When Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone mentioned that something may have to be done about the sound of the 2014 engines (power units), it struck me as something that was a much bigger task than said sentence. According to AUTOSPORT’s story today, Renault’s head of track operations, Remi Taffin, says that simply changing the sound isn’t that easy:
“If you want to have a different noise you have to go up on revs, but there would be no point going up on revs if you look at the fuel flow, because you would have to get the fuel flow up. But then you bring get your efficiency down,” he added.
“There’s nothing you can do with exhaust profiling because again you’ve got both exhaust pipes running into the same tailpipe after it has run through the turbo, so it is what it is.”
The combination of lower revs and a single exhaust piped through the turbo gets us this particular sound so to change that, you’d have to change the regulations and if memory serves correctly, these engines are all tuned, as is the exhaust, so it would take more than a willy-nilly change to make it happen. Speaking of revs, Taffin also said:
“It’s important to say it’s based on the regulations, because they set 15,000 as a maximum, but the fuel flow limitation means the maximum we’re running, whether it’s a Ferrari, a Mercedes, or a Renault, is 12,000 and at the end of the straight it could be 10 or 11,000.”
That’s certainly not the numbers the broadcasts have suggested in passing and it does shed light on the reality of the task. Ultimately if the FIA are entrenched on their fuel flow rates, then the sound is what it is and it isn’t a case of getting used to it, it’s a case of dealing with it until there is a regulation change.
So how do you reckon the series could change the sound? Would a regulation change simply ramp up the already meteoric costs of the power units? Even if you’re not bothered by the sound, is there something about the current power unit that you’d like to change? Increasing revs would take increased fuel flow so is there a better way of keeping the fuel flow the same and simply designing a different exhaust layout for more sound or is it ultimately down to revs?