Racing car: Murray's vision

Gordon Murray’s F1 ideal

It all came from a comment that 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 rulebook. 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 awaiting some as yet undisclosed purpose.

It did. When we decided that our Millennium edition should look forward (not least because we figured everyone else would be looking back) the words returned. What kind of car would this creator of multiple championship-winning Brabhams and McLarens, perhaps the most successful designer of grand prix cars alive, come up with if the rulebook 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 results below.

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 turbo era of 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 to 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.

Murray has also provided a second drawing of a Formula One concept. I didn’t ask him for it; it just turned up in the package. Some who have seen it actually think he’s serious. — AF January 2000