Further exhaust changes considered to boost noise

2014 F1 season

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Red Bull Ring, 2014The FIA is considering a new approach to increase the noise produced by Formula One cars.

Mercedes already tested a large ‘megaphone’ exhaust to recover some of the lost engine noise due to this year’s more efficient new engines. However it was not deemed successful.

However the FIA is still investigating other means of increasing the volume according to race director Charlie Whiting.

“A solution that has been tested on a dyno is to split the exhaust,” he said.

“We’ve [currently] got one tailpipe in the centre of the car where all the exhaust gasses come out. We did this purposefully to minimise the effect of the exhaust gasses [on aerodynamics] because, as you know, we’ve had lots of problems with the rules on exhausts.

“What they’ve found is that by splitting that exhaust, you do get more noise. It would seem to work, especially with megaphones, be they round or rectangular, to some extent. The next step is to look at the feasibility of doing it. If you’re going to put a megaphone or two on the back of a car, there’s a lot of interaction between wing pillars, rear wings, monkey seat wings, rear impact structures, rear lights.

“All those sorts of things would have to be re-engineered, potentially, to accommodate two exhaust pipes instead of one. It’s not a straightforward job. And I think the next step it to assess whether or no everyone feels this is a worthwhile thing to do.”

Whiting said they do not expect the solution to impair the efficiency of the new engines, which was a key focus of the switch to the current power unit regulations.

“From what I understand it won’t make the engines any less efficient,” he said. “It’s just a matter of handling the exhaust gasses in a different way.”

“Whether or not we need to go that route, I certainly don’t hear quite so much noise – if I may use that word – going around about it. So we’ll see. If that’s what everybody wants we’ll have to do what we can to achieve it.”

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41 comments on Further exhaust changes considered to boost noise

  1. Dr. Jekyll (@dr-jekyll) said on 4th July 2014, 12:15

    rev the freakin’ engines higher and they’ll sound cooler… no more fuel flow limits, and no rev limits.
    I want engines running at the brink of what’s possible, balancing the performance carefully on a knifes’ edge, not walking down a sidewalk

    • Dr. Jekyll (@dr-jekyll) said on 4th July 2014, 12:16

      V6 turbos have sounded awesome in the past, no reason that it has to be different now…

      • nidzovski (@nidzovski) said on 4th July 2014, 12:30

        You know that there were no energy harvesting in the past, don’t you…

        • kpcart said on 4th July 2014, 14:28

          its not about energy harvest, it is about engine efficiency. the fuel flow rate is one problem, get rid of that and the engines may rev to 15,000 rpm like they were intended. the formula this year is stupid, they want to go green, but they could have done the same with v8, v10 or whatever – by implementing fuel and fuel flow rate limits. even an i4 formula would probably sound better, just watch motogp. v6 is the least interesting sounding of the common engine configurations – as the combustion cycle is too smooth. the current f1 cars are not very relevant to road cars at all – they are not supposed to be relevant, so why v6? why didn’t they just reduce the v8s to 1.6l and implemented fuel constraints? it is all the same technology – its not like f1 is using hybrid diesel configurations, they are using 100 year old combustion engine technology. f1 has lost the plot, it is trying to be something it should not be. Lemans is doing it 100 times better when it comes to modern efficiency technology, it is showing f1 up, f1 should stick to being a ‘show’ of ‘the best’. bring back the fastest cars and the best racing sound.

    • Dizzy said on 4th July 2014, 12:31

      You may want that but the engines builders don’t.

      I saw something a few months ago where representatives of Renault & Mercedes said they felt the fuel flow limit should be lower than what it currently is. The fuel efficiency formula is also said to be a big thing for Honda & a big part of what drew them back to F1.

      If the engine guys want the fuel flow, rev-limits & all that efficiency then do you say no & give them an engine formula there not interested in building engines for?

      The engine manufacturer’s asked for this because its all important to them so anyone who dislike it should perhaps watch something else because its a formula that isn’t going to be changed anytime soon.

      I didn’t care at all for the last V8 engines, they sounded horrible, Had no torque & it was overall a horrid formula. This new V6 turbo era is better, They sound better, They have torque to once again challenge the drivers right foot & its overall a much more interesting formula.

      • kpcart said on 4th July 2014, 14:32

        the engines builders want what they think they can best build to make them win. Mercedes were not winning, and nearly left the sport, so pushed hard for a new formula.
        you say the last v8s had no torque, so what?? this is f1, since when is torque important? max horsepower is most important. and you are in a minority if you think the new engines sound better. the torque is not a challenge for the drivers with modern engine mapping. please explain why you feel the sound is better – to me they sound less race car like, are annoyingly quieter and sound inferior to lower catergory motorsports – which is something new to f1s ego.

        • David not Coulthard (@davidnotcoulthard) said on 4th July 2014, 16:20

          since when is torque important?

          Since before a motor racing event took place on a permanent circuit other than Brooklands.

        • Baron (@baron) said on 4th July 2014, 16:46

          It’s time to read a book on Torque vs Horsepower methinks….

        • Dizzy said on 4th July 2014, 17:22

          the torque is not a challenge for the drivers with modern engine mapping.

          You clearly have not been watching F1 this year then because the back end of the cars have been moving around a lot more under acceleration & suffering a lot more wheelspin mainly because of the increased torque & many drivers have commented on the torque making the cars harder to handle.

          please explain why you feel the sound is better, to me they sound less race car like

          These new engines sound very nice in my opinion & DO still sound like race cars.

          The old V8′s sounded horrible in my view, They were just an agonizingly loud & annoying scream & they all sounded a bit flat. It was all just a very unsatisfying very loud, painful screaming noise which I never enjoyed.

          I always felt the GP2 cars had a much better sound than the F1 V8′s, They were not as loud but the actual tone of there engines was much better. Same with the current GP3 cars.

    • Breno (@austus) said on 4th July 2014, 12:42

      I dont think higher revs will increase the sound all that much, at best a slightly higher pitch. Due to the MGU-H, the exhaust loses all the energy, thats why the engines are so quiet.

  2. Aqib (@aqibqadeer) said on 4th July 2014, 12:16

    i personally would love to see dual exhausts

  3. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 4th July 2014, 12:17

    I think the biggest problem is that the FIA are all suffering from poor hearing.

    Not because the cars sound too quiet, but because they seem to fail to understand that we don’t about about the noise of the cars anywhere near as much as we do double points and standing Safety Car restarts…

  4. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall) said on 4th July 2014, 12:17

    I can’t say I care about the engine noise anymore when standing restarts are a part of the game and double points don’t appear to be reversed anytime soon.

  5. Sri Harsha (@harsha) said on 4th July 2014, 12:18

    Let the engines run at 18000 unlike 10500 RPM the sounds comes out

    • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 4th July 2014, 12:32

      The sound will be muted because it’s still passing through the Turbo and the cars will run out of fuel because of the wasted fuel.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 4th July 2014, 12:45

      Just look at what revs the teams are using right now – its far lower than what is allowed, because its optimized for best efficiency – allowing higher revs would just mean a bigger gap between what is allowed and what makes sense.

      • Sri Harsha (@harsha) said on 4th July 2014, 13:45

        @bascb
        Then simple thing to do is Allowing teams to adjust to the New Higher level of REVS , FIA can’t play the Game on two ends basically, The Green concept is what making F1 sick for obvious reasons.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 4th July 2014, 14:02

          Wrong on 2 accounts @harsha.

          First of all, the teams already can use higher revs then they are using, but they choose not to to be more efficient (compare staying in 4th gear longer before shifting to 5th gear. You use more fuel but do not really go faster).

          The second part is that “the green concept” is somehow making F1 sick. New, modern engines were badly needed for F1. Otherwise only a few companies were even interested in making them (that would lower overall quality of competiton) and many modern high performance cars also go hybrid to get most out of the available energy in a litre of fuel. F1 had to follow suit.
          Off course there is a lot that could have been done better (IMO leaving more freedom to choose the overall concept etc), but the basic presumptions are right.

          What really does make F1 sick is on the one side the unsustainable financial model, sucking the tracks dry and rewarding spending by awarding more prize money, and on the other hand the wish to make F1 more of a “show”

          • Sri Harsha (@harsha) said on 4th July 2014, 16:08

            @bascb
            Im not saying the V6′s are Sick i should have worded better
            But the regulations and other small things and in the pursuit of making green FIA is also trying to make mockery of F1 by changing the Sport as “SHOW” . That’s where i was getting frustrated as i was watching from 1998, ever tightening of Unnecessary regulations for the name of cost cutting when the cost cutting is not any where near they are wanted

        • beneboy (@beneboy) said on 4th July 2014, 14:04

          Teams don’t use the available revs now because the engines operate best at several thousand RPM below the limit. Increasing the limit will not change anything as the teams aren’t going to run engines at 18,000 RPM if they produce more torque and power at 10-12,000 RPM.
          The “green concept” is brilliant – cars with less downforce and more torque is exactly what F1 has needed for the last 20 years and we’re now reaping the benefits with far better on track action than we’ve had for years and new manufacturers entering the sport – if we could get rid of DRS & double points then all the better but the current engine/power units are brilliant.

          • kpcart said on 4th July 2014, 14:35

            far better on tack action??? have you watched the last 20 years f1???
            rubbish. the action is no better at all.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 4th July 2014, 16:18

            Yes, kpcart, I have watched F1 pretty much exactly 20 years now, and so far the action this year has easily been comparable to the best of the years I saw.

          • JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 4th July 2014, 16:26

            @beneboy This is exactly why I think the FIA should immediately announce that the rev limit is increased to 25,000RPM because it will make no difference whatsoever to the teams or the race, but it removes all of the regular comments about how the rev limit of 15,000 is spoiling the sound etc!

          • beneboy (@beneboy) said on 4th July 2014, 23:07

            Yes kpcart, I have watched the last 20 years of F1 (plus a few more before those) and, in my opinion, the racing this year has been better than most of what I’ve seen for a long time.

  6. RogerPGR said on 4th July 2014, 12:21

    They should just leave things as they are as honestly the engines don’t sound that bad at all & there in no way as quiet as some people like to say they are.

    I heard these engines in person at Barcelona & will be at Silverstone tomorrow & I really like the way these engines sound, The sound is so much better than the old V8 engines which sounded really flat & dull.
    Yeah fine they were really loud but they were so loud you could never actually enjoy them, Especially since you had to wear ear protection. With these new units been quieter (Although nowhere near silent) & not requiring ear protection you can now actually enjoy the sound of the engines as well as all those extra little sounds.

    If they put all the effort on simply making them louder but in doing so ruin the noise that they make so they all go back to sounding flat, dull & identical as the V8′s did then I don’t see that as been a positive step.

  7. Keith Campbell (@keithedin) said on 4th July 2014, 12:31

    As we all know there are many underlying problems in F1, do to with costs of running a team, levelling the playing field between teams, etc etc. But if they are looking for the relative “low hanging fruit” – they still haven’t got the priorities right. From what i’ve heard from the fans the things they care about outside of the major issues, in rough priority order are:

    1) Double points
    2) DRS/degrading tyres (debatably)
    3) Standing starts after safety cars (a brand new addition because there wasn’t enough on their plate already)
    4) Engine noise

    Personally i don’t really care about the noise, i certainly don’t want the teams to spend much money working on noise ‘improvement’ solutions or to increase the noise at the cost of efficiency/performance (however marginal it might be)

  8. Bill (@billza71) said on 4th July 2014, 12:51

    I saw once a documentary on the making of the Lexus LFA exhaust louder by making a slight echo area too boost the sound of the engine noise, surely the brains of F1 could maybe design to incorporate the same in to the exit side of the car. Know before you say oh the LFA is not turbo, this I know but they did still have a problem with it’s sound. There are also other formula’s that use turbo engines that sound awesome, why can’t F1 take some ideas from those beautiful sounding engines. Come On F1 designers, put your thinking caps on and bring back the V6 Turbo notes of the passed.

    • JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 4th July 2014, 16:41

      @billza71

      surely the brains of F1 could maybe design to incorporate the same in to the exit side of the car

      Indeed, and surely the top engineering minds in the world could also make my bathroom scales slightly more reliable and my caravan door latch work a bit better. Why aren’t they working on these important problems, it’s not as if they’re busy doing anything else useful is it?

  9. JohnBt (@johnbt) said on 4th July 2014, 13:43

    Basically the new rules have been turning fans off. Well, the damage is done and I don’t think any improvements will be noticeable. So either fans have to accept or switch off, there’s not much choice. There’s a handful who like the new F1 but not as much as those who don’t like it or else why are they seeking to reward fans with new creative ideas. I sense F1 is on a huge decline from now.

  10. Michael Brown said on 4th July 2014, 14:39

    Honestly the new engines sound awful on TV and that’s the fault of the broadcasters.

  11. Ray said on 4th July 2014, 18:29

    I have been following F1 from the 1960′s and actually going to F1 races for some years, Spa and Monaco in particular. A live F1 is my big annual treat, but this year it was ruined for me by the astonishing lack of sound track. I do not plan to go to another F1 race as a consequence – a major part of the spectacle and atmosphere has gone, for me. I wonder how many long-time fans feel similarly? I fear that the FIA may be facing a massive voting of feet once all the fans have experienced the new ‘green’ cars.
    I did, however, go to the Goodwood FoS last weekend and listened to some nostalgia!

  12. marc512 (@marc512) said on 4th July 2014, 19:16

    Replace turbo with supercharger, have two nice looking exhausts poking out the back above the side pods (Similar to the ferrari F60)

    It may sound stupid but imagine all that low end torque lol!

  13. As a person who will almost certainly never see an F1 race from the grand stand, this point about the noise is more or less irrelevant. Health and safety issues would tell you that the lower noise level is better. I believe many F1 drivers have permanent hearing damage. If that is true, then surely that would tell you that loud is bad and that F1 cars should be made to meet sound limits lower than what they currently produce, not louder!
    But really, this issue about how loud F1 engines are is really a red herring. One of the statistics quoted by the FIA is that F1 is one of the most watched sports in the world, and most of the world watch F1 on TV, where sound levels are all controlled. No one “out there” actually cares about how loud it sounds at the track, if they want it loud they just wind up the volume.
    However, the real issue here is that those hundreds of millions that watch it do so on TV … at least for a little while longer. That last bit, the “at least for a littel while longer” is what Bernie should be worried about, but since he hasn’t mentioned it I’m guessing he isn’t. Those hundreds of millions of people watching is an advertisers dream, and corporations pay dearly for that … at least they will for a little while longer anyway. The trend seems to be that what the FIA want is almost no one to watch F1 races. Well, if the FIA did want hundreds of millions of people to watch F1 races why do they sell the broadcast rights to broadcasters that discourage hundreds of millions of people from seeing the races?
    Since F1 is largely advertising supported, I would have thought that restricting F1 broadcasts to only those that can afford to watch it wasn’t in the interests of their current funding model, but no, I’m obviously wrong. What will the sports radio broadcasters be talking about on Monday? Football, rubgy, Super V8 cars, Speedway, stuff like that! F1? Nope! Not a chance! Why talk about something the majority of the public can’t see? The F1 races here are hidden away in an obscure corner of broadcast land, so that only someone who has the income and is a bit lost will find it. The recent race where Massa crashed into … who was it? Perez? Well, whoever it was isn’t that important (if it was important then why hide the race so no one could see it?) it was on the last lap of the where was it Austria? anyway, some obscure Grand Prix somewhere, nearly wiping out Vettel in the process is a classic example. Such a dramatic finish to a race … surely a memorable race and well worth talking over? Nope! Hardly anyone here saw it. See that! Hundreds of millions of people watching those adverts as the broadcasters do the replays of Massa and someone else crashing right on the last lap of some GP? Nope. The way the new F1 funding model works is that the less people that see F1 the better.
    Anyway, a miracle aside, neither I, nor the majority of the New Zealand public, nor all the other places in the world where F1 is broadcast on only Pay TV channels will see any of this week’s F1 race. So while the rest of the world will be watching the adverts supporting World Cup Football on Free to Air TV, F1 advertisers will be pleased to know almost no one here will see a single bit of their advertising, and the future is they will be obscure and irrelevant. Of course, they could put their advertising into fields of endevour that are seen on Free to Air TV … like Super V8 cars and Speedway.

  14. JohnH (@johnh) said on 4th July 2014, 21:47

    I just got home from the practice day at Silverstone, having gone there wondering whether all the fuss about noise was real. To me, the sound on the TV is pretty good, when the volume is turned up.

    When the cars rolled out for first practice, they sounded pretty good. There’s complexity in the noise, and the different engines sound unique which is great. Yes, they are quieter than before, but I can listen comfortably without earplugs. Plus the cars sneak up on you because all the noise is ejected rearwards, meaning you only get the whoosh of the turbo giving you any hint there’s a car coming.

    However, there were a couple of parade laps of some beautiful older cars celebrating the 50th Silverstone race. Bringing up the rear was a recent Red Bull. The sheer ear splitting thunder that car brought was stunning, and I miss it. So did everyone else in the stand.

    Bring back the noise!

    • AlexT (@alext) said on 4th July 2014, 22:31

      Just came back from free practice and basically you took the words out of my mouth. On top of all you just said, I feel a bit depressed that i actually enjoyed GP2 practice a lot more than the F1 practice. The thunder that comes with the cars weighs a lot in the show. Just my honest opinion

      • lauren2013 said on 5th July 2014, 1:13

        i was also at silverstone today & certainly do not miss those old v8s, I really like the sound of the new v6 power units.

        when they rolled out the red bull with the old v8 it reminded me of just how bad they sounded & just how painfully loud they were. i could never enjoy going to f1 races with the old v8s because the damn things were so ridiculously loud that you couldn’t take in or enjoy it, they just sounded like a very loud noise.

        having to go to a race & wear ear protection which mutes the sound which many claim they go to see just always seemed stupid to me, i want to take in & enjoy the sounds & not have to try & make them quieter to stop them killing my ears.

        today when the old red bull v8 came out i was in so much pain because of how loud it was that i had to cover my ears & wince & could in no way enjoy the track parade which was going on with the track parade & that was always an issue for me with those cars.

        as to the new v6 turbo power units, i went in expecting the worst yet came away pleasantly surprised. I thought they sounded fine & i really enjoyed the noise they made & because they are quieter they were not painful to listen to so i could actually enjoy watching them out on track.

        outside of the noise these new 2014 cars are so much fun to watch sitting trackside. watching them squirm about as drivers are trying to get the power down, watching them sliding about & drivers having to really hustle the cars reminded me of watching the f1 cars of the 80s before big downforce & electronic aids took over into the 90s. there a joy to watch & i had a brilliant day :)

        Won’t be there tomorrow or sunday as i’ve got some family stuff going on (Daughters getting married), But i’ll be back for the testing next week.

        • lauren2013 said on 5th July 2014, 1:17

          oh just on the gp2 cars, i always thought they sounded better than the f1 cars anyway.

          there not overly loud so are not painful to listen to & you can actually enjoy the sound they produce which is a very nice tone.

          the old f1 v8 engines were just very loud, the actual tone they produced was not that good, Not that you could really ever enjoy it anyway as i describe above.

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