F1 should not act in haste over engine noise


Start, 2014 Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park, MelbourneWhen F1’s 22 drivers revved their V6 turbo engines for the first start of the season in Melbourne three days ago, not everyone was impressed with what they heard.

Among them was Bernie Ecclestone, who wasted no time in telling anyone with a microphone that these engines, which he’s hated all along, are wrong for Formula One.

It’s no surprise Ecclestone should find himself underwhelmed by the first flying start with the new engine formula, because he wasn’t there to hear it. Twenty-odd V6 turbo engines will sound a little gutless to you if you’re in a different continent.

Australian Grand Prix promoter Ron Walker, who can usually be relied upon to toe the Ecclestone party line, also chimed in. Walker’s widely-reported comments to The Age about the race being “not what be paid for” need to be seen in that context, as well as the fact that the Australian Grand Prix’s contract is up for renewal next year.

With Ecclestone already talking about making changes to the engines to alter the acoustics within the next few races, a bit of perspective on the new sound is needed.

How concerned are F1 fans about the noise made by the new engines? An F1 Fanatic poll of 700 readers conducted during the weekend showed a mix of views with the balance of opinion towards the positive:

The majority of fans appear not to be unduly concerned by the noise but a significant minority (30%) aren’t happy with what they’re hearing. This tells us there’s more right than wrong about the sound of the new engines, and though there is scope for improvement F1 should ensure any alteration is a change for the better, and prioritise that over acting hastily.

Leaving aside the question of whether anything can be done immediately, as the specifications of this year’s engines were homologated last month, there are huge potential downsides to making sudden, ill-considered changes to the engine.

Renault energy F1, 2014 F1 engineTweaking the exhausts to increase the noise, for example, could seriously alter the performance and economy of the designs, with obvious consequences for each team’s competitiveness. And having only just digested an enormous rise in engine development costs, F1 badly needs stability in its regulations to allow the cost of engines to fall and relieve the pressure on its smallest teams.

There’s no doubting the new engines are quieter than the old ones. The FIA says the noise level has fallen from 145 decibels to 134, which at close quarters is still above the threshold of pain.

However as Ecclestone banished all but the wealthiest of fans from F1 paddocks three decades ago, few get that close. And if the blast of engine noise seemed underwhelming at Melbourne, a temporary venue where spectators can get fairly close to the action, it’s going to be even less at vast expanses like Bahrain and Shanghai.

But sheer volume alone isn’t everything, a point made by many readers in their responses to the poll above. Though quieter, each of the new engines offer distinctively different sounds, which the bland V8s didn’t. They also allow fans at the track to hear other sounds – the screech of tyres locking and, usefully, the commentary on the public address system.

We also need to see the change in engine noise in its wider context. Formula One is not the only racing series embracing smaller-capacity turbo engines to stay in step with the needs of road car manufacturers. And noise pollution regulations are an increasing problem for some circuits, something quieter racing cars could help to address.

As Ecclestone’s naked hostility to the new engine technology even extends to trashing his own sport in the press at the first race weekend of the new season, you have to wonder how hard his broadcasting company are trying to make the engines sound good as they can on television.

But by urging a rush to change the engines F1 risks making hasty, expensive and potentially controversial alterations which could cause more problems than they fix. Knee-jerk reactions like this usually cause the sport’s biggest changes for the worst.

F1 should take time to see how the public’s attitude to the engines develops, see if it is reflected in ticket sales and viewing figures, and make considered changes based on gathered data.

In the meantime its top priority should be to correct past knee-jerk mistakes – those which F1 fans have unequivocal views about:


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Image © Daimler/Hoch Zwei, Renault

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192 comments on F1 should not act in haste over engine noise

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  1. ECWDanSelby (@ecwdanselby) said on 19th March 2014, 12:11

    I think an easy fix would be to up the trackside volume on the FOM feed.

    I genuinely had to turn my TV up so loud to properly hear the noise, but then I had Croft barking over it every 2 seconds.

    • Chipshopforks (@chipshopforks) said on 19th March 2014, 12:34

      Totally agree. The engines don’t sound bad… they sound different. The problem with the broadcast was the sound balance (on BBC at least) between the commentary and track side sounds all but made the cars sound silent. It was better on headphones on iPlayer, but the problem is easily remedied.

      • teddy law said on 5th April 2014, 21:29

        The BBC have listened to the fans and have adjusted the sound balance starting this weekend. Just watching qualifying now and its much better, thanks BBC

    • matt90 (@matt90) said on 19th March 2014, 13:04

      I think the same, particularly during qualifying when cars are more often alone and almost soundless. This is a particularly good point which I had considered before.

      As Ecclestone’s naked hostility to the new engine technology even extends to trashing his own sport in the press at the first race weekend of the new season, you have to wonder how hard his broadcasting company are trying to make the engines sound good as they can on television.

      I certainly wouldn’t put it past him.

      • matt90 (@matt90) said on 19th March 2014, 14:18

        *which I had not considered before

        • DaveD (@daved) said on 19th March 2014, 17:31

          Yes, I’m starting to wonder if Bernie is so far gone that he’d trash the sport just to get something HE likes. He completely ignores that 95% of fans absolutely hate double points, yet feels compelled to change the whole sport and spend tens of millions to change the sound because 30% truly don’t like it?
          Bernie either thinks we are all stupid or he doesn’t care if we can see through him. Perhaps a bit of both?

    • Dan Brown (@danbrown180) said on 19th March 2014, 15:22

      This is absolutely what I thought. Just turn the trackside volume up and the commentators down. Job done.

      • Sébastien (@mclaren-forever) said on 19th March 2014, 15:56

        Hi everyone! I’ve been checking F1 Fanatic for a while now and decided to sign up in order to be able to use this forum. This is by far the place where comments are the most serious and relevant. Sorry if my english seems a little scholastic, I’m french and promise to try my best.

        I actually agree with you about ajusting the trackside volume up and comments down, for people like us wwho are watching it on TV. But I also think that their main worry is about the track attractiveness. I’ve been to some races in real life (Monaco, thank you Proximity) and never experiences such a beautiful mechanic noise. You can fool the TV audience, but people that are actually paying the equivalent of a rent won’t be so easy to federate.

        • SpeBea said on 19th March 2014, 21:38

          This is 100% correct. Having been in the Paddock at Jerez this year and heard the engines first hand they sound very unimpressive compared to the V8’s and V10’s. On the other hand I thought how nice they sounded at the weekend on TV, quite raspy and rich.

          The problem is for the fans at the circuit things just don’t make the earth move as in the past!

    • electrolite (@electrolite) said on 19th March 2014, 16:02

      @ecwdanselby Absolutely. I’ve been saying precisely this all along!

    • Paul Osborne (@paulo-fandango) said on 19th March 2014, 16:21

      Sorry, the sound of the new engines has no excitement or passion. I remember stepping from car at Silverstone to hear F1 cars live for the first time and also moto GP bikes at Donnington, both made me grin and chuckle and want to get anywhere where I could soak this up more. F1 is supposed to be a spectacle, not the everyday reality of limits, reduction, restriction and polite green motoring.
      New engines are a BIG mistake, It’s no good saying this is the future of F1 if it sounds boring.

      • DaveD (@daved) said on 19th March 2014, 17:45

        OK, that is your subjective opinion, and completely valid. I actually like the new sounds better as they differentiate and have more nuances.

        But one thing I don’t understand is this: All that noise that you can FEEL for 200 meters in every direction literally shaking your body, the ground, the air, EVERYTHING…that creates a sphere of 33.5 MILLION cubic meters. Think of all that energy wasted that could be making the car go faster.

        These new cars a couple of seconds slower, per lap, right now but that is due to the lack of downforce more than anything. I love the new top speeds and the faster acceleration. And I’m betting they’ll be faster per lap by next year, at least on some tracks.

        I like racing because it’s fast, not because it’s loud. And yes, the Audi’s at Le Mans are AWESOME when they go buy so quietly compared to the cars they are passing. I was at Petite Le Mans when they last raced the Peugeot’s and it was awe inspiring.

        • Mr win or lose said on 19th March 2014, 19:25

          All that noise that you can FEEL for 200 meters in every direction literally shaking your body, the ground, the air, EVERYTHING…that creates a sphere of 33.5 MILLION cubic meters. Think of all that energy wasted that could be making the car go faster.

          It doesn’t take a genius to understand that more efficient engines should produce less noise, so this was a predictable outcome. In fact, a reduction from 145 dB to 134 dB means the cars are over ten times more quiet, right? That should be a noticeable difference, but I don’t think the new engines are too silent, rather the old ones were too noisy.

          • Megatron said on 23rd March 2014, 19:52

            No it´s a logarithm, 10 dB (A) +/- means about double/half noise. With 135 dB (A) it´s still pretty loud, protuding the threshold of pain.

        • joc_the_man (@joctheman) said on 19th March 2014, 21:56

          You know, I liked F1 because it was loud, cool, fast and let the driver’s race to the limit. FIA’s over regulation and desperation have killed the magic with tyre mgmt and all the cr-p introduced this year to mention some. There are more people like me in this respect. To add, I think Le Mans diesel racing is incredibly dull.

          Unfortunately, there is not a quick fix to this mess. It starts with FIA understanding why fans loves F1 and start to act accordingly. However, with today’s mgmt, it will not happen. It is FIA and not Bernie we should focus – seems like most people have not understood this.

          • DaveD (@daved) said on 20th March 2014, 1:00

            We don’t agree on the sound, but I can understand your view. I feel the same about the degrading tires, double points, etc. So I’m really not trying to be a jerk, I just don’t care about the noise as much.

    • Strontium (@strontium) said on 19th March 2014, 17:37


      Although I will still miss the roar of the engines as the red lights come on!

    • Michael (@freelittlebirds) said on 19th March 2014, 18:12

      I think they should hire sound engineers to “equalize” the sound to make it more appealing to TV viewers. I don’t want them to just make it LOUDER because that DOES NOT necessarily mean BETTER.

      They need to hire serious sound engineers who improve the sound just as they improve the picture and remove rain or make it lighter.

      • Allan said on 20th March 2014, 0:31

        I’ve been to Melbourne last weekend and I gotta say, the event had less people, less sponsors and less track side events than previous years… For the sponsors, it could be the insecurity as to whether F1 will remain in Melbourne but.. As a hardcore fan, I would attend next year for sure, but I’ve got a couple of friends that attended F1 last weekend for the first time and they were not impressed by the sound… I agree that the turbo sound amazing but when compared to the “Ultimate Speed Compatison” thing they do where they used a RB7, wow I could immediately see the excitement in their faces.. I know that sound does not make the car go faster. However, being able to hear the cars from the other side of the track, downshifting etc was really exciting as you could feel a race was going on at full heat! Now you see a few car go past and then a minute and a half of silence… I could not even notice the cars where coming until they were around 100m from me!

        The sound of the engine was certainly part of F1 that made people interested in attending the race track even for those who has no idea of racing…

    • Jay said on 20th March 2014, 2:29

      I was there. It was terrible! End of story. I didn’t pay a small fortune to see 5 sec a lap slower cars “wiz” around the tract. If I wanted that I would have stayed home and watched go carts!

    • Agreed ecw. It’s as simple as that.

    • Nickpkr251 said on 20th March 2014, 17:07

      Or just playback last year noise in TV, actually Bernie is pushing his next big part of selling F1 !
      heres is your ticket, would you like extra loud with that sir ? Think about it, he can sell real noise headphones on track, better yet choose your noise tribune, the seats can various degrees and as many speakers as the fan wish to listen, also floor shakers and later a hold a button device and sprinkle water/oil, tire explosions, 3 sec boost, all at customer expense at will.
      Wait is Maybe in this year videogame !

    • john parker said on 24th March 2014, 0:16

      I was at the Melbourne race.The engines dont sound bad,THEY SOUND PATHETIC and this was my last race unless the sound gets better.
      Prepare for empty stands if this is not rectified.Melbourne must be mad to renew its contract with this rubbish.I expect many other cities to pull out as well.
      F1 has self destructed!

    • Behzad said on 22nd March 2015, 22:40

      Bring Back The Awesome V10 s

      We Don’t Want your boring environmental agendas We Want Thunder We want POOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWEEEEERRRRRRRR !!!

      We Want Real Engines , No Puny 1.6 L Hatchback motors , No Fake Or simulated Noises ,


  2. TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 19th March 2014, 12:15

    I just don’t understand all this backlash at the sound. It’s like the sound is suddenly the be-all and end-all of the sport. Last year everyone was complaining that F1 was too predictable, not that they loved it because of the V8 engine noise.

    The first race was absolutely brilliant and these new F1 cars offer plenty of positives. A dip in engine volume is a worthy sacrifice.

    • Chipshopforks (@chipshopforks) said on 19th March 2014, 12:36

      The main improvement this year was not to be talking about tyre wear. There were so many other things happening that the tyre wear was a fairly small factor. It’s good to see F1 being on the cutting edge of a technology, and not just adapting the specifications in an attempt to artificially hamper the cars.

      • Michael (@freelittlebirds) said on 19th March 2014, 19:36

        +1 – it’s hilarious how tyres have been displaced by sound. Tyres affected the quality of the races. Sound affects the perceived entertainment and excitement. If in doubt, watch F1 muted and then with sound. It’s night and day…

    • TribalTalker (@tribaltalker) said on 19th March 2014, 13:12

      It’s not a sacrifice – it’s an improvement. My proof is that Bernie disagrees with me…

      • mateuss (@mateuss) said on 19th March 2014, 16:26

        I would say so as well, but for different more sound reasons:D (no pun intended)

        I seemed to have missed the bit were it was explained why louder is better.. Honestly, not once I’ve heard it. I am dying to know way these people think that louder noise is better, why, why is it better?

    • Rambler said on 19th March 2014, 13:19

      Often you don’t know what you got until you’re missing it.

      Sound of F1 cars has been one of the headturning things. That loud screaming sound from a ridiculously high revving engine. Don’t even try to to make it sound like no one cared about the sound before. It’s been a profound base of what makes an F1 car for a long long time. These v6 engines sound more bland than many road cars.

      • Mike (@mike) said on 19th March 2014, 13:46

        These v6 engines sound more bland than many road cars.

        Oh? Which ones?

        • David said on 19th March 2014, 14:23

          A Prius, for example.
          Joking aside, I think the engines sounds really cool. What I don’t like is the fact that crowd noise is capable of drowning out engine noise on the broadcast.
          I also didn’t know F1 tires squealed so much.

        • dennis (@dennis) said on 20th March 2014, 7:49


          Judging by the video from the main stand in Melbourne:
          Carburated Countach, F40, F50, E46 M3 (CSL), E30 M3, GEN II Viper, anything with a 427 Ford V8… Personal opinion of course, but still… The new F1 engines, while they don’t sound ‘bad’, aren’t really doing anything for me in the goosebumps department.

    • ECWDanSelby (@ecwdanselby) said on 19th March 2014, 15:54

      I think people are misunderstand this a little:

      Many do believe the engines sound great! The trouble is, we can’t HEAR them.

      I resorted to plugging in my PC speakers (which include a bass unit) in the hope I could hear a deeper growl, and a little more volume.

      Instead, all I got was Crofty’s loud reactions to everything, even louder.

      It really is a fundamental issue, this. It shouldn’t be completely ignored, and we shouldn’t just be told ‘oh get used to it’ (I’m looking at you, Claire Williams and Toto).

      I think a very simple adjustment in volume (on the FOM feed) would calm a lot of this whole debate down.

      The bottom line is (for me, at least) – this shouldn’t be ignored. It’s an issue when this many people have raised the point, and it’s an issue when many other categories are louder (and therefore giving off the impression of power) than the top tier.

    • Morty Vicar (@mortyvicar) said on 19th March 2014, 18:54

      @tommyb89 +1 from me.

      I’m astounded that Ecclestone is trying to undermine the sport and technical progress by wanting engines to be louder again – because of wasted energy! The man’s a throwback. F1 is doing the right thing by going down the technologically progressive route. The LMP1 cars are also quiet and I don’t hear anyone complaining about those.

      • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 20th March 2014, 8:43

        @mortyvicar – The diesel electric Audi R18 e-tron quattro is quiet, nearly silent, the petrol hybrid Toyota TS030 REALLY ISN’T!

        • Morty Vicar (@mortyvicar) said on 22nd March 2014, 10:39

          @william-brierty they’re very quiet compared to the Corvettes and Astons (and Spykers in years gone past). Not as whispery as the Audis true. It’ll be interesting to hear the new 4-cylinder hybrid Porsche.

          • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 22nd March 2014, 12:10

            @mortyvicar – From my extensive research last year, which essentially consisted of going to Silverstone a lot, I deduced that a Vantage GTE or particularly the rather NASCARish C6-R GTE was actually louder than an F1 car. The TS030 is not quiet, it’s just quiet compared to those things.

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 19th March 2014, 19:08

      The sound is different and less impressive but it’s not bad. Sure the V8s roaring were an event in itself but it’s gone and I can cope with that.

      Ask me if I’d like to get the V8 sound back I’ll tell you “yes I do” in a minute but if doesn’t come, I won’t spend my days moaning about the sound.

    • dennis (@dennis) said on 20th March 2014, 8:02

      There was nobody complaining about the sound of F1, because it hasn’t been an issue before. Whenever the FIA changes things, usually for idiotic reasons, they take something away, that nobody imagined could be taken away.
      6 or 7 years ago nobody could imagine that literally 90% of F1 cars would look downright ugly because of rule changes. In the times of V8, V10 and V12 engines nobody would have thought that at some point F1 might be getting ‘too’ quiet. Or even too slow!

      It’s exactly what Toto Wolff said about the points. They didn’t “think” it would produce such a backlash. They don’t really think at all. They just decide stuff, regardless of what the people who actually watch F1 and throw money at their sponsors think.

      @keithcollantine really got to the point in the headline. They act in ***** over pretty much everything. At the end there are half-***** regulations with ridicolous rule-changes that get overthrown a couple years later because apparently nobody really put serious thought into it… (No tyre change during the race? One-shot qualy?)

      What we end up with is a series that is riddled with corporate decisions to include all sorts of unrefined tech, that makes the cars too heavy. Which is exactly the opposite of what most of the car industry at the moment tries to achieve. Rules impossible for newcomers to understand quickly and bring nothing to the excitement of the sport.

    • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 20th March 2014, 8:40

      @tommyb89 – Certainly, the sound of the V6s is a lot better than I expected, and I really do like the sound, especially of the soulful wail of the Ferrari engine of the straights. In my opinion, following the ban on exhaust blown diffusers at the end of 2011 we had two seasons of F1 sounding the best it has ever sounded, and yes, I am including the V10 era when I say that, which I personally thought was at times slightly tinny and didn’t think was a patch on the quality of sound the V8s managed, ranging from deep and clearly defined downshifts through to an utterly glorious and blood-curdling scream that vibrated every seat in the grandstand.

      However the problem with the V6s is not the sound, but the noise, or rather lack of it. Not being a fan of loud noises (I am the one that asks the DJ to “turn it down a bit” when he asks if there are “any requests”) the noise was what worried me the most before I attended my first race back in ’85, but it subsequently became the reason I went to races. Twelve, ten or eight cylinders compelled me to keep going to races, and the intoxicating vibration from both the grandstands and the garages, for me, transcended the experience of spectating F1 from a merely visual hobby to a physical experience. I hope six cylinders manage to keep me hooked…

  3. BJ (@beejis60) said on 19th March 2014, 12:17

    In before Bernie clips microphones to the back of every car to boost sound.

    Or the Bub Rubb exhaust whistlers…

  4. Wheel Nut (@wheel-nut) said on 19th March 2014, 12:24

    I have to wonder whether the TV coverage has adjusted their sound optimally for the new engines yet, both in terms of the levels and the frequency of the sound? Sure these engines are about half the sound levels of the old ones but 134db is still pretty loud so that should come through loud and strong on the TV. I think the lower pitch of the sound may be both reducing the perceived level of noise further as well and also the pick up on the mics may not be adjusted to the new frequencies. Additionally is there an issue of the source of the sound moving to the rear of the car with the exhaust away from any onboard mics? I’m sure somebody with the relevant audio knowledge can comment.

    • Steve D (@schteeeeve) said on 19th March 2014, 13:25

      Good point. When I tuned in I thought exactly that if FOM used last years setups, then the cars could sound pitiful. In order to cope with the old engines, the track side mics will have been setup in a way that doesn’t clip (distort) even with the extreme volumes and pitches of the old cars. According the the FIA’s numbers, the new cars are 92.4% of the volume of the old ones. If they were genuinely at 92.4% of the volume of the old cars, surely there would be fewer complaints? I’d love to see other readings than the FIA’s press releases to verify if this is the case.

      Frequency wise, it probably depends on the microphones unique settings. In theory any compression or noise cancelling on the old cars would have been mostly geared at eliminating parts of the high end of the old engine scream. This could potentially have a negative effect on the V6’s, but again that could have been counteracted by bringing the levels up.

      But I think there’s something else at play too. Like in other TV sports, the goal of the broadcast is to translate the the experience for our screens, but not to depict something that isn’t happening. Making cars sound loud when they are not would be as bizarre as including fake cheering noise from a quiet crowd.

      • Psychotext (@textuality) said on 19th March 2014, 13:38

        Wasn’t that 92.4% of the decibel figure? In real terms that would make it less than half as loud as the old engines. That’s pretty much backed up in reality from what I’ve heard from those at the track.

      • mike-e (@mike-e) said on 19th March 2014, 13:44

        They are not 92.4% volume of last year as the decibel scale it a longitudinal scale. It is not a straight line but a curve. Every 3-4 decibels is twice as loud as the ones preceeding it from my understanding as an ex marshal. From what I know for certain, our track was limited to 105db, and 103db was fairly pleasant, 107db was pretty uncomfortable (standing at 45º and exactly 50cm from the exhaust exit) a very noticable difference.

        That said, im in the camp that likes the new sound. And being a trained sound engineer also am 100% confident that the poor tv sound is totally down to the broadcast engineer and mic placement. 136db is very, very loud still. Louder than a full symphony orchestra.

        • mike-e (@mike-e) said on 19th March 2014, 13:49

          Logarithmic scale sorry.

        • Finn G (@floring) said on 19th March 2014, 14:07

          As far as I know every point on the scale is 10 times the value of the previous one. So 101db = 10*100db. I might be wrong, though…
          The good thing about this noise issue is that I can hear better what’s being said between the drivers and the engineers.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 19th March 2014, 14:22

            I’m fairly unfamiliar with the workings of the decibel scale, but I’m pretty much certain that is wrong. These new engines are not 10^11 (100 billion I think) times quieter than before.

          • Finn G (@floring) said on 19th March 2014, 14:46

            Yeah, I was totally wrong. Sorry about that.
            Every 10 increments on the db scale is 10 times the previous recording. So 10 db->10, 20 db=100, 30 db->1000 and so on. However that is sound intensity. For perceived sound volume, greg c was right, 10 db means twice as loud.

        • greg c said on 19th March 2014, 14:22

          3-4 db increase is not twice as loud, most people with average hearing will only just notice a difference of 3 db,
          10 db increase is around the level that folks “perceive” twice as loud,

    • Tim M (@tim-m) said on 19th March 2014, 16:34

      As a point of reference, about a decade ago I was interviewing the live sound guys for a Marilyn Manson tour, and they were complaining that the band was incredibly loud onstage – as high as 130db.

      134db is very loud.

  5. Larry said on 19th March 2014, 12:27

    I think AUSGP was the first time I heard on tv the cheer of the spectators while the cars are running at full speed and it gives another dimension to the race.

  6. Yappy said on 19th March 2014, 12:31

    Seriously? Double points, DRS, fall apart tires, fuel limitations. These are the concern’s of the fanatic. I drive a 1975 Falcon with a 5 liter V8, which has the quickness of cheap Kia with a 1.8 liter engine. It’s called evolution. Engines are becoming more powerful. So if they want to keep around the 1 1/2 hour race and limited speeds for safety then you need to drop the engine capacity. BTW the old XB 302 Falcon sounds fantastic.

    • Mashiat (@) said on 19th March 2014, 13:22

      Wrong. If you look at the next generation of supercars, most of them are going to be Hypercars with V8 engines. Only a very select few are still using V12s or V10s.

      • craig-o (@craig-o) said on 19th March 2014, 14:36

        @mashiat I don’t think you’re looking at the right hypercars. The McLaren P1 and I assume the Ferrari The Ferrari are all using hybrid engines with energy recovery systems. You know, the ones that are in F1 cars now?

        • Mashiat (@) said on 19th March 2014, 14:40

          That’s is the point I’m making. Correct me if I’m wrong but most cars are going in the direction of F1 and not the opposite. And also correct me if I’m wrong but does the McLaren P1 have DRS? And the Ferrari KERS? I rest my case.

          • electrolite (@electrolite) said on 19th March 2014, 16:04

            Aren’t you all making the same point?

          • Yappy said on 20th March 2014, 1:15

            I have no idea what @mashiat is commenting on. The first word being”Wrong” and then he goes on to point out engines are evolving(I think). Unless he is saying that a 39 yr old V8 can still hold it’s own to a modern small capacity engine. Granted an old V8 can has more torque than new small engines which means that hill climbing is quicker, but on the flat newer small engines are quicker. Interestingly my wife wants to race me in her newer Corolla.

  7. Joshua Mesh (@joshua-mesh) said on 19th March 2014, 12:32

    Sound is important because… erm. Well I cant think of any reasons right now, so please just take my word on it.

    • Renee said on 19th March 2014, 19:54

      It’s like trying to explain to a total novice why car enthusiasts (mostly) like rear wheel drive vs front wheel drive.

      Though they aren’t IMHO the new engines just sound weak. Usually in cars, loud = powerful and quiet = weak.

  8. Slava (@slava) said on 19th March 2014, 12:35

    I am against quieter new engines but at least for this year nothing should be changed.
    Small teams do not need extra costs to implement new exhaust system. Moreover, I am pretty sure that in 2-5 races we will get used to this sound.
    I definetely like the range of sound. But now I doubt that it is worth visiting F1 race this year. It will be much cheaper to attend some other races and have the same quality of sound.

  9. I really like the sound of the new engines. Sure they don’t sound as good as the old turbos and even the V10’s but I think they are an improvement over the high pitched whining you got with the V8’s over the last few years. Keith raised the point in the article but I think the fact that each of the three engines has a distinctive sound is really great, a vast improvement over the homogeneous sounds all the engines produced before. I also enjoyed being able to hear the crowd as well; the way they roared when Ricciardo crossed the line on pole was fantastic to hear.

  10. Slr (@slr) said on 19th March 2014, 12:40

    I don’t like the sound of the cars, but Formula One has much bigger problems than the noise of the engines.

    • greg c said on 19th March 2014, 14:26


      • greg c said on 19th March 2014, 14:30

        I do like the sound of some of the cars, the Williams on-boards with it boosting its little heart out sounds cool, some of the passing by sounds , meh, pftttttt,
        but 100% agree with slr that there are much bigger problems

    • ECWDanSelby (@ecwdanselby) said on 19th March 2014, 15:58

      I’d argue that that’s not necessarily the case.

      You have to think about first impressions for this season.

      You turn on the race/qualy, and the first thing you do is wonder where the noise has gone.

      That’s a big issue.

  11. hey (@hey) said on 19th March 2014, 12:44

    I have to say as a TV viewer, I love the new sound. Before, engine noise was a constant scream overwhich the commentator talked; and that was the sound of F1. Now you have a throatier noise in which you can hear the turbo/ERS working, and you can also hear tyre screech, and the crowd reaction, and even sometimes the trackside commentator. It helps to make it more like a real-world event and takes something away from the layman impression that it’s “just watching a load of cars going round”. Given the prices for attending, I’d wager that the people who go to GP are the more core fans who would come regardless. Meanwhile for the millions who watch it on TV, the new noise (IMO) is certainly an improvement which can only increase the “passing-trade” which FOM seems to be wanting so much.

    • W-K (@w-k) said on 19th March 2014, 14:07

      Totally agree.

      Also, it must be pointed out that some motor racing circuits are under threat from their neighbours and local governments because of the “excessive sound”. Brands Hatch and Spa are the ones I can remember immediately.

  12. jhg103 (@joshgeake) said on 19th March 2014, 12:46

    Ecclestone’s “naked hostility” to these engines and the noise is almost as open as your own naked hostility against him and his double points. I realise this blog does not have to be impartial but your stubbornness towards that rule and snide negativity towards Ecclestone is really starting to grind.

    Sometimes this blog desperately struggles for balance.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 19th March 2014, 13:04

      @joshgeake If it happens that my point of view doesn’t agree with his that’s the way it is. It’s certainly something I’ve noticed recently but I’m not going to change it just because some people are going to leap to the unreasonable and inaccurate assumption that I’ve got something against Bernie Ecclestone.

      Nothing in the above comes remotely close to being ‘snide’ to any but the most thin-skinned. Which is definitely not something you could accuse Ecclestone of being.

    • matt90 (@matt90) said on 19th March 2014, 13:08

      Balance? Did you not see the results of the poll? There was certainly no balance in that. Why would any fan of sport not show stubbornness towards such a rule?

      And I very rarely hear people speak in defence of Bernie. The most they can normally manage is point out that a long time ago he did some good things for the sport.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 19th March 2014, 13:16

      @joshgeaker, yes @keithcollantine has time and again failed to balance the view of the 96.5% of people who are against the the double points with the overwhelming 1.5% of people who quite correctly feel that double points for the last race will attract millions of new viewers who will watch every race and lobby their local TV station to provide more F1 programming. More balance please Keith.

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 19th March 2014, 13:58

      I don’t think @Keithcollantine needs to struggle for balance, but he usually is pretty good at just finding it; in this case I would say that Ecclestone is the one being unbalanced, hence a balanced article might easily be critical of his claims, especially when contrasted with his actions, or reputation.

    • MaroonJack (@maroonjack) said on 19th March 2014, 14:05

      @joshgeake False perception of “balance” is the core problem of modern journalism. Everyone tries to present both sides as if they were equal, while for the most part they aren’t. Here we have a reasonable opinion that all races should be worth the same, and a crazy opinion that some races should only be worth half. Presenting the two as equal creates an illusion of balance, but it’s detached from reality.

      It’s the same with many other topics and I’ll jump straight to a controversial one: climate change. We have a scientific consensus that it does happen and that it’s largely man-made. There is an overwhelming amount of peer reviewed studies substantiating global warming. The scientific research for the other side is almost nonexistent, yet media always manage to find some corporate shill who will say otherwise, just to present “fair and balanced” view of the problem. If “balance” goes against reason, I choose reason.

    • Tiomkin said on 19th March 2014, 15:36

      Keith is entitled to his opinion as is everyone. He usually puts a ‘for’ and ‘against’ in all articles, then voices his feelings. I can’t see what more the guy can do to put out a balanced view. To hear you complain you would think Keith was running a crusade against Bernie. I suggest to look at old articles on this site, then feel free to apologize.

    • ECWDanSelby (@ecwdanselby) said on 19th March 2014, 16:00

      I think you’re forgetting this is in fact a ‘blog’.

    • grat said on 19th March 2014, 16:35

      Even the team bosses were surprised about how universally panned the double-points rule has been. I don’t think it’s fair to blame Keith for representing the opinion of the majority of the fanbase.

    • Megatron said on 23rd March 2014, 20:21

      Keith your article is the best I have found so far about the sound issue! The poor quality of the TV broadcast, that´s what I thought myself. Every spectator of the Jerez test event who posted a video on youtube did a better job sound-wise than the official TV squad of F1 in Melbourne-strange, isn´t it? Could it be that Ecclestone ORDERED that to get the reason to start a new sound controversy?? Ecclestone not present at the venue, nevertheless whining? Embarassing, but no surprise. His stubborn-dictatorwise behaviour and his divide et impera-attitude just irks me.
      Personally, I like the deep humming of a V6 turbo more than the high-pitched scream of n/a engines, I won´t miss them. If the new turbo engine would sound like their 80´s predecessors we will look into a bright future.

  13. antonyob (@antonyob) said on 19th March 2014, 12:46

    Sound is the money shot. It’s not the most important thing but it is disappointing. The unintended consequence of the new regulations which on the whole seem positive. F1 is a TV sport and if TV demands more noise it will get more noise. I for one would welcome more screaming less burbling.

    • greg c said on 19th March 2014, 15:11

      I think overtaking, battles, edge of seats “CMON” and chequered flags are more money shots, sound is just a byproduct is it not ? . I feel that the days of all consuming noise levels are a welcome memory, I just got back from a QOTSA gig at around 120 db and i would have enjoyed it more had it not hurt, Surely some clever sound tech will fix the TV sound up so its gnarling and throaty and whistlely and screechy and cheery, I feel with the screaming engines of past (last year) that thats all there was, screaming, I for one am happy to have more for less.

  14. Jake (@jakehardyf1) said on 19th March 2014, 12:47

    The lower decibels is impossible to avoid with a turbocharged engine.

    Naturally aspirated will always make more noise for a few reasons. The exhaust flow goes straight out the exhaust pipes. The energy of the exhaust is basically heat, light and sonic energy.

    The new cars, however, require the turbo fan to be forced by the exhaust energy, which in turn will dampen sound, transfer heat and absorb sonic energy. The energy of the exhaust is also powering the ERS, so there is energy transfer there as well. The sound has to be lower, and thats the laws of physics at work.

    Get used to it. I like hearing the spool, the waste gate, the tyres squealing upon lock up.

  15. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 19th March 2014, 12:50

    Great article Keith, but I fear Formula 1’s fondness for knee-jerking will prevail.

    I haven’t heard the engines in person yet, but one advantage for me personally is that I could take my daughters to a race one day. I remember when all our family went to the 1994 race in Spa, me and my brother had a great weekend, but my 11-year-old sister was miserable most of the time, mostly because of the noise levels (Ok, the weather could have been better, too :-).

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