Potential to increase engine noise ‘extremely limited’

2014 F1 season

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Shanghai International Circuit, 2014Formula One engine designers warned the scope to increase the amount of noise produced by the current units is “extremely limited”.

The quieter sound of the new engines has been one of the talking points of the season with some fans regretting the loss of the louder V8s and commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone criticising the change.

The FIA has begun a consultation process to investigate what could be done to change the noise produced by the new V6 turbos. But Mercedes-Benz HPE engineering director Andy Cowell warned the configuration of the new units poses a major obstacle.

“The principal reason why the engine’s quieter is the turbine wheel and the muffling effect you get from that,” he said. “And perhaps one of the key technologies for recycling the waste eergy that would normal go down the tailpipe so it’s a key aspect of the technology we’ve got.”

“There are other things we can do, though, with the tailpipe, perhaps, to change the noise,” he added.

Renault Sport F1 deputy managing director Rob White said there was little opportunity to increase the volume produced by the current designs:

“The noise of the current engine is a consequence of the overall layout, the architecture and so forth.

“I think in terms of the possible adjustments to change the noise it makes I think we’re at the beginning of a consultative process that will kick off in about an hour’s time. Andy’s alluded to tailpipe changes, that’s something that could be a way to go.

“I think the scope to fundamentally and profoundly alter the noise of the engine is extremely limited by the type of technology that we have deployed. And therefore I think we need to be realistic about the scope of any action that we might take.

“But of course we’re sensitive to the subject and we’ll certainly participate in any of the studies that might lead to actions being taken.”

Cowell said increasing the current rev limit of 15,000rpm would not have an effect. “The fundamental reason is the fuel flow rate formula, so you get 100kg per hour once you’re at 10,500 rpm.”

“If you rev an engine faster you generate more friction and friction is the enemy of an engine and the enemy for a race car because you have to reject it to the radiators and there’s an aerodynamic deficit from doing that.

“None of us want to be below 10,500 but none of us want to be at high revs because all you do is create heat.”

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43 comments on Potential to increase engine noise ‘extremely limited’

  1. Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 18th April 2014, 12:42

    I was thinking about this yesterday, and this could be a potentially dangerous idea, but, what if they cut two slits on either side of the exhaust pipe, so that the vibrations would cause them to bang together. I’ve seen some people have it on their road cars exhaust pipes for this exact reason, to make one hell of a racket.

    It could sound terrible, but at least it would be louder! ahah

  2. timi (@timi) said on 18th April 2014, 13:47

    Who cares. F1 is about racing at the end of the day. Sure the noise helps, but it isn’t essential. I’d rather have close racing than loud processions. If it’s one or the other, then my mind’s made up. Time to end this nonsensical argument once and for all

  3. AldoH said on 18th April 2014, 14:21

    As a musician AND a racing fan, I can understand this issue. One thing is to listen to your favorite record at stadium volume, full blasting the speakers, and something totally different is to listen to that same song being played live, when the bass shakes your beer and the low drum hit you in the chest. That is sound pressure level. Still you can listen and enjoy the song at full volume at home, but the magic is just not there. I guess that’s the reason why so many people still pay for tickets for music concerts in an era of downloaded music.
    What I am trying to say is that since the very beginning the experience of racing is linked to the sound of the engine. It’s the bass drum hitting you in the chest, it’s an important part of the experience. It doesn’t matter if the engines this year are more powerful that last year: as an spectator you remove the sound pressure level and what you have is a lame mp3 encoded for your ipod.
    I remember driving near Interlagos and bring able to hear the amazing roar of those engines, and the adrenaline pumping. Our hearing the sheer power of that rotor engine at Mans. Maybe the engineers are happy with the magic way to optimize energy with these new engines, but to me are just the low quality mp3 sounding through my laptop speakers, when what I want is the bass shaking the floor.

  4. Bullfrog (@bullfrog) said on 18th April 2014, 14:21

    Talk about wasted energy – why are all these engineers and boffins even having to talk about this?
    Just reduce the Bernie noise – maybe the German judge can help with that.

  5. mateuss (@mateuss) said on 18th April 2014, 14:23

    So people and the media haven’t found a new non-issue whine about? That must mean F1 is doing good at the moment, probably.

    Either way, this whole episode, I think, shows why the fans were unsuccessful at getting the double points rule thrown out straight away. Most people, largely of the non fanatic type, but not exclusively so, are simpletons, easily distracted by trivialities, guided by sensationalist media and people with obvious political agendas.

  6. Breno (@austus) said on 18th April 2014, 15:22

    I have a solution. We add parts to restrict engine noise and add powerful speakers. Then, the teams are free to play whatever they want, V16s, V12s, V10s, V8s, Rolling Stones, whatever they want, as loud as they want.

  7. Raptor said on 18th April 2014, 15:57

    I’m tired of the constant bickering in F1. Scrap these stupid homologation rules. The best racing will come from engine development. This season is already a foregone conclusion hence. I won’t bother to watch. The Fia has now stuffed up we too.

  8. tvm (@) said on 18th April 2014, 23:52

    First time I ever head a f1 v10 scream by at 19k RPM it became clear to me that the noise was actually irrelevant, those things were far to noisy to be any fun, this was not about a noise for noise sake, but simply because it was the most efficient way.

    Likewise the lack of noise from the current engines should be irrelevant (it will take away some spectacle though, not sure thats good for f1, f1 has always been the reference sound for a truly angry racing car), what is not relevant however is that any petrol head can tell that these new packages are being short shifted all the way up and rarely run to their max and that is NOT the sound of pinnacle, need to drop that 100l/h rule and let the engines roll to the max.

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