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McLaren reveals its vision of F1 future with MP4-X Concept

Bold concept features closed cockpit and mind control for drivers

This is the latest creation to come out of McLaren's Applied Technologies division - the McLaren MP4-X. It's a response to some of the criticism and the evolution that's hitting Formula One, giving a view of what McLaren thinks the future of the sport will hold.

One of the most stunning features are the looks, which are futuristic almost beyond belief. The MP4-X features a closed cockpit, a modification that many people are calling on F1 to introduce on safety grounds. It also debuts a radical enclosed wheel design, which will load the car up with 'wear sensors' that detect when the tyre is worn and should be changed.

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The car has sophisticated aerodynamics to generate downforce and an active rear wing, but not just any active rear wing - McLaren says this one uses "powerfully charged electrodes" that could be switched on to "turn the air around the wings into plasma". No, we don't understand how that one works either. 

The wing isn't all that will be charged as the MP4-X will be driven by electricity too, utilising thin batteries integrated into the bodywork. They'd be charged from the regenerative braking and a solar panel system, but the company also foresees a future where inductive charging is built into the tracks.

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Not content with modifying the outside, McLaren has given the cockpit a good going over too. It's enclosed, which would improve driver protection, and the cover would be a photochromic one, changing colour to improve the driver's vision.

Further aiding this would be surround-view cameras (just like you get on a Nissan Qashqai) which could feed directly into the driver's helmet and enable them to know exactly what's going on around the car. Instead of the sophisticated button-laden steering wheel in F1 cars of today, drivers in the MP4-X would be able to use gestures to control functions of their car - or in the even further future, mind control.

Obviously the McLaren MP4-X is still a concept, and unlikely to see the light of day any time this decade, but it's a great display of what McLaren believes the future of the sport contains. The company say despite the futuristic nature of the car, all the component technologies do exist - even if they're in their infancy. It could also be an interesting look into features that may, eventually, make their way onto McLaren's road cars...

What do you think the future of Formula One contains? Let us know in the comments...

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