By Gordon Murray
It all came from a comment Gordon Murray made over five years ago. We were talking about the then just launched McLaren road car he had designed and, in the course of conversation I asked why he had stopped designing Formula One cars. “It was the rule-book. It got too thick, ended up designing most of it for you…”
It was one of those off-the-cuff remarks which, while having no great significance at the time, stayed lodged, as if some awaiting some as yet undisclosed purpose.
It did. When we decided our millennium edition should look forward (not least because we figured everyone else would be looking back) the words returned. What kind of F1 car would this creator of multiple championship-winning Brabhams and McLarens, perhaps the most successful designer of Formula One cars alive, come up with if the rule book didn’t exist?
So I asked him and he agreed to have a crack at it. And I told him the only rule was that there were no rules. You will find the result overleaf.
All I would ask of you when you study the drawing is that you bear in mind that the car you are looking at is not a work of science-fiction, nor even a slice of futuristic artistic interpretation. What you are looking at is a Formula One car that could race today; the technology employed is extant, the power to weight ratio no greater than that deployed by its ancestors back in the mid-1980s.
You could spend the rest of your life failing to find someone better to fill this brief. Murray’s achievements speak for themselves but it is his ability not be constrained by convention which best qualified him for this particular job; that and the equally important fact that he is no longer part of the Formula One circus and therefore has no political niceties to observe.
Once you have seen the F1 car drawing, turn the page again and you will find another of Murray’s F1 concept cars. I didn’t ask him for it, it just turned up in the package. Some who have seen it actually think he’s serious. Andrew Frankel