McLaren is latest team to reveal an ‘F1 car of the future’ design

2015 F1 season

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McLaren has become the latest team to produce a series of images showing how future Formula One cars might look.

The McLaren MP4-X, revealed on its website today, is described by McLaren as “a vision of the future of the racing car”.

The design features enclosed wheels and cockpit, adaptive aerodynamic surfaces and ground effects to create more downforce, and crash structures designed to recover their shape and withstand multiple impacts”. McLaren say the car would be powered by a ‘zero emission’ engine with additional energy provided by solar cells on its surface.

In February Ferrari produced its own Ferrari F1 concept.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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68 comments on “McLaren is latest team to reveal an ‘F1 car of the future’ design”

  1. Extremely obstructed view from cockpit? No room for helmet? No chance of riding a curb?

    1. Why did they have to use the Marussia colors instead of a nice orange?

    2. That NOT a F1 car.

      It’s also 5 years to late – see RBR X2010.

      Also should McDennis focus on 2016 and not dreaming of a future they might not see if they don’t start making profits?

      1. I see no reason they can’t commission an artist for a few grand* to create a render, which is pretty much what they did.

        *Or however much commissioning an artist costs.

        1. @raceprouk, They probably organized a competition amongst design students hoping for a career with McL, SF etc.

          1. Doesn’t appear to be; looks like a marketing exercise:

            This is therefore McLaren Marketing’s unique conceptual take on motor racing’s future.

    3. Hideous.
      Looks like something Hollywood would excrete.

  2. I have seen the various concepts, they are stunning, but they look like a future LMP1 car and not a future Formula 1 car.

    1. Creative interpretation of open wheel racing

      1. Love the sarcasm! :D

    2. Exactly what I though. Awesome looking LMP1 concept, where’s the F1 car?

      1. Except that long-standing fundamental rules of Protypes (by which I include many sports car prototype categories prior to LMP) make this just as unlikely an LMP as an F1 car. It seems more in the spirit of Can-Am.

    3. I don’t see why Formula E doesn’t do something more like this. They need the extra aero to increase their range and they have no need of the “stick up their butt” disease that makes Formula 1 so maniacally focused on open wheel/open cockpit.

      But I agree with @aficion, looks more like a potential for a future LMP1 car.

  3. Pit stops hard to manage. So little space to grab the wheel.

    1. I was thinking exactly the same thing @Javi

    2. It won’t even get out of the garage. From the pics it seems there is little room for the front tire to turn. And when you consider that the wheel arches’ are attached to the wing and not the suspension, every kerb they hit will be a tire shredder.

  4. It’s just a Red Bull X2010 but less realistic.

    I always wonder why they do these weird grooves on slick tyres. It doesn’t make any sense to have all this grip and grooves. Plus they don’t seem ot be that efficient in terms of displacing water if they are like that.

    The funny thing is that with all the technology and all, they are still missing a main sponsor.

    1. The funny thing is that with all the technology and all, they are still missing a main sponsor.

      Just keeping things realistic in the Mclaren design dept ;)

  5. One word – ugly…

  6. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
    3rd December 2015, 10:48

    They should probably concentrate on building a good car next year rather than waste time on concepts.

    1. I’m sure this “project” hasn’t in any way hindered their preparation for 2016.

    2. I seriously doubt commissioning an external artist is going to impact the development of the car.

  7. I really do believe that these radical racecar designs should be given a chance in Formula 1. Far less restrictions on design regulations, and more liberal thinking about what’s possible. Let’s make it a more open formula and promote/reward green thinking/recycle-ideas for the sake of our planet. Let’s reintroduce the customer car option, so that smaller teams may still be able to join the sport. Let those who object form collaborations with other teams, gather more money/sponsors or leave the sport. This is what Formula 1 should be in my opinion.

    Dream on Mclaren (and Red Bull and Ferrari), dream on!

    1. In other words, bring back Formula Libre, and then ditch Bernie and CVC. I’m in.

  8. It also has a “fully adaptive digital marketing surface”, which is presumably so McLaren can remove sponsors mid-race as they lose them to other teams…

    1. not that there are many left @keithcollantine

    2. …unfortunately, it apparently doesn’t work with Belgian or Danish brands.

    3. COTD? Sure this must be! :)

  9. Call me juvenile, but this has just become my new desktop wallpaper…

  10. How long before someone puts this into Assetto Corsa?

    1. +1

      The Ferrari concept is already in assetto corsa and it’s amazing

  11. So there concept is to turn F1 into an LMP category?

  12. Call me picky, but it annoys me when someone suggests adding solar panels to a vehicle to capture “additional energy”. There just isn’t that much solar power available: according to the Wikipedia page (I know), “Most people around the world live in areas with insolation levels of 150 to 300 watt per square meter”. Bearing in mind that photovoltaics are something like 20% efficient and assuming (wild guess!) that 10 square metres of bodywork are exposed at any given moment, that’s a maximum gain of 300 * 10 * 0.2 = 600W. At roughly 750W to 1hp, that’s around 0.8hp!

    I know McLaren are pretty desperate at the moment, but they really should know better!

    1. Bearing in mind that photovoltaics are something like 20% efficient

      There are materials being researched that bump that figure to 46%, and it’s only going to go up.

      Until it hits a point where it’s impossible to improve of course.

    2. It’s not much, but it can probably power all the on board electronics, so an alternator would be unnecessary.

      1. @raceprouk: so it could go up to 4hp. Or maybe Bernie could sell a race somewhere in the Sahara and get it all the way up to 8hp ;-)

        @de: Except that when the sun goes in you need a backup, either an alternator or a battery.

        Don’t get me wrong, solar energy has its place. But that place is not on racing cars.

        1. It does, insofar as if it can generate enough juice, it could power the electronics, meaning no alternator, which reduces the load on the engine, so you get a little more power to the wheels and/or slightly better fuel economy. It may not be much, but in a world where teams spend $100,000 to gain 0.01s a lap, it’s worth exploring.

        2. @jimg, “World solar challenge” 3000+km @ average 90+kmh. Ref.Wiki or your fav search engine.

    3. Fully agree here. McLaren can say whatever they want for a concept car, you say solar panels are between 20% and 46% efficient.. I’m sure McLaren has 100% in mind and maybe even more !!

      If I were to build a F1 concept car, I’ll let it run on garbage and, to end all discussions about degrading tyres, it will fly… because where I go … I don’t need roads !!

    4. @jimg – as you say, the “solar panel” idea is worth about 1HP, here on Earth… Ron’s master plan is to be racing on Mercury where the solar radiation is available at a much more useful level. When these experts get together to tweak the rules of F1, they have to think out of the box. Right out of their collective boxes. Take that, pesky Earth-bound Formula E!

  13. and then add a GP2 engine to it.

  14. FlyingLobster27
    3rd December 2015, 14:13

    “Powered by a zero-emissions engine” – so what are those two spouts either side of the engine cover at the back, portholes? An odd place for rear-view cameras?
    Actually, I found no mention of ‘zero emissions’ on the McLaren webpage, rather a ‘rethink of the ICE’… which means rigorously nothing.

    Of course it’s not functional or factual, but as a concept, I like the look of it. At least I do in this livery, and not with whatever “personalised ads” they might have in store for me. Nice nose.

    1. so what are those two spouts either side of the engine cover at the back

      Cooling outlets?

  15. I liked Ferrari’s concept more than this

  16. Cesar Silva Gomes
    3rd December 2015, 14:59

    One question though, how does the driver get in?

  17. One thing is for sure that McLaren would recover more energy than any other team from solar power given the lack of sponsorship logos blocking the light.

    1. And the colour black does absorb more heat :)

  18. I could see the Mclaren concept formula 1 car getting lapped by Red Bull’s and Ferrari’s concept cars

  19. I drive an 06 Ford Focus C-Max Ghia at the moment, I think I might trade it in for this little toy……

  20. Hmm, I really like that. It’s futuristic, but it also has some elements in common with modern F1 cars that let you trace the lineage (e.g. the front wing). It also fixes some long-standing safety issues like exposed tyres and exposed drivers without looking too awful. Of all the concepts I’ve seen so far (Ferrari and Red Bull), I think this is the best.

  21. Very big for an F1 car, lot of chance of contact during overtaking on corners.

  22. How wonderful. In the midst of a performance crisis, isn’t it great that they still have the time and resources to do this…

    1. A few thousand pounds and a couple of one-on-one meetings with an artist isn’t exactly a big effort on the part of McLaren. Besides, this’ll be from the marketing department.

      1. Fair Point.

  23. The most realistic bit was at 40 seconds, where the car appears to break down.

  24. Dear Bernie,



  25. I like it but it’s not F1

    Much prefer the Williams render someone did a few months back :)

    1. If in 1965 you showed the Mercedes W06 to the makers of the Brabham BT11, they’d probably say the same thing :)

  26. This is fantastic!

  27. will their driver be batman?

    1. Only if their other driver is Robin :)

  28. … Still a GP2 engine :/

  29. Looks like they bought the design from Bruce Wayne.

  30. Its the future. Current cars look fragile and old fashioned by comparison.

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