McLaren will launch a follow-up to its iconic F1 hypercar in 2012, more than two years earlier than originally planned.

A successor to the F1 had been expected later in the decade as McLaren instead focused its efforts on setting up a new car company from scratch, developing and marketing the MP4-12C and establishing a dealer network to sell its models through.

See Autocar's rendering of the new McLaren F1, plus pics of the original F1 and the MP4-12C

McLaren insiders have told Autocar, however, the firm is working flat-out on a new F1, a car described as a “revolutionary” hypercar and one which will be instantly recognisable as such. This is in contrast to the MP4-12C, which has been criticised for its unadventurous styling.

The new F1 is the subject of an intensive development programme said to be among the speediest the industry has yet seen.

The new F1 will be mid-engined and will feature a carbonfibre monocoque similar in concept to the MP4-12C’s. Despite its creators’ radical approach, it will still bear some similarities to the original F1. These, however, are largely coincidental and it is not yet clear whether the car will feature the same central driving seat as its predecessor.

As with the MP4-12C and the original 1992 F1, major emphasis has been placed on saving weight; the new F1 is expected to pioneer many new solutions in this field.

It will also feature novel wheel and lighting designs, both contributing much to its distinctive look. There’s no word yet on the car’s powertrain, but it is expected to break new ground, possibly with some low emission solutions. Standard-setting suspension is also a certainty.

The F1 successor will be the second of McLaren’s trio of new models – the third is thought to slot beneath the £150,000 MP4 12C. The planned price of the F1 successor is unknown, but it’s likely to be substantially more than the 12C. But rather than a limited edition, as the F1 was, it is expected be a regular series model.