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UPDATE: Vettel profanely rips F1’s new quieter cars (VIDEO)

Mar 27, 2014, 9:45 AM EDT

Following Formula 1’s downsize from V8 to V6 engines for 2014, a great amount of debate has been sparked by the sound of the new power units. Lacking the recognizable screech of their predecessors, the V6s have met a great deal of criticism, ranging from the fans to the drivers and the sport’s CEO, Bernie Ecclestone.

Now, world champion Sebastian Vettel has entered the debate, and he has not minced his words at all.

“It’s sh*t,” Vettel explained to the media in Malaysia ahead of this weekend’s race. “I think for the fans it is not good.”

As part of Formula 1’s bid to become more of a ‘hybrid’ sport, the new engines have been introduced with some teething problems. However, 14 cars got to the finish in Australia, and the doomsday theorists that claimed none of the cars would see the checkered flag were proved wrong.

Nevertheless, the fall-out after the race was all about the new engine sound, and Vettel has joined the growing list of critics.

“F1 has to be spectacular and the sound is one of the most important things,” he added. “I remember when I was a small child, and I don’t remember much, being six years old when we went to watch practice at the German GP and the thing I recall is how loud the cars were and the feeling of the ground vibrating.

“It’s a shame we don’t have that anymore.”

Although Vettel’s criticism is by no means surprising nor new, it is perhaps a little short sighted. We are just one race into the new era of Formula 1, and the changes must be taken with a pinch of salt.

The new engine sound is indeed quieter, but so are the LMP1 cars that race in the World Endurance Championship; the racing is still exciting and fast, though. In Australia, the race was by no means a classic, but it was a welcome break from what we saw at the end of 2013 as drivers were actively wrestling with their cars to keep them under control. A little bit of time is what is required here.

  1. midtec2005 - Mar 27, 2014 at 10:26 AM

    I don’t think the volume is necessarily the problem, it’s that they sound tame. Indy Lights cars sound more aggressive. Watching the in car camera only makes this effect worse because the cars seem to never step out. It’s like they have traction control again.

    • testover6370 - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:39 AM

      Really? I saw nothing but the cars stepping out all over the place. As soon as the driver thought about getting back on the gas, the car was wiggling and heading towards the curbs.

      You’re right about the tameness of the engine sound. They just don’t sound like they’re working hard to propel the cars to impossible speeds. The Indycar turbo engines took a lot of flak for how they sounded upon introduction, but if you listen to them compared to F1, night and day difference with the Indycar sounding way racier.

      The one thing I didn’t like about the old engines was that while they were loud, they were also kinda monotone. Just one consistent shriek with minimal change as the driver went through the gearbox. The new engines have some more dynamic sound at least, it is just the wrong dynamic.

      • crunge4461 - Mar 27, 2014 at 6:26 PM

        I think the point that you made that is right on is that the F1 engines do not appear to being working hard on the ragged edge. When I was watching in-car the engines that were supposed to be turning max of 15,000 rpms were actually never hardly hitting 12,000 rpms. The sound is not that important, but what is important in racing is that the cars appear to be on the edge and the current F1 formula is definitely not appearing this way.

        Vettel and all of Red Bull have some super sour grapes right now, they have themselves to blame, should have been working on the car earlier rather then putting me to sleep on the couch for 9 straight races.

    • indycarseries500 - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:54 AM

      Well Indy Lights cars do have normally aspirated V8s

  2. ExposedCanvas - Mar 27, 2014 at 10:36 AM

    Keep in mind that Vettel hasn’t just been dealing with these cars since Melbourne, he’s been working with them all winter and including the period of time before testing. His opinion is pretty well grounded.

    Of course the sound isn’t everything, but the sport has to be a well rounded sensory overload. If there was great sound, great racing but the drivers were replaced by robots, viewing would go down. If there were great sound, great tech, but the racing was bad because all the cars handled terribly, viewing would go down. There has to be a balance and right now F1 doesn’t have it.

  3. indycarseries500 - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:23 AM

    Well he could race NASCAR, they’re quite loud and definitely shake the ground.

  4. manik56 - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:28 AM

    Are we really debating the sound of an engine? Really?

  5. crunge4461 - Mar 27, 2014 at 6:32 PM

    I really believe that the solution to many of the ills is to get rid of the fuel save requirement. All fans hate this, the teams are forced to limit revs to save fuel, the drivers don’t like it, just let the teams have 120 kilos or whatever, remove the stupid sensor and let run with abandon in their new KERS and ERS Hybrid powerplant. I really think it is as simple as that, I do not think that a single F1 fan on the planet likes the nonsense with the fuel save….who is the FIA trying please? Fans, promoters and drivers do not like it, isn’t that pretty much the whole sport. End that nonsense, there will be higher revs and the sound will be better and the racing more on the edge

    • worknman24hours - Mar 27, 2014 at 10:52 PM

      Absolutely not going to happen.

      Fuel economy is here to stay and it will be raced that way too.

      The teams that are doing great right now are the teams with the most effective energy recovery and transmission systems.

      That fuel saving technology is available in the full range of cars available for sale today all the way to the most powerful automobiles made today.

      That is why Formula One is using the energy saving technology.

      It is the now and the permanent future of all automobiles.

      I expect that in the near future even NASCAR will be forced to begin using it too.

      • midtec2005 - Mar 28, 2014 at 10:41 AM

        “I expect that in the near future even NASCAR will be forced to begin using it too.”

        Good one. Nascars fuel save will be reducing displacement from 358 CI to 305 CI.

        Your other points are way off the mark too. Fuel saving technology is not the same thing as a fuel limit. Fuel saving technology is fine, a fuel limit creates conservative, boring driving.

      • worknman24hours - Mar 30, 2014 at 1:00 AM

        midtec-the fuel saving requirement exists because the teams are expected to develop the cars through the season to the point where it will no longer be any detriment to race performance.

        The one fundamental fact of all F1 seasons is that the teams find ways to make the cars go faster on less weight and fuel is weight.

        The fuel requirement is also used because it is very simple and fair to every team and easy to enforce.

        Just because the teams are running fuel saving scenarios today, don’t expect them to have to run near as much at midseason.

        It’s about finding the best balance of pure fuel acceleration and assisted recovered fuel acceleration.

  6. techmeister1 - Mar 27, 2014 at 9:12 PM

    What a scumbag Vettel has turned out to be.

  7. rjward1126 - Mar 30, 2014 at 5:05 PM

    – Sound is very important to most of us racing fans. It’s actually a big factor for me even when I buy a car.
    -I also like this “hybrid” technology as we all know that technology developed in racing tends to find its way in to production cars.
    -I agree with the decision to move to the turbo/hybrid cars, it was just poorly executed.

    Here’s my point……The purpose of the fuel saving regulations is for the development of technology, NOT for the actual saving of fuel during formula 1 races.
    -Although I don’t know the details about what’s possible in an F1 car, it would be nice to see something like turbo V10’s (with maybe an even smaller displacement) revving higher. They could still make extremely tight fuel regulations, just not as tight as they are currently. Result: Much better sound and the engineers still work just as hard to develop technology to save fuel…which is what matters. Maybe they would use 5% (total guess) more fuel, but who cares. How much fuel is actually used isn’t the point. It’s the technology developed to save the fuel.

    On a side note, does anyone know if these turbos have a wastegate that opens? If this MG-H works like I think it does, maybe they don’t have a wastegate and just use MGH to slow down the turbine and regulate boost (while also sending power generated from MGH to either the battery or MGK).
    -It does matter when it comes to sound, as anyone who works with turbo engines will tell you. Turbo cars can still scream when the wastegate opens.

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