A blueprint has been unveiled for Formula One in 2050 that encompasses venues utilising smart city technology, high-speed street circuits and immersive glass-walled sections of track.

The vision for the motor-racing championship was revealed today (Wednesday) by McLaren Applied Technologies, a sister company of the eponymous British F1 team. While the blueprint also detailed eye-catching designs of 500 km/h inductively charged, electric racing machines utilising shapeshifting active aerodynamics and on-board advanced AI co-pilots, McLaren Applied Technologies also tackled how it sees circuits evolving.

The company came up with the scheme by conducting an extensive research process into the needs and wants of the sport’s fans, while also calling upon its experts in powertrain, aerodynamics, design, materials technology, data science and human performance.

McLaren said a consistent demand from fans is for a return to longer, wider race tracks with banking. It believes the higher speeds of 2050 will allow banking to be steeper and far more aggressive than anything seen before, while the enhanced aerodynamics of cars will permit much tighter radii, allowing circuits to occupy a smaller footprint.

McLaren said this presents an opportunity for street circuits, a growing part of modern-day F1 as the sport moves away from expensive purpose-built facilities that are often built at great distances from major population hubs.

McLaren said in a statement: “Street races are growing in popularity, bringing grand prix racing into convenient range of the biggest urban populations – but the cars struggle to show their full potential wherever track designers are forced to build low-speed 90° corners to follow the city street plan. Adding banking to a street circuit can solve that problem – while also ratcheting up the drama as cars hammer around a 90° bend at 400 km/h.”

Rodi Basso, motorsport director at McLaren Applied Technologies, added: “Smart cities will give us the chance to put the track action on people’s doorsteps. We’re going to see more racing take place where the fans are, as part of a continued effort to bring the show to them – and because the cars will travel at even more ferocious pace than is currently the case, it raises the possibility for race tracks to span far greater distances.

“Why confine the grand prix cars of tomorrow to the tracks of today? The Italian Grand Prix of 2050 would still run through the heart of one of the largest historical parks in Europe, but go on to scythe its way through the streets of Milan city centre, before making its way back to Monza’s leafy park.”

McLaren also said the F1 of 2050 could reinvent the grandstand experience. It outlined the potential for sections of track to be glass-walled, or even glass-roofed, allowing spectators to stand atop the track.

Image: McLaren Applied Technologies