As Formula 1 enters the 2014 season, the front noses may be the original talking point from the car launches. It’s the obvious appendage but as time settles in, many astute blogger, journalists and pundits have started to take a closer look at the suspension, bodywork, and other details to see the difference between the 2013 cars and this year’s challengers.

Thanks to YouTube’s Jon Z, we now have a video in which to compare the 2013 engine note with the new V6 turbo engines for 2014.

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As we reflect on the element of F1 that is the visceral feel of the machines and internal combustion engines, I wanted to also admit that the V8 engine format we’ve enjoyed for the last several years were a replacement for the V10’s which were a replacement for the V12’s.   This video from Gitidi500 compares all four engine types using Honda engines:

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Former FIA president Max Mosley once suggested that F1 fans don’t really care that much about the sound of the engine…are you a fan who really isn’t that moved by the engine note? Does the V6 turbo sound great to you?

I’ll be honest, I don’t like it as much as I did the V8 which I didn’t like as much as the V10 which I didn’t like as much as the V12. So there you have my slide through disappointment with the engine sounds of F1.

I will admit that the V10 is a very close second to the V12—there is just something about that haunting howl of the V10 that was very unique. Tell us what you think in the comment section below.

An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • Rob

    To start we have to seperate the sound in person from what we hear over tv e.t.c. – I started attending races when there was a mixture of V12/V10 running and they are chalk and cheese – your could feel the V12’s. That difference was less obvious on tv.

    I actually prefer the sound of the high reving V10’s (meaning the later V10’s) on tv but far prefer the V12’s in person. The V8’s to me are were nice but they just lacked the rumble of the larger engines and took a while to get used to. The twin turbo V6 vs. 2014 single turbo V6 are meh and quite enemic compared to even the V8’s IMO. I think it’s a shame…… but I will get used to it I guess.

    As to the fans don’t care about the sound… well.. I gota disagree and I suspect a lot of others will also care.

  • debris88

    We will get used to “crappier”. We always do!

    • Jack Flash (Aust)

      “Oh the pain…the pain…”
      (thanks to Jonathan Harris aka Dr Smith). ;-) JF

  • rambaldi

    Personally I don’t mind the changes as they are on the cars, I like that the engines aren’t so whiney, thanks to the loss of 3k rpm. The Honda engine in the second video sounds terrible, but it may just be due to a lack of bodywork.

    I think it will be interesting to hear full on-board lap comparisons, with all the power train changes it is expected that they will be changing out of different gears lower down than they did previously so it could make for a more varied soundtrack to the circuit.

    I think we will also see it changing over the life of the regs, if you listen to the 2013 V8 and compare it to the 2007 model you can hear it running much higher for longer, partly this will have been dictated by track/driver but also the improvements in the engine will play into it.

    And either way at least it isn’t the blown diffusers of a couple years ago :p

    • Jack Flash (Aust)

      Somewhat off topic… Why the NAND gate avatar? JF

        • Jack Flash (Aust)

          LoL for my reply to debris88 I’m guessing… (not here to rambaldi). :-0 JF

      • rambaldi

        It is related to what I study and the courses I am involved in teaching. Also made it aaages ago and can’t be bothered updating it :p

  • Shocks & Awe

    I don’t think it’s the number of cylinders that really makes the difference, it’s the Revs. The Turbos just don’t reve as high, and unlike Rambaldi, I love the shriek of a high revving engine. I remember very clearly, in 2000 at Indy, the inaugural GP there, walking up to the track and hearing Schumacher’s Ferrari V10 screaming at 20,000 RPM. It made my teeth ache. Literally. The adrenaline started pumping at that moment, and the excitement I felt was indescribable. THAT’s what the sound of a race car should be.

    These Turbo V6’s sound like sickly, wheezing shadows of what they could be.

    I always considered Enzo Ferrari to be a dinosaur for his insistence that the engine was everything and his adamant refusal to embrace aerodynamics as the future of car development. But you know what? I think the Old Man was on to something.

    • offcamberM3

      I agree, for me it’s the revs. More revs just sound more exciting, more ferocious. Lots to be excited about this year, I don’t want to be negative, but the sounds I hear in the first video (new power units) is disappointing.

  • Julian

    The v10 definitely sounds the best. I did notice the Renault engine definitely sounds odd, reminds me of the aamco advert for those in the USA, I wonder if Seb was in the garage making weird noises to the Renault engineers. It does kind of back up the rumors that the Renault engine isn’t great.

    So Todd, when are you going to update the podcasts intro music to have the new engine sound?

  • Buddy

    I agree with Shocks and Awe. I ran into the track on first day of practice at Indy 2000 when we heard the cars start for the first time. And then when they came onto the main straight in front of the grandstands for their first laps, WOW , then and now. That was my first in-person taste of F1, and it still is one of my favorite memories. The shrieking terror reverberating off of the stands in full song just feet away.

  • Jack Flash (Aust)

    That Renault V6-turbo engine sounds sick (the ‘bad’ kind, not the ‘cool’ kind). There is a something quite wrong with it turbo-forced induction somehow strobing cyclically with the injection systems – or similar. Especially noticeable on the 2014 Toro Ross accelerating up the Jerez straight away from you. The power hysteresis is audible. Yuk! It sounds very ill. Not that the other Mercedes or Ferrari V6-Turbo power units sound very inspiring at all, but at least they don’t sound like they’re are going to expire at any second like the Renault does.

    I hate this new F1 engine era in the way it has robbed us of the sound and feel of proper racing ICE. Engines in Formula 1 are not supposed to sound like this shadow of former engine glory. I was around trackside in the last F1 turbo 4/6 pot era, and they sound a LOT BETTER than these regulation castrated “efficiency rally” ICE. Single turbo, not twin as in the 80’s. Exhaust gasses mashed together from both banks and mercilessly robbed of every last bit of energy before being puffed listlessly out of a large bore poo-Shute.

    It is enough to make a grown F1 man cry. JF

  • Tuna

    Personally, I think these engines sound much better than the V8’s The V8’s were particularly terrible sounding with the blown diffusers and coanda effect and all that. I’m not convinced anybody is really running up to the 15k rev limiter with the new engines yet either. It doesn’t sound like they’re revving as high as the audio from the bench in the second video. Of course, the MP4/4 sounds particularly great at the end, but you can’t say the V12 or V10 from the first video were bad either! The onboard of the V8 sounds dull and soulless…almost digital. I’m looking forward to the new engines.

  • In defense of the V6, they were most likely not using much of the ERS. I’m not an engineer so I’m not quite sure how that will impact the sound with all the additional HP. Regardless, the V10 wail was the most visceral and haunting and exciting for me. My first love was the Ferrari and Matra V12 but I was most enamored with the V10 era. Incredible sound. I was so moved by it in the Ligier that I became a Jacques Laffite fan and when he retired I naturally became a Prost fan. I know, maybe not as cool as saying you were a Andretti and Senna fan but it is what it is and that’s what I was moved by as a young boy. All of this, of course, on the heels of my introduction to F1 with the Lotus 72.


    • MIE

      Remind me to dig out the recording I have of the BRM V16 (1.5 litre supercharged). Now that is impressive.

      Or use this link:

      • Jack Flash (Aust)

        Now that is a thing of aural beauty. A mechanically-supercharged 16 member symphony, with unobstructed, unrestricted exhausting letting the whole wail to fill the atmosphere with “happy-happy joy-joy”….. Wow.
        That’s the Real McCoy right there. A grandpapa to the forced and normally aspirated V12 and V10’s of next generation F1 engines to follow.

        That audio track my friend is smart-phone bound for me, It will make an awesome ring-tone at around the 2:10-2:15 mark or so. Thanks MIE. Some sunshine for this sad F1 fan. JF

        • MIE

          Jack, try and get a copy of the book mentioned in the link (Into the Red, written by Nick Masson and Mark Hales). Originally it came with a CD with the sounds of the cars in the book being used in anger. A true delight.

  • Clutchless

    Until we hear a new car on full tilt there is no way to pass judgement on what these engines sound like, good or bad. As nice as that first video comparison was those cars were barley getting up in the rev range.

  • Silversource

    I’m just very happy with the way they sounded. I had expected far worse.

    By the way, did anyone check these out?

    Day 1:
    Day 2:

  • sloppsso

    anyone who thinks that these new engines sound good, or even better, than anything before them, must be a serious f1 fanboy.
    i admit how good something sounds is subjective, but Objectively, these new engines lack the distinct qualities that the V8’s and V10’s especially, had. That is a fact.

    these new f1 cars sound like lemans prototypes, or F3 cars, or a whole host of lower formula cars. Again, that is a fact.
    20 years ago, when we had V10’s emerging and that Ferrari V12……….remember how much people loved that V12? How the intoxicating sound of a Ferrari V12 was unlike anything else? Why? Because it was loud, because it was piercing, because it shrieked and howled – as did the V10’s, especially the Mclaren Mercedes V10’s. I will never forget standing at Monza in 2004 and feeling the sound vibrating through my Nokia phone. Actually vibrating the casing.

    The v8’s were a huge step down from those v10’s but still at least had something.
    They have finally buried the final nail in the coffin of this ‘sport’. The 1 thing that made it utterly unique was the noise, and its gone forever. Thats it. F1 is dead to me, time to go back to WRC.

  • Shocks&Awe

    Can you imagine the opening of the F1B podcast without that V8(?) downshifting?

    That’s the power of sound.

  • Andreas

    The new cars sound just fine. To me, the 2.4 V8’s were forever a light version of the bigger capacity V12/V10 engines that were prevalent when I seriously started getting into F1 (although when I first started watching, the DFV was still king of the hill, and the turbo era also passed in between there somewhere). I much prefer this sound over the unnatural “sounds-like-the-big-end-just-let-go” sound the V8’s made on braking (due to the blown diffuser thing). Even though they are turbocharged, these engines sound more natural to me. Either way, I suspect we’ll get used to it, and complain the same next time the regs change… :-)

    Although I agree that the Renault sounds like it’s not well. I hope they can sort the mapping out on that one.

  • PB

    My kingdom for a V8 Cosworth!!!! Or a 12 cylinder Ferrarri or Matra. Anything else is crap. This season is going to be pitiful.

    • NeilM

      Oh yeah, the 12-cyl Matra with its upswept “Trumpets of God” exhaust system! It may not have been a very competitive engine, but it sounded amazing. I heard it at close range in the pits at Monaco back in the late sixties sometime. Once heard, never forgotten.

  • micke j
  • KingRaptor

    it doesn’t sound like a f1 car, i’d like the FIA bring back the V10…

  • LBR

    Well……V12…..V10….V8…..V6….. Keep counting down and soon we will get to V Twin engines….bet you Harley Davidson is already working on a prototype…. The sound of these V6s is slowly approaching the V Twin throaty sound……sorry I am old school but like high revs and exciting engine noise… one that sounds like a scooter with an aftermarket exhaust….
    My 2 cents…

  • The new engines sound like garbage. I was going to go to the F1 this year but cancelled.. Forget about it. The sound is a lot of the experience. If I want to listen to V6 turbo F1 cars, I’d rather stay at home and put my vacuum cleaner on.