Mark Webber says people “will get over” the sound of Formula 1’s new turbocharged V6 engines.

Criticism of the changes from fans and key paddock figures has dominated the sport in recent weeks, with Sebastian Vettel’s comments generating the biggest attention at last weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix.

However, Webber – preparing for a sportscar return with Porsche – believes it will only be a matter of time before the it will be brushed aside, arguing that motorsport will forever seek progress.

“I think it’s a little bit better live than it is on TV,” said Webber, when asked about the situation by talkSPORT.

“But I think this is the way motorsport will go. With the racing that we’re now doing with Porsche in the World Endurance Championship, it’s the same technology [as Formula 1] and a lot of hybrid influence in the cars. That’s how it will go and the manufacturers are forced to go that way because of the rules. You can’t have both.

“It’s like Concorde doesn’t fly anymore. That was pretty cool when it flew but it certainly wasn’t very popular for the people inside the M25 [motorway], was it? Now planes are quieter. Things change.

“Formula 1, of course, needs the acoustic factor to it but I think people will get over that.”

Hi, I have been a Formula 1 fanatic since 1987 when my family took me to the Adelaide GP. I now enjoy close friendships with team members at Ferrari and within the Holden Racing Team (V8Supercars).
  • B. Zinn

    Sorry, Marko; we will not get over the crappy sounds coming from the V-6s. They sound like a bunch V-1, Doodlebug, Buzz Bombs on the track. Racing engines are characteristically a pleasure to listen to. They’ve made tapes, LPs, CDs and DVDs just of the sounds of racing cars and their engines. I used to like to listen to the engines; but not any more. The only thing worse than the engines is the Gatling Gum, High-Airflow, threshold of pain commentary by Leigh Diffey.

  • I did like Steve Matchett’s comment during the F1 broadcast when they mentioned the WEC having lots of hybrid and the sound of the Audi’s, he said that he and Hobb’s had discussed that very thing and felt that the sound of the V8’s and GT cars just masked the silence. :) Now that’s funny.

  • jiji the cat

    i hope the whinging and whining of the promoters, fans, and Bernie falls on the ears of the FIA and they do something. The sound is fine, just turn up the volume.
    I will add that a positive in all this is that you can hear other things going on, like tyre squeel, and the pit to driver conversations, but i’d easily give that up for a bit more volume.

  • If it doesn’t sound like an all aluminum 500 cubic inch, fuel injected McClaren Can-Am car from the 1960’s it sounds like crap. F1 would do well to emulate the Can-Am unlimited rules and lose all of the artificiality such as DRS and fuel limits.

  • Chas

    They can sell this new formula high and low all they want… I can understand it… Journos in the paddock can’t quite get media access to the teams buffet if their network and media mates go on the jib that it really, truly does sound and look like crap… seriously. Unless of course your Bernie.

    Doodlebug… I think this nails it perfectly. For Formula 1 cars I think most people would want Big Dog… stud collared, aggressive and with a huge bark. FIA gave us…. Lil’ Dogs… rhinestone collared, cute doggie sweater trying hard to be aggressive but the bark just don’t cut it… ah well. It is what it is…..

  • UAN

    Webber’s right. People will begin to associate the sounds they’re hearing with the pinnacle of motorsports – these are still the best cars and some of the most skilled drivers you are going to find anywhere. I’m actually starting to like it – I like the turbos as they kick in, and the variations we have in the engines sounds, rather than the straight 18,000 RPMS high pitched whines of the V8s. I also love hearing the squeals and screeching of the wheels.

    These are really amazing engines.

    But for those that want just straight up loud, there’s always NASCAR or even drag racing :)

    • I go t used to V8’s too…still didn’t like them as much as the V10’s but there you have it. So in time we’ll get “used” to the V6 but most likely won’t care for it comparatively but the same could be said of years past. I think they just need to tune them a little. The other issue is just the sheer revs too. Wonder if they’ll eventually open up the fuel and revs on these things and get back to mega turbos. that would be cool. :)

  • AnklaX

    I think all this new thech is not being used properly. I think ERS system should aid continuous forward motion at all times in tandem with the ICE instead of short bursts and DRS should be eliminated. Maybe its time to allow active aerodynamics instead of DRS IMO. The LaFerrari, P1 and Huayra all have active aero but in different ways. I find those applications of active aero quite fascinating. Also with the added weight and F1 cars being as fast as GP2 cars, active aero is not a bad idea now. I also like how the McLaren P1 uses recovered energy to eliminate Turbo lag. I think McLaren have showed they have the right focus with the electric hybrid concept for their approach seems more practical. I think this should be the focus in F1 for it should not try to be the same as Endurance Prototypes. There’s really no real difference between technologiies used in the Porshce 919 and the current F1 cars. FIA hurried too much and acted without thinking. They should have thought what can F1 do different to RnD of electric hybrid tech and moved accordingly. Also the fuel allocation should have been set for progressive reduction year-to-year IMO. All this would have enabled the engineers to apply a lot of tech without any concern from the drivers during a race regarding conservation and preservation. They could just go racing like the good old days. I know its only a matter of time before cars are only electric and there just won’t be any sound then but the change in 2014 was too drastic. Maybe F1 audience needed to be slowly introduced to the low sound F1 like slowly boiling a live frog.

    Btw, the McLaren from the on board footage seems to sound better than the other F1 cars, even other Mercedes powered cars. Whats up with that?

  • It is very rare when I do not agree with Mr. Webber. Here is also a good analysis about Malaezia:

  • Turn up the RPM to 17-18k and bring back refuelling and all will be hunky-dory. I have been talking to some inside F1 Members who hide in shadows, and the word on the street is if this situation hasn’t changed within 2 years Formula 1 will have to start offering Race Promoters incentives to keep the race venues going. that could be a reduced fee or even Formula 1 will cover the cost… that seems far fetched however there will be a lesser amount of fans attending the races this year and that will drop again the following in 2015. The whispers coming out of Melbourne is if the cars don’t get louder by next year they will let their contract run out after 2015. I don’t blame the promoters as I have spoken to hundreds of people (no lie) and they are all saying they wont return to Melbourne if it stays the same.

    • jeff

      Interesting. Who in “Formula 1” would be offering these incentives according to your sources? I ask because I’d find it surprising if, say, a private equity firm would incentivize an interest of theirs unless the entirety of that interest demanded it.

      To me, each track/track owner’s reasoning for wanting an F1 race differs; whilst Silverstone absolutely counts on attendance for revenue, whilst Shanghai-nee China still uses it an exposure tool, going so far as to ship children/audience members free of charge to the event so that it “looks good on TV.”

      There is no consortium of venue operators as far as I know, no union which counter-balances F1’s moneymakers is there?

      Of course, everyone wants to make money, but the point is there is a certain financial model F1 currently adheres to, with commercial rights being everything. I don’t agree with it, but it’s there, and short of a fundamental ideology shift don’t see it changing. They don’t care about races dropping out, as there’s always someone w/ money looking to enhance his/her/its exposure and more importantly TV rights to fight over.

      Admittedly, with Bernie looking more likely to leave CVC, the powers-that-be could be contemplating just such an emphasis-shift, perhaps merchandizing will pay a bigger role or the currently-horrible F1 timing app will improve and be joined by others, but I just don’t see much of a change. A few thousand ticket-goers leaving, if that occurs, makes no difference (except to me as a ticket-goer)

      I would think the investors would look at each venue case-by-case. Anecdotally, Melbourne, sorry to say, is too small a fish commercially to have much relevance either way. There isn’t much buying power in the public or world stage presence to affect F1 one way or the other IMO. India was dropped despite potential because due to international taxation policies, Korea apparently because the government shifted it’s attention from sport towards technical asset acquisition, and so on…

      Monaco has prestige, Monza/Spa/UK history, Asia/Pac money, US status and the Potential monetization, Central/South America growth and increased governmental verticalization… again, completely anecdotal, but that’s how I’d look at the situation if F1 was in my wallet; leverage the prestige of loss-making venues to pump up sanctioning fees/TV rights of the burgeoning or aspirational country. That’s also the problem of looking at the sport in money rather than fan terms. :)

      • There is an official promoters group formed in 2012. Just FYI. :)

        • Thanks for that. Union is such a bad word in media lexicon. I feel checks and balances such as those or groups are beneficial; good for them.

          Whether they can set aside personal/immediate interests for the greater good is another question…

          Do you have more info on this promoters group? Can’t find much on the inter webs.

          Currently watching the GP; lots of content in it.

          • I really don’t have much additional. Relatively under the radar group.

      • Ok, if Silverstone, Melbourne, COFTA, European GP, Hungary, Belgium and maybe the Canadian GP all pull out of F1 within 2 years due to low attendance at the track wouldn’t a track owner or government think twice about hosting an F1 race with the current cars in future? If so it would be a short term contract as one can only lose money until the pool dries up.

        For example, if Silverstone dropped 10% in ticket sales this year and then the following year (if no changers are made) drop a further 30% in ticket sales wouldn’t the money bells start ringing..
        That would be a 40% drop in 2 years. lets say that in 2013 track attendance was 250,000 over the 3 days and the average ticket for the three days was $250 or pounds = $62.5m. In 2015 track attendance are down 40% from 2013 = 150,000 x $250 = $37.5m. That would be a big reason to question the continuation of hosting a Formula 1 race. And if you are a track owner who is currently losing money like the Melbourne GP the plug would be pulled sooner rather than later.

        Now this is all hypothetical and the figures are only examples as stated but the reality of this happening is real.

        I have said in recent articles that 1 fan on their own wont make a difference but 100’s of thousands of fans from around the world will make the FIA change the rules.

        The FIA change the engine as they thought the fans wanted a more greener motor event and to attract manufactures back to the sport, but the reality is, “Yes we do, but just make the engine noise louder.”

        • I think you’re right, if multiple races pulled out, prospective sites would think twice. If it cascaded to a point where no new venues replaced the old, of course F1 shareholders would have to change operating scheme. However, I don’t see that happening.

          The reason is income diversity; using a venue-run COTA, the benefit stems not only from trackside income, but merchandising, hotel/housing, local-tv advertising and retail sales, etc. Of course, attendance drop will affect several of those features, so the promoters will spreadsheet whether local-area benefit (in this case Austin) on balance is viable still.

          Tracks w/o major metropolitan/area influence like Silverstone are the most vulnerable; it’s fortunate Silverstone hosts so many series and events, as F1 I feel provides status to them, but insufficient income no matter attendance figures to sustain itself.

          Silverstone-like venues are outliers, COTA or govt-subsidised projects are the mould to me, and their futures, due to aforementioned local-area benefit or prestige, seems more secure.

          If a collective really wants to change F1 in the manner you speak, they need to vote w/ their TV remotes and typing fingers, not their ticket purchasing, IMO.

  • dude

    I don’t think F1 is pinnacle of motorsport, maybe in show and popular people maybe, but in technology, sportcar is way ahead imo.

  • OnThePodium

    So I’ve never actually heard an F1 engine in person. Shocking I guess. And truthfully, you can’t really hear them on TV. So to me it makes no difference. I like Webbah’s comment about the Concord too. I’m not saying the noise factor doesn’t play a part for those who go to see races in person, and I’m sure it does add to the thrill factor, but even though vinyl is warmer, I’m listening to mp3s ;)