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F1 engine technology could hinder efforts to improve sound

Apr 18, 2014, 12:15 PM EDT

F1 Grand Prix of China - Practice Getty Images

As the concerns about the new sound of Formula 1 continue to dominate the headlines, some of those involved with the development of the new turbocharged V6 engines have said that there is only so much that they can do to improve their volume.

A number of leading figures in the sport have raised worries about its image now that the definitive screeching sound of the V8 engines has been lost. Although the 2014 power units are certainly quieter than their predecessors, they are by no means silent, and we are also now able to hear cars locking up under braking.

Bernie Ecclestone, FIA president Jean Todt and Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo met for talks in Bahrain, and agreed that steps should be taken to improve the engine sound. However, speaking in the FIA technical press conference today in China, Renault’s Rob White and Ferrari’s Pat Fry said that this may not be such a cut and dry solution.

“The noise of the current engine is a consequence of the overall layout, the architecture and so forth,” White explained. “I think the scope to fundamentally and profoundly alter the noise of the engines is extremely limited by the type of technology that we have deployed.

“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.”

Fry revealed that the technical heads of each team were meeting in China to discuss what steps – if any – can be taken.

“You’ve got the turbo there to try and take all the energy that we can out, so it’s always going to be quieter,” he said. “There’s a round of meetings starting today, in fact, that will discuss and try and work out how to improve the situation.”

The great engine debate appears to be a rather subjective matter. As Formula 1 takes the hybrid route, a change in the sound is inevitable. It is hard to find a balance that will please all parties.

Just as the V8s were criticized when they replaced V10s back in 2006, it might just be a case of us all getting used to the new sound.

  1. techmeister1 - Apr 18, 2014 at 3:40 PM

    I doubt there really is an issue with F1’s image contrary to the media hype. As far as getting more noice from the engines, sure it’s possible but it would hurt the overall power unit performance and efficiency which would make no sense.

    • worknman24hours - Apr 18, 2014 at 3:52 PM

      It’s becoming less of an issue with every race because each race is getting better as we go along.

  2. barrylibby - Apr 18, 2014 at 5:49 PM

    Has bought JC Whitney yet !

    For just 19.99 teams can buy the EcceToldt exhaust tip extension noise makers.
    And for the 2014 season we will offer teams a two for one special !

  3. pftisahalftruth - Apr 18, 2014 at 9:40 PM

    The issue isn’t the exhaust (although you can only make so much exhaust out of a turbocharged motor), it’s the rev limiter. Given the smaller size of these motors, in time, they could increase revs to around 22k. The things would absolutely SCREAM then.

    • worknman24hours - Apr 18, 2014 at 10:41 PM

      The problem with that is trying to make the engines last practically half a season.

      The entire idea of the lower revs was to increase engine life.

      To offset the loss in power the energy recovery systems were hopped up and increased in size a heck of a lot.

      I am in awe of how much more torque these race cars provide their drivers now.

      Not only that, they tweaked the turbo with a battery assisted spin up system so it has extremely small amounts of lag.

      What a totally brilliant way to make an engine.

      These new cars are the future and are that now too.

      The next generation will be better built and much more seemless in the way the driver can actually drive the crap out of them.

      They only way to increase the noise is to add either a fitting to each car that gives off sounds as the cars go by or by adding speakers to the cars.

      That almost makes me want to laugh just thinking about that.

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