New engines are not much quieter than V8s – FIA

2014 F1 season

Renault energy F1, 2014 F1 engineThe new 1.6-litre V6 turbo engines being used this year are not significantly quieter than the V8s they are replacing, according to the FIA.

The sport’s governing body estimates the maximum volume of the new engines is around 134 decibels, down from 145 last year.

It claims the new engines are louder than the typical noise level at the front row of a rock concert (110 decibels) and above the threshold of pain (130 decibels). At close quarters the difference in volume will hardly be noticeable, it added.

The FIA’s head of powertrain Fabrice Lom pointed out similar capacity engines have been seen in Formula One before:

“In 1988, V6 turbo F1 engines were revving lower and had less capacity. Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost both had fans in those days and the show, as far as we remember, was quite good.”

Concerns have been raised over the reduced volume of the new engines. Marussia team president Graeme Lowdon said: “I hope we don’t lose the magic that happens in the garage when you take the lucky few people into that environment.”

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82 comments on New engines are not much quieter than V8s – FIA

  1. reiter (@reiter) said on 11th March 2014, 13:38

    I love that airplane turbine-like whine of the new V6s. Also, I wonder if people who miss the high-pitched scream aren’t fans of the sound of 80s engines either.

  2. Baron (@baron) said on 11th March 2014, 13:55

    I don’t get it. Nobody from my day gave a monkeys about the sound, just the racing. I’ve been through most engine eras and they’ve all been good. When you squeeze that much horsepower from a little box, good ear type stuff is going to happen. What I DO like is I can now tell the difference (again) between the engines. We always could before those darned homogenised V8’s – the Ferrari usually winning the sound battle with the Mercedes having an angry buzz saw tone. Out of the new engines, I would say it’s a toss up between Renault and Ferrari, with Ferrari just edging it. The Merc is just too metallic, for me anyway.

    A very good place to hear these up close and personal will be the Goodwood Festival of Speed this year.

  3. Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 11th March 2014, 15:35

    They might be quieter but they sound better, so to speak.

  4. Theoddkiwi (@theoddkiwi) said on 11th March 2014, 19:45

    There is a fundmental benefit of the engines being quieter, and that it hs less of an impact on the surrounding community. This a big plus in places like Melbourne where there is a very vocal anti grand prix movement.

    So if can be a little less annoying to the locals, that helps the goverment on retaining the race here. Which Bernie has indicated an extension to the existing conract is imminent.

    Either way i look forward to the new sounds when i am sitting in the grandstands on friday. I have heard the V10, the V12s and the V8s, I think these new engines are going to be just as spectacular.

  5. Bob Jackson said on 11th March 2014, 20:41

    The FIA are every bit as comepentent in maths and science as they are shepherding a high-tech motor racing sport. The db scale is logarithmic, not linear, and the difference between 145 db and 134 db is enormous: ~350% in SPL and >1200% in intensity.

  6. Lars (@neslepax) said on 11th March 2014, 21:07

    Im just happy the EBD noise is gone, it was horrendous. Was so bad I turned DOWN the volume when watching F1. The new sound is quite pleasant to listen to, cant wait to hear them at full song from Melbourne :D

  7. Valhyre (@ausuma) said on 11th March 2014, 21:46

    Thanks Eco-hippies! in 20 years Formula 1 is gonna become Formula Prius

    • Bob Jackson said on 12th March 2014, 15:29

      Amen, brother. That’s what the V-6Ts are all about. F1 have sold its birthright to The New Green Religion in exchange for a temporary reprieve from its ire. The F1rius power plants are more expensive to build, more time-consuming to maintain, and do more eco-damage than did their purely dead dinosaur-powered predecessors. And we’re supposed to be all gobsmacked by a whopping 44 litres/100 km.

  8. schooner (@schooner) said on 12th March 2014, 0:38

    When I was a kid, I attended my very 1st race weekend up at Watkins Glen. There was the 6 hour Manufacturer’s Championship race on Saturday, and a CanAm race on Sunday. I loved the sound of those thundering V8 McLaren and Lola CanAm cars, but I was particularly taken by the noises emitted by the 12 cylinder Porsche 917’s, Ferrari 312PB’s and 512’s during the endurance race. A couple years later I went to another CanAm meeting out in Edmonton, Alberta (yeah, I’m old!). I was pretty naive mechanically (and otherwise), and having fallen in love with that unique sound from the air cooled Porsche flat-12, I couldn’t wait to see and hear the new Penske/Donohue 917/30. This 1000-plus hp “turbocharged” monster must absolutely make the earth tremble! Well, to put it mildly, I was a bit surprised and disappointed with what I heard. It sounded like a vacuum cleaner in comparison to it’s naturally aspirated cousin. Fun race though. It was a while before I understood what a turbocharger actually does, and why it necessarily reduces engine noise. Anyway, I’m ok with the “new” sound of F1, but I’d be lying if I said that I don’t miss the symphony of different types of screaming motors from the past.

  9. Prof Kirk (@prof-kirk) said on 12th March 2014, 7:35

    Fabrice Lom mentions it’s a similar formula to the Prost + Senna era, V6 engine with a turbo bolted to it. We’ve all picked up on this, but what if Formula One took the ‘exact’ same regulations from 1980 and applied it to this season. How different would the cars that could be built now be from the cars of what was engineered and built in 1980?

  10. Luke said on 18th March 2014, 16:32

    The fia are either thick or treating the fans as mugs. 10db less is a lot quieter, its half the loudness.

    Full details on the db scale can be found here

  11. Matt said on 9th April 2014, 10:32

    Professor Dr Thomas Weber, the Daimler board member responsible for research and development, said the engines provided the justification to continue.

    “The key challenge for the future is fuel economy and efficiency and with the change in regulations F1 is the spearhead for development,” Weber said.

    He said it had become “hard to explain” why F1 was using the old V8 engines.

    “Now with these new regulations I can clearly convince the supervisory board that the (F1 team) are doing exactly what we need – downsizing, direct injection, lightweight construction, fuel efficiency on the highest possible level, new technologies and combining a combustion engine with an e-motor hybrid.”

    It’s easy to understand people. Nowhere in the Formula 1 remit does it mention anything about noise. Noise is a by product. Would you just sit in your living room and listen to the race but not watch it? The actual racing is as exciting as ever and a true motorsport fan would look past the slightly quieter engines and see how these regulation changes are actually very important for the future of automotive in general. This harnessing of power to create incredibly fast machines is essentially saving motorsport and in general ‘fast’ cars for us all for years to come. Think of the bigger picture or in other words GET OVER IT

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