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Aussie GP organizers: New, quieter F1 cars may have breached contract

Mar 17, 2014, 1:10 PM EDT

Nico Rosberg,  Daniel Ricciardo AP

Saturday night’s Australian Grand Prix seemingly had everythinga dominant performance from Nico Rosberg, stellar efforts from several of the sport’s young guns, and stunning defeats for some of its veteran superstars.

But it didn’t have the distinctive scream of V-8 engines, which have been jettisoned in favor of V-6 turbocharged engines for the start of Formula One’s new technological era.

The V-6 engines definitely made for a different noise around Albert Park and that’s apparently annoyed Aussie GP organizers – with one of them having gone as far to say that the quieter cars may have breached their contracts with Bernie Ecclestone and Formula One Management.

In an interview with Australia’s Fairfax Radio network, Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO Andrew Westacott said that in addition, the turbo-powered machines have also robbed some of the mystique from its event.

“One aspect of it was just a little bit duller than it’s ever been before and that’s part of the mix and the chemistry that they’re going to have to get right,” Westacott said to Fairfax, as relayed by Reuters.

“[Aussie GP chairman] Ron [Walker] spoke to [Ecclestone] after the race and said the fans don’t like it in the venue…We pay for a product, we’ve got contracts in place, we are looking at those very, very seriously because we reckon there has probably been some breaches.”

Reaction to the new sound of Formula One – more of a throatier growl these days – has been mixed among team owners and fans.

During this weekend’s event broadcast, one of those team owners – Force India’s Vijay Mallya – proclaimed “the noise of Formula One has gone” on the world feed.

But three-time Formula One World Champion and current Mercedes F1 chairman Niki Lauda says that it’s pointless to rewrite the new engine rules for the sake of more decibels.

“Everyone wants to do something about it, but you can’t just change the exhaust pipe, you’d have to redevelop the whole engine and the mapping,” he said according to Autoweek.

“That’s just way too expensive. Please do not change the engines just to make a bit more noise.”

Westacott’s comments could make for more post-Grand Prix controversy Down Under, which is already high after Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo was disqualified from the race after finishing second because of a fuel flow irregularity.

His Red Bull team has vowed to appeal, and team principal Christian Horner is confident of said appeal’s chances.

  1. indycarseries500 - Mar 17, 2014 at 1:27 PM

    Anyone who bought a ticket because they’re a Formula 1 fan bought it knowing what it’d sound like going into it and the partygoers probably really don’t care they can still scream when Ricciardo or the red cars flash by.

  2. testover6370 - Mar 17, 2014 at 1:44 PM

    I have to agree with Lauda. The new cars are too quiet and ragged sounding, but sadly the cost and effort to change that is just not worth it, at least not yet.

  3. Jeff - Mar 17, 2014 at 4:57 PM

    That’s great, but can we also sue because the cars are ugly?
    I mean I’m talking Medusa ugly here. I am … turning to stone … right …

    • barkar942 - Mar 17, 2014 at 8:23 PM

      And this wasn’t ugly?

  4. kitnamania13 - Mar 17, 2014 at 8:41 PM

    It’s odd for the organizers to take this position, considering Bernie has repeatedly threatened to eliminate this race unless the Aussies would run it at night. It’s unfortunate that the cars sound like lawnmowers, but to suggest the contract was breached is absurd.

  5. worknman24hours - Mar 17, 2014 at 11:11 PM

    These new Formula One race cars mirror the EXACT same technology available in the very finest supercars today.

    In fact, it was Formula One where all those 900 horsepower hybrid powertrains were developed from.

    So going backwards to an old model because it sounded different is like going back to horses and buggies because you liked the sound of the horse hooves on the ground.

    The trend is towards amazingly powerful cars using less of everything to get there.

    The model will improve but we have to give it time.

    If the sound issues continues then you could add sound producing devices that are team specific so the crowds can tell from far off which car is coming.

    Wouldn’t that be an interesting development.

  6. barrylibby - Mar 18, 2014 at 10:33 AM

    To hell with noise I get enough of that from kids with Subarus with big exhaust!
    It is the racing and the race was a great start for 14 season.

    Note 15 of starters running at end !

    Invision this ,if it was a Nascar race just three of the cars breaking loose would have taken out ten plus cars apiece !!!

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