McLaren shows what is already possible
MCLAREN says MP4-X concept race cars show the future of F1 racing, because everything in this concept race car is available.
With recharging of batteries for electric motors to happen through inductive coupling in the track means that the entire powertrain was rethought. This, in turn, meant that the chassis was completely rethought as well.
“With a new approach to the internal combustion engine you could radically redistribute the chassis layout at the rear of the car, with different areas that could be exploited aerodynamically,” says Anthony Law, systems engineer, McLaren Applied Technologies.
The structure of the car isn’t just electrified to store energy, it’s also resilient and nearly unbreakable. If two cars made of a material that absorbs impacts and then returns to its original shape collide … well, they would hit, crumple, and then re-form to their original shape.
The car can also change its shape to aid aerodynamics on the fly. The surfaces of the MP4-X’s bodywork can be electrified to cause a change in shape when certain aerodynamic loads or conditions would improve performance. When the current is cut off, the materials return to their original shape.
The air around the car can also be plasmafied. Electrodes in the surface of the car’s wings electronically control the McLaren MPX-4’s aerodynamics, dialling in downforce for cornering and outward for straights. With powerful electrical charging during the turns, these same electrodes would turn air into plasma around those aero wings, removing drag.
“It’s banned in the current F1 regs, but it’s great for achieving high top speeds, particularly at circuits like Monza, where you want to shed all the downforce along the straights and then turn it back on again for the corners,” says Geoff McGrath, chief innovation officer, McLaren Applied Technologies.
Finally, the bread and butter of racing — advertisements. Sponsorships could be tuned to better appeal to race goers and fans. Conventional stickers will be replaced by digital billboard-style advertisements at key positions on the car. These could be leveraged to reflect ads that closely match the browsing history of a fan’s smartphone or gadgets, for example.
One person watching on television might see an ad for breakfast cereal, while another, watching the same car in the same race at the same time, might see an ad for Caribbean vacations.
We see that not only is the McLaren MPX-4 a beautifully far out concept in terms of appearances, but it’s a vision of the technology with potential to drive changes in the sport.
McLaren showed the future of F1 racing in the MP4-X, with adverts that display differently for each viewer and body panels that change shape, among other tricks.