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It seems the quest for the improvement of the sound of a Formula 1 car is continuing with an acoustic consultancy working in hand with Ferrari to achieve what was lost—namely the sound of F1.

While the FIA, pundits and teams have all tried to marginalize the impact the new 2014 regulations have had on the sound of the cars by insidiously using the word “noise” to connote a negative impression of past F1 car sound levels, it still remains a major issue in F1. Even AUTOSPORT has reduced itself to using the word “noise”. Sad days indeed.

At least Kimi Raikkonen knows it is and uses the appropriate word “sound” when describing it telling AUTOSPORT:

“When you ask people who came before what the first thing is they notice, they say the sound was amazing, and if they go to a corner to see it, it looks very fast,” he said.

“Now, when they come, it doesn’t look as fast because there’s no sound anymore.

“I’m sure it’s not so nice for them and so exciting and different, so I’m sure there are a lot of areas that can be made much better for people, and more interesting.”

In order to achieve a better sound, the acoustic consultant and Ferrari have devised a new system and according to AUTOSPORT, it will hopefully be tested at the British Grand Prix. The system will require a change to the regulations because it uses a dual exhaust configuration that is currently against the regulations.

The dual exhaust will also use the megaphone or trumpet feature that failed to impress when attempted by Mercedes at the Spanish Grand Prix. The dual exhaust would be located between the turbocharger and wastegate.

Adding a second exhaust may have an impact but in the end, nothing can replace revs and unlimited energy production in order to achieve those revs. It’s not rocket science but it may take rocket science to achieve a sound anywhere near the former V8 levels if you run a V6 turbo at 11,000 rpm and expect it to sound magnificent.

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • MIE

    Perhaps they will mandate the use of a secondary ‘sound making’ engine, whose sole purpose is to make the current generation of cars louder? It’s that, or put playing cards in the spokes of the wheels.

    I’m sorry, but the research and development going into F1 should be about making the cars finish the race in the shortest time. If the FIA is serious about cost caps, then all this additional expense just so people can justify wearing earplugs seems a big excessive to me. I have yet to hear the current generation of cars live, but as the majority of fans watch via TV rather than trackside, perhaps what is needed is better microphones?

    The sound of a Grand Prix has evolved over time as much as the look of the cars. This generation is certainly different sounding from the last, but that doesn’t mean we won’t get used to it. At least with these cars we currently have two drivers fighting for the lead of each race, and not just one dominating, so there are some advantages.

  • F1 audiences at the track may be disappointed by the lack of ear piercing roar, but growth in F1 is in the size of it’s television audience. Make the show a better competition and most importantly accessible to everyone rather than spending millions to make it a little louder. Which is better: more on track battles and rivalries between driver and teams….or louder engines with similar results every race?

    • That’s the essence of F1’s problem in total. However, some could argue that without some races being pedestrian, we’ll lose the epic battles. In short, it takes some dull to highlight the extraordinary. I don’t subscribe to that theory but some might argue that.

    • dude

      I don’t think it should be easy to pass in F1.

      • Rapierman

        ….but not so hard that everyone gets bored of the processional train. :P

  • Clarification: As written, Autosport’s describing a megaphone cone in the intermediate piping, not the exhaust tip as before. For those of the young sport-tuner generation, think downpipe on a transverse engine, but reversed (1 into 2). There’s no mention of a flared exhaust “tip” as before.

    I’m unhappy they’re attempting this, as unlike the horrible megaphones, changes between turbine and waste gate and/or MGU-H most definitely affects performance. As the various manufacturers and indeed teams are controlling excess boost pressure differently (lag v. spool performance, -H v. wastegate control, component location, etc.), a spec-shaped ducting will undoubtedly benefit some more than others. How will the spec piece accommodate both RBR’s low-mounted wastegate and Ferrari’s dual-wastegates (apparently still-present)?

    The potential is there for more volume, as unlike the megaphone, there’s more waste energy to be exploited at this section of the exhaust, but for performance-sake, completely dumb. F1 has greater issues than this.

    Sound V. Noise and Media Manipulation

    The media is using nouns interchangeably, equating “noise” with “sound” as I did. Perhaps there is/was subliminal marginalization of past sounds as you accuse, but I don’t believe so. Your referenced Autosport article also uses “noise” and “volume” interchangeably, instead of delineating them as two separate goals. It’s a simple case of poor writing rather than malfeasance.

    You could argue journalists have a responsibility researching and editing their statements for content and bias, I guess, but goose and gander; the author’s referencing the current cars’ “noise” levels; as you’ve valued 2014 cars’ sound poorly, “noise” would be correct noun usage, no? As I prefer the new sounds, it’s inaccurate usage to me, no?

    IF there’s a value proposition being placed on the sound in articles, it’s a subjective impression, not unlike your contention 2014 regs and their sound impact on the show “remains a major issue.” For you, perhaps, as prior/current generation cars sounds might be “noise” to some.

    Puntiliousness in journalism is a wonderful thing, but the standards must be applied to one’s own work before criticizing others. It’s one of many reasons I’m no journo; I suck at editing.

    • Again, I’m not a journalist. This is a site of opinion. I’ve read a lot of F1 stories for years and the word “noise” was not the one chosen to describe it in the past but it is ubiquitous this year. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

      • Of course you, and other contributors to the site, are journalists; this is a journal of opinion, correct? Take the deserved credit. I guess one could separate a blog from a magazine due to the latter’s reporting aspect, but that’s a grey area at best. How would you classify your wonderful interviews w/ the Shell fuel people?

        Whether you also take the responsibility one might confer to journalism is dependent upon which definition of journalism you adhere, which is why I allowed “You could argue journalists have a responsibility researching and editing their statements for content and bias, I guess…”

        No matter the definition, standards should be the same, no? Delineation of news v. editorial? Opinions clearly presented as such, not as fact? Granted, this isn’t a “news” blog any more than Autosport is a “news” magazine; bias creeps in, which is welcome when presented openly like you did here.

        I applaud you instructing me on the difference between “noise” and “sound”… I never distinguished. I just don’t see how FIA/teams/pundits/ or in this case Autosport marginalizes what you’ve lost by using “noise” here. By calling the 2014 exhaust sound “noise,” isn’t it reinforcing what you contend, that the 2014 cars sound like fart cans, that drivers racing in go karts would sound better?

        I wish I remembered what journo’s wrote about the sound in ’06 with the V10-V8 switch; anyone have articles from that era?

        • I think we’re parsing words here, mate. We’re not a news site with journalists but my degree is in journalism/advertising/PR. This site is a community of opinion by fans. The use of “noise” over sound is deliberate.

          Sound: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/48950/
          Sound (with one reference to noise as a tongue and cheek reference): http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/92873/
          Sound: 5th para from bottom- http://plus.autosport.com/premium/feature/3328/?_ga=1.268037774.1001426298.1403182380

          And Mr. Noble relinquishes the appropriate use for “noise” these days but #9 here shows he was using sound correctly: http://plus.autosport.com/premium/feature/4078/?_ga=1.159444925.1001426298.1403182380

          • Thanks for the links. So, Renault’s Mr. White saying “I am absolutely convinced that the engines will make a noise worthy of F1” is actually a tongue in cheek marginalization of some’s issues with 2014’s sound?

            It instead seems he’s (inaccurately) using sound/noise as synonyms. One would think any ad/PR rep would catch that, but as someone who also has ad/PR in his diploma (Minor) and is also an adman, we don’t, or ignore inaccuracy in favor of message. It could be Mr. White was a master manipulator, cleverly using “noise” to subliminally suggest fans drop their complaints, but one of the golden rules of effective PR is catering to the lowest common denominator of your audience i.e.; the massed majority. How many distinguished “noise” as negative in the above context?

            Not minimalizing your consternation, but we’re parsing words, like debating whether or not you’re a journalist and therefore entitled/obligated to follow journalistic integrity.
            I realize some of this is boring or inside baseball, but feel it’s an interesting debate. Phrasing v. un-cited opinion as fact, and which is the more egregious manipulation, and whether that manipulation’s even a bad thing. Some times, we readers need to go beyond spoon feedings and actually think :)

            What I find interesting with those V10 to V8 articles is how similar the outcry was; the V8 costs too much, sounds like crap, it’s a retrograde step; sounds like today. For those who look fondly upon the V8 era (I don’t), did you bemoan V10’s loss back then, and gradually adapt? Did you begin your fandom with the V8 era, and find comfort with its familiarity?

  • Does anyone have other citations on the exhaust proposal? I’m curious what exactly’s being tried.

  • Tim C

    Really . . . still more noise about the noise. I for one am growing tired of it all. We have got an awesome season shaping up. Yes, Merc is way ahead of everyone else. But, the competition down the ladder has been fantastic. Now, I have to admit, I’m one of those in the camp of competition over sound. I personally could care less about the volume of the engine sound or what it actually sounds like.

    • Just curious…is this season better or more exciting than when we had 7 different winners in seven races? This isn’t a “gotcha” question, I’m just curious about it.

      • Rapierman

        I think it’s a break-even question there. The reaction to the first was “OmiGOD, we don’t know who’s going to win this thing!” The reaction to the second was “OmiGOD, somebody other than Vettel might win this thing!” I think the common denominator was “somebody other than Vettel”, although one could argue that, eventually, we might say the same about Hamilton and/or Rosberg…..though that isn’t quite set in stone just yet.

      • Nope. It’s interesting, but not more exciting. Two races have been exciting but that is not because of the rules changes, I do not believe. The stars just aligned to give us great races, as they always do, albeit, infrequently.

        As for the sound/noise issue:
        Once and for all, it’s not about the volume (noise?). The simple fact is the ICE units sound terrible. They have this anemic little growl that sounds like a farting chain saw. They do not sound like pedigree race engines. I certainly love volume because it drives visceral emotions – think Blue Cheer circa 1968 – but the ‘sound of these engines will not be helped by any amount of volume enhancement. And btw: I have a feeling that those who are constantly describing how they enjoy ‘not’ having their ears assaulted are also the ones who tell their kids, “TURN. . . IT. . . DOWN!”. Just sayin’.
        TTFN

        • Interesting, as I don’t have kids, have attended races in the V10/V8 and now V6 era, and like my music loud, and I prefer the new sound; if forced to choose between V8 and V6, would choose the latter.

          It may be the ICE (and Turbo and -K and -H) sounds terrible to you; me, they’re much more compelling than the one-note, monotonous whine of the V8’s, which lacked the multi textured roar//scream and volume of the V10’s, and the mechanical growl/hi-tech woosh of the new PU’s.

          I also find any large tech reg change exciting, as each team deals with the new challenges differently, leading to different outcomes and on-track payoffs. Perhaps you’d prefer more of the status-quo, and more “excitement” via crashes, DRS passes in the last lap, perhaps a 10 lap, reverse-grid shootout?

          Wonderful thing, these absolutes…

      • Tim C

        For me it’s not the 7 different winners, though that’s good to, but it’s the competition. There are battles up and down the grid and that’s enjoyable to me.

    • ” Now, I have to admit, I’m one of those in the camp of competition over sound. I personally could care less about the volume of the engine sound or what it actually sounds like.”

      So, Formula E should be a must have ticket for you, yes?
      Actually, Formula E could end up being pretty interesting, and, pretty good racing. But, F1 it is not. Nor, is it intended to be. F1 is something, all together different. In my business we say – if a business cannot export its culture, its expansion is doomed. Same for F1. The culture is power and performance – visceral, gut wrenching, heart stopping power and performance. If F1 looses this, how is it different from any other racing series? The rules and regs make it more of a spec series every year.

  • F1derbar

    FWIW, I’m gonna point out here that the boys at the top of the time sheets today were only one second off the track record so you can’t really say that they’re not going fast enough. The sound is a by-product.

    • We’re watching FP right now, and am surprised about the times. It’s a short track w/ few turns, granted, but those 2003 cars had more top end power, and grip’s still needed for the sweepers and braking zones. 1 second’s still a big gap over a 69 second lap, but considering how much the track/setup might improve, and how highly I personally regard the early/mid 2000’s cars, impressive stuff.

      Man, this track is pretty.