The boss of the Australian Formula One Grand Prix has threatened to take legal action because he says Sunday’s race

“wasn’t loud enough”.

The Formula One rule makers (FIA) have introduced new regulations this year aimed at making the sport more environmentally friendly, with all cars now fitted with new turbocharged 1.6-litre V6 engine.

As I have personally mentioned in my pervious post the sound of the Formula 1 engine is very quiet and most spectators around me could not believe their disbelief.

Australian Grand Prix chief executive Andrew Westacott believes Melbourne has been short-changed and says the sport’s governing body may be guilty of a breach of contract.

“What was lacking was the sexiness and the appeal of the noise,” Westacott told Melbourne radio station 3AW.

“I was able to stand on pit wall at the start of the race without ear plugs,” he said.

“Previously, it shakes the bones.”

Westacott said Australian Grand Prix Corporation chairman Ron Walker had already spoken to F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone about the frustrations.

“I’d be confident we’ll have a different sound next year,” he said.

The lack of noise was one of the major talking points to come out of Albert Park this weekend.

Fairfax motorsport writer Mark Fogarty was scathing in his assessment, claiming

“the sound of the cars was dreadful, the racing was somnolent and the spectacle completely underwhelming

You can not blame the teams for the lack of noise as they are only following rules, The FIA should be reconsidering the RPM levels or other means of brining the noise level up before they do considerable damage to the sport.

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).
  • Tch

    I attended all three days of f1 trackside and can agree the new cars sounded quieter than the old. The demonstration run of the v8 rb7 f1 car was confirmation of this.

    However they were still what I would call very loud, just not painfully loud. I think it’s a storm in a teacup and the positives outweigh the negatives.

  • jeff

    Very grateful to you guys for posting your 1st hand impressions. On TV, the cars sounded louder and better than FP, but still a bit of a shock. A few questions:

    -How easily-discernable were the different PU’s? In vid, they all sound pretty distinct.

    -Was it road car quiet? If you’ve heard a 430/458 Ferrari/911 GT3/Corvette w/ a loud exhaust at high RPM full throttle, was it noticeably louder than that? Reports are 135 ish decibels, but judging from the videos of trackside people, I kinda doubt that.

    -What could be done to increase volume? Short of increasing fuel flow/capacity (to use the 15k RPM allowed) and regulation changes (twin turbos w/ twin exhausts in a new location) i.e.; more power and fuel consumption, my limited technical understanding sees no solution.

    Completely repeating myself, but I agree with TCH, the new Formula for me is much more exciting. A little more roar would be welcome, however.

    • tch

      The F1 cars were way louder than any road legal cars. They were louder than the Porsche Carrera cup cars and I think louder than the V8 “super cars” which are the tin top class here.

      What was interesting was that I could hear tyre squeal on the F1’s when the cars were pushing. So between the squealing, turbo whistles and whooshes I thought they sounded great. Lower pitched than the V8 2.4s of course but they still their own unique sound.

      Without the high pitched scream I think they are also a bit more city circuit friendly.

  • I hope that Williams will stay for long as possible no. 2 car in 2014. And next year I’ll close my eyes and take a nap during races. 3 analysis of F1 here

  • Formula Future

    Total disappointment, I hope Ferrari president Di Montezemolo will finally decide to pull out of this unfortunately totally wasted sport, and create a formula dedicated to pure flat out racing.

    What’s the point to have plenty of world champions cruising around on the track managing their fuel load and tire consumption?

    Super slow look on TV too, no indications about when drivers switch their ERS systems on and of course dull unexciting sound of engines. They sound like small tractors with a sad face printed on it.

    If 2013 season witnessed to losing spectators, I predict 2014 will lose even more. FIA just showed how “not to do” and to manage this sport wrongly.

    Not a pity but a shame. F1 is totally something else and used to be amazing. Thumbs down.

  • Gerrit

    F1 will loose many spectators !
    They are racing against Rules and Not Cars. Rules , rules , rules !
    Environmental friendly ,,,,,,,,, what a joke ! This is supposed to be the pinnacle of Motor Sport and it should sound like it !
    That is what made us spend money to attend a Grand Prix , the smell , the noise and all around the track.
    F1, you are going to loose me as a fan !
    Bernie , I think its time for you to retire and to enjoy your fortune else ware .
    It`s time the manufactures has more say !
    Lost fan – G

    • Jason

      It is L-O-S-E, not L-O-O-S-E.

      Example: We’re going to “LOSE” the game. This screw is coming “LOOSE”.

  • While putting engine noise aside (I kinda like the new one), the fuel saving is a bit problematic.
    I was watching closely Dan R. cruising down before the chicane on 6-th gear … I do that in the everyday driving, but in F1?
    Let’s see if this was just the initial smoke-test-race situation. Not pushing flat out seems ridiculous.

    • Jack Flash (Aust)

      Ooooh… I like your new avatar KV. Very… GOTHIC

  • NZF1

    Yes underwhelming, quiet race cars??? its “f1” not “formula e”. I thought on tv it looked like the cars were slow and on cruise control especially the corners. also lap times were inconsistent, some cars 5sec a lap quicker than their previous lap etc. I do hope next few races are more competitive. Love f1 but was disappointed with the opening round.

    • When ever there is a big rule change, the Australian or the host of the opening round always gets the tip toe effect, for instant back when refuelling was banned all the cars just followed each other until the chequered flag. However no matter how the drivers raced on Sunday it didn’t change the fact that the engine noise was substantially quieter than last year

      Sorry TCH the V8 Supercars and the Porsche Carrera Cup were much louder than the F1 cars. Even being in the pit garage right alongside Fernando’s car while being warmed for the start of the race going through their RPM range I didn’t need ear plugs. The only time I put my fingers in my ears was when the rattle gun was operating.

  • mini696

    I am ashamed to be Australian with twats like him saying these things.

  • James

    At times like these, I wonder, why it isn’t feasible for the FIA, FOM and the teams to reconsider building a V10 engine, that’s less costy compared to this V6, that’s environmental friendly(hybrid), has 17-18k RPM.

    And I KNOW the manufacturers, such as Honda, want a V6, but damn it… Why is it that it has to be a sport that has to adhere to the principles/rules/whatever – of the road car industry. I’m already getting sick and tired of this heavy reliance on road car manufacturers.

    It’s like these big $$$ companies got F1 on a leash, while it should be the other way around.

  • Matthew Snyder

    When drivers locked up under braking, you could actually hear the tire squeal over the exhaust note. That struck me as odd – I’ve been trackside at CART/Champ Car events (V8 turbos) and not been able to hear tire lockups so clearly.

  • I’m not sure what it was like to be there in person but It sounded and looked awful on TV.. Especially at 3AM in the morning here in Canada… I bought my tickets for the Canadian GP and the Austin TX GP but now hoping to sell them and take my wife and children on Vacation instead… It’s very sad that F1 has come to this to be honest. I have been following F1 for 20 years now and this is an all time low for me. Just no more excitement! Make all of the teams make their motor homes and travel vehicles Greener or more environmentally friendly but please let the F1 teams develop the fastest, loudest and most powerful cars that they can… At the end of the day, it’s about the fans and if certain teams can’t afford it than join GP2 and let the teams that can have 3 or 4 cars…
    On a side note; I wouldn’t blame Australians for being pissed about the lack lustered spectacle nor for excluding DR from his 2nd place drive… DR drove a great race and deserved that 2nd position.. If the FIA let him finish the race, then so be it.. The FIA should have black flagged him and Red Bull if they were not cooperating with them. You don’t let him finish the race, go to the ceremony’s and interviews and then rip it away from him and the Australian public.. WOW that’s pretty nasty IMO..

  • Steve C

    Whether we like it or not, the world is changing. More and more people want smaller better gas mileage cars. The FIA, probably through the car manufacturers, understand this and want to make sure they are still seen as the technology leader in motorsports. Look at what these teams did. The were able to put two cars on the starting line and run the race with all these major changes in little more than one year’s time. I love this sport and too many are bitching and griping just to hear themselves bitch and gripe. I attended my first GP a few years ago when the circus came to my hometown of Austin, Texas. I was socked at the sound and loved every minute of hearing it BUT the racing and the shear speed was out of this world.

  • Neil Mc

    They sound impressive at the track, but not startlingly impressive like the 18k RPM V8s. Interestingly a lot of arguments I’ve seen say that the purists hate the new engines.

    I think that’s not the whole story. I heard plenty of F1 nerds at the track saying “did you hear that” about various things you could hear track side including stressed tyres. Casual fans though probably don’t care about that much subtlety though. For them the “OMG OMG OMG, that was freaking unbelievable” reaction to the impact of the screaming V8 is gone. They can however sip a wine and continue to talk about which driver is cute as the cars go by ;)

    My impression was that if the V8 supercars weren’t louder (I think they might have been), the F1 cars seemed kinder on the ears. It seemed easier to talk to people I was with during the race half way between turns 9 and 10 than it was when the V8 supercars were running. (and I was as close to the fence as was allowed)

    My own thought on it is that I’m excited about plenty of things in the new rebooted F1, but they could sound a bit more agressive. RPM is probably most of the story there. With the fuel conservation and reliability concerns, I’m not sure if we even heard a car hit the 15k RPM maximum. (did anyone see anything that high in the F1 app telemetry or in the broadcast graphics).

    Maybe a bit of a worry for F1 is that while they sound reasonably impressive at the track (but a bit quiet), I’m watching a recording of the aussie Channel 10 broadcast and they sound pretty wimpy on TV. Hopefully the racing is good enough to hold on to the TV audience.

  • Rob

    I keep seeing this “green” nonsense…. How is it green to way way over-charge a battery (to a level dangerous in a normal car) and then dispose of them after the race??

    As to the noise levels…. seemed worse than even I was expecting (was not at the oz race and it’s hard to judge over tv – will see in a few races). They did seem slower on tv. I started going to races with V12’s, so I’m just so underwhelmed I cannot find words :-( I hate the turbo wheeze and the ERS/DRS/POS stuff when there is zip indication of what is really happening. Oh well… F1 is not run for fan’s so we have to take whatever they feel we should have and pretend to be happy I guess :-/

  • Cj

    Whist I’ve been to other categories of racing but never F1 (unfortunately), as far as the tv coverage went, I forgot about the engines. With the commentators doing their bit and always talking it was similar to any other race I’ve watched. Only when pointed out during the commentary did I remember the noise is different.
    Can’t say the noise is better but is watching it on tv really THAT bad?

    • wchrisg

      The noise is part of the Spectacle. I think F1 Could lose some key markets because it looses some punch live. Earlier i commented that being quiet was good or not that important but i remember when indy came to town in 2005 and I could hear the cars from 20 miles away and I ditched my inlaws to go see them.
      More recently I was in Sonoma at the Indy car race and thought the indy sound was cool because I didn’t have to wear ear protection. Then promptly went and watched from the bridge to feel the race. Supporting races was the Pirelli World Challenge and the Maserati Tropheo and the Sound was incredible!

      So to Sum Big noises good for Spectators bad for marriage.

  • Gregg

    Can someone pls shake Bernie, or get him to sit down and move over! This V6 motor bullshit is crap!
    If they had any balls we would have V10 @ 19-20,000 rpm making our hearts pound and feel it. But no we have a sport who has decided if we can conform to the masses and be right to everyone?? This is the crap we have to watch!
    If F1 consider it’s self to be environmentally friendly is a joke. This is nothing more than entertainment. So make it that way!!
    Until they change, I’m out!!