McLaren sets out 'extreme' 2050 Formula 1 vision

McLaren Applied Technologies, the sister arm of McLaren F1, has presented an ‘extreme’ vision of 2050 Formula 1 racing, featuring all-electric 500km/h cars.

Their prototype challenger, the 'MCLExtreme' could contain elements such as shape-shifting active aerodynamics, AI support and even self-healing tyres.

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It was also envisioned ‘smart cities’ could play more of a role in the future of races with circuits being made longer to accommodate the super-fast speeds of up to 500km/h.

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Drivers would receive AI support throughout the race to help manage the fierce machines, but there would what was described as 'blackout zones' which would mean at certain points in the race the drivers would remain alone and unaided.

Fans would be brought closer to the action via glass walls and even roofs, meaning they would be able to remain close to the on-track battles.

"Give teams the opportunity to really push the boundaries of active aero as part of their natural car development, and suddenly you have the adoption of a technology that has the possibility to dynamically alter the outcome of a race in an authentic way as drivers battle it out," says Rodi Basso, Motorsport Director at McLaren Applied Technologies.

"Smart cities will give us the chance to put the track action on people’s doorsteps.

"We’re going to see more racing take place where the fans are, as part of a continued effort to bring the show to them – and because the cars will travel at even more ferocious pace than is currently the case, it raises the possibility for race tracks to span far greater distances.

"Why confine the Grand Prix cars of tomorrow to the tracks of today? The Italian Grand Prix of 2050 would still run through the heart of one of the largest historical parks in Europe, but go on to scythe its way through the streets of Milan city centre, before making its way back to Monza’s leafy park.

"We must provide a platform which rewards driver skill, but also showcases their personality and their emotions: a honed athlete hidden behind a corporate fascia just won’t cut it in 2050. We want to see gladiators."