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This is McLaren’s 300mph+ vision for Formula 1 in 2050

Shape-shifting aero and ‘black out zones’… consider us intrigued

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The crystal balls have been out in Woking. McLaren’s Applied Technologies division has now presented its vision of what the sport will look like in just over three decades.

When 2050 finally rolls around it will have been 100 years since the first ever F1 world championship race at Silverstone, but the sport could be barely recognisable if McLaren get their way.

So, the place to start is of course with the cars. Elegantly named the MCLExtreme, McLaren predict that they will remain open-wheeled and with a human driver in the centre. 

That’s pretty much where the similarities end though, as the 2050 F1 car will (of course) be powered by electric motors that could provide a mind-bending top speed of over 300mph.

The cars will also utilise self-repairing tyres and active aerodynamics that mean the sidepods ‘expand and contract like the gills of a great white shark’. Blimey.

Hitting the triple ton of miles per hour won’t make things easy for the drivers though, and McLaren predicts that the brave bunch will need a fighter pilot-like g-suit to cope with the extra forces and keep blood pumping to the brain through corners. They will also be aided by an artificial intelligence co-pilot that’s so clever it could put pitwall engineers out of a job.

To create this vision McLaren initially conducted their biggest ever survey of F1 fans, and the overriding theme that appeared was the need for greater access to their heroes whilst they compete in the race. 

To solve this, the MCLExtreme will glow in different colours to represent the emotions of the driver in real-time. We get the feeling that if Kimi Räikkönen was still going in 2050 his car would be permanently blue.

Circuits will also need to get with the times though, and given the extra speed they could be far longer in distance – even incorporating both city and countryside sections. 

For example, McLaren reckons that a race in the centre of Milan could stretch all the way out to Monza and back – with the banking at the iconic circuit being increased in gradient thanks to the huge downforce that will be created.

Amidst all of the Tron-style technology and development though, there is one feature that catches our eye more than most. McLaren is proposing black out zones during the race where all the AI and tech will be turned off, meaning the focus will return to just how well a human can wrestle a hugely-powerful single-seater race car.

The best part of the future of Formula 1 then? The bit that resembles the past.

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