Formula One cars represent the height of automotive engineering. The manufacturers—in F1 paralance, they’re called “constructors,” which sounds much cooler—spend countless millions to develop the cars, which can go in excess of 200 miles per hour in one breath and then brake on a dime and navigate a hairpin turn the next, making the superest supercar look like a grocery getter. Unlike NASCAR, where all the cars are more or less the same, in Formula 1 teams are free to build more distinct rides.
Still, there are rules imposed by the sport’s governing body. And rules, as they say, are made to be broken. That’s what drove engineers and designers at McLaren to create the MPX-4 concept.
“We wanted to peer into the future and imagine the art of the possible,” said John Allert, Group Brand Director, McLaren Technology Group. “We have combined a number of F1’s key ingredients – speed, excitement and performance, with the sport’s emerging narratives - such as enclosed cockpits to enhance driver safety, and hybrid power technologies.”
The results will make you wish the future was now. The MPX-4 is designed to harness solar energy to help power the car, and McLaren also envisions a time when the tracks themselves are used to help charge the racing machines. Drivers would be able to see 360 degrees around them thanks to a head-mounted augmented vision display and the canopy, which increases safety, would also be equipped with a head-up display that could adjust based on light conditions.
Some of the developments incorporated into the MPX-4 would actually be from the past, such as ground effects, which have been banned from F1 since 1982, but which McLaren hopes to safely reintroduce.
The likelihood that current McLaren drivers Fernando Alonso or Jenson Button will find themselves driving a car like the MPX-4 anytime soon are slim to none. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to dream.
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