Some will find it incredibly exciting. Others a little scary.

McLaren has painted a remarkable picture of how Formula One racing could develop, with artificial intelligence playing a huge part by the year 2050 along with "shapeshifting" cars.

It is a futuristic vision almost beyond belief, and a universe away from anything the team's late founder, Kiwi Bruce McLaren, could have imagined.

McLaren's vision presents a track which looks something like a roller coaster, along with electric cars capable of 500kph compared to today's top speeds around 375kph.

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McLaren reached these dramatic conclusions after "comprehensive fan research" and named the project MCLExtreme.

"Fast, predatory and instinctive," McLaren's technology company proclaims about the future.

"Staying true to the sport's mission to be road relevant, we don't expect race cars to fly by 2050.

"Flying road cars equals more aerial congestion, more noise pollution and probably more accidents.

"With the exception of the drag reduction system (DRS), today's technical regulations ban active aerodynamics – but we expect this to change.

"The demand for greater efficiency will see the car designed to have the capability to alter its shape to maximise its velocity."


McLaren scientist Karl Surmacz adds: "Many forecasts of the rise of truly intelligent machines paint a dystopian picture for civilisation – think I, Robot – but we believe humans and AI will co-exist and improve our existence, in the right hands of course.

"In the future we could get to the point where human ingenuity is replaced with an AI algorithm."

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In other words, AI co-drivers.

As for the look of the car, try this.

"The cockpit will be transparent, showing the driver gripping the wheel and their frenetic footwork.

"The driver's emotions will be dynamically projected onto the bodywork and tyres of the car. Tyres may be also made of a self-repairing composite with built-in inductive charging coils."

And the circuits?

"A consistent demand from fans is for a return to longer, wider race tracks… with banking.

"The higher speeds of 2050 will allow that banking to be steeper and far more aggressive than anything seen before – think Monza or Fuji, only taller and more sinuous – but the enhanced aerodynamics of MCLE will also allow much tighter radii, allowing circuits to occupy a smaller footprint.

"...ratcheting up the drama cars (will) hammer around a 90° bend at 400 km/h."

McLaren involved experts in powertrain, aerodynamics, design, materials technology, data science and human performance to create the blueprint.