(Pocket-lint) - In 2020, McLaren had its strongest F1 season in years. Finishing third in the championship standings. Things are looking up for the iconic team and the near future looks rosier than the recent past. But what about the long term future?
What will Formula One racing look like in 30 years? Apart from featuring an entirely different generation of drivers, the cars will look like something straight out of a sci-fi movie. At least, they will if you ask McLaren.
The UK-based team unveiled a vision for the future of the motorsport in 2019 and it's an idea that comes directly from the MCLExtreme research project, which aims to do more than just design another prototype Formula One car. The innovative project took into account not only technological gains that we might experience in the next three decades, but the political environment that might drive them.
Naturally, the Formula One racing cars will be all electric. (What's that? The sound of motorsport purists screaming into the void?) These engines do not mean a decrease in speed or power, though, as McLaren said the cars will hit speeds of up to 310mph. And the courses they (almost literally) fly down are nothing but the most revolutionary, most futurtistic tracks. There are plenty of huge hills and sharp turns, which the cars take at 250mph. That means some serious G forces.
As for the new cutting-edge technology being applied here, the car batteries can be charged up to 50 per cent in as little as 10 seconds. This is done through receiver coils on the wheels of the car, no less. McLaren even suggested the use of a recharging track that can charge the cars based on the speed they’re going, adding an extra element of strategy to the race.
The cars' design has undergone a serious remodel, too.
The new prototypes will have the ability to shape-shift, depending on what the driver wants to do. The cars can shrink their sides in and become a narrow bullet when a driver wants to pass an opponent, or they can extend pods on the side when the driver wants to hold off an opponent. Controlling this will be done with the help of a built-in AI system, which will hopefully make it safer to race.
The drivers also have a new suit that enables them to be plugged into the car, which will even allow viewers to see more of the drivers' emotions. The cars will change colours based on whether the driver is frustrated or feeling amped up and ready to attempt a passing maneuver. There's even augmented reality in McLaren's future, as drivers' so-called "AI co-pilots" will transmit data to them using advanced AR and their helmets.
Obviously, some of these things don’t seem very likely to happen by 2050. But it’s fun to dream, especially when that concept is something akin to a heavily CGI'd racing film from the minds of a children whose parents clearly bought them way too many Hot Wheels kits.
The ultimate fusion of human and technology. #MCLE is an extension of a driver’s body with an #AI co-pilot transmitting data through advanced #AR.— McLaren Applied Technologies (@McLarenApplied) January 23, 2019
️ https://t.co/7S8y098gBP #FutureGrandPrix pic.twitter.com/Pdd8cIz8e8