2019 setup guides


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When you come into the McLaren team at the start of your career mode they will expect you to "Fight and Win". That doesn't mean you need to take victory in Australia right away, but it means you will be heading the midfield charge up to the top 3 and get there sooner rather than later.

The team prefer sportsmanship personalities over showmanship, so make sure you are measured and professional in your interviews otherwise the team will take a dim view of you it will make life harder at contract renegotiations.

The midfield of the F1 pack is remarkably competitive, so you will have to work hard to develop the car and maximise your race strategies to keep your nose in front of the Renault and Haas teams in particular.

READ MORE: A beginner's guide to F1 2019

McLaren R&D

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As ever in Codemasters' F1 games, R&D is a crucial part of your career mode and your quest to get to the front of the grid.

McLaren starts #5 in car performance, on a par with the Haas and Racing Point teams. As you can see there is a quite a gulf in performance to the Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull teams, which means you will be aiming for P7 in qualifying and races for the first half of the season. So where should you concentrate your efforts in developing the car?

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READ MORE: The 5 hardest corners in F1 2019

Despite dropping the awful Honda engine two years ago the McLaren power unit sits dead last in performance on F1 2019. However, this isn't the death sentence it was back in 2016 & 2017 where no matter what you did the "GP 2" engine remained.

With 1,750 resource points to plough into the car at the start you should buy the Factory Efficiency I upgrade, which reduces costs by 10%, and then purchase that first Crankshaft upgrade and work your way to the major upgrade as quickly as possible.

The McLaren aerodynamics and chassis department rank #4 as the best of the midfield runners, so while you shouldn't ignore them, you can certainly wait and bring the power unit up to scratch before investing in the aero and chassis.

r&d tree
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As you can see the McLaren R&D tree is quite the maze of interconnecting branches. It is a long path to any of the ultimate upgrades, especially in the powertrain department. The ultimate tyre wear and brakes upgrades are a long way away too.

The easiest ultimate upgrade to get to is the rear wing, which will allow you to lower your wing setting and carry more speed through long corners.

READ MORE: How to drive without ABS


Provided that you ace the practice programs then you can expect to start competing for podiums at the back end of season 1, provided your difficulty is set properly. It's a long road to take, but the development of non-user teams is well balanced.

The big 3 teams don't race away from the pack, but will come back strong in later seasons, while the midfield teams can improve quickly. By the French Grand Prix you can start to pull away from the rest of the midfield if you get everything spot on. Just be aware that regulation changes can happen season-to-season. You will be warned of this around the Italian/Singapore Grand Prix and have to spend resource points to protect your developed pieces.

By season 2 you can be a highly competitive team that can go toe-to-toe with Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, and Max Verstappen.

For more articles like this, take a look at our F1 and Motorsport page.