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Leaving Albert Park today after watching another wet qualifying I have very mixed emotions and I’m not talking about the result of qualifying but the actual cars themselves.

For the past few years now the FIA and other high profile people have reassured us that the F1 sounding note will not be effected by the big change from V8 to V6 Turbo engines. Well today I was left with a very mono tone feeling as my wife’s hair blow dryer sounded much louder than an opened gate turbo on the back strait of Albert Park. I was talking to Mrs Walkinshaw (yes the late Tom Walkinshaw’s wife) while FP3 was on and we could hear each other very clearly and we didn’t even have to pause while the Ferrari of Kimi was going past us.

What are the FIA thinking? A change must come soon to lift the volume up on the engine as it won’t be long until the wide world fans of Formula 1 not only fall asleep in front of the TV but will start to fall asleep in the Grand Stands as well.

If you are looking to see a GP this year bring some hearing aides with you so you can intensify the sound or put some headphones in your ears with a hot lap of your favourite driver from last year so your ears, heart and soul are filled with the F1 spirit because you won’t get it from the 2014 muffled V6 Turbo engines.

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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).
  • Cj

    Watching quali it was similar to hearing an LMP race. You can all sorts of odd noises from deceleration of engine to turbos wizzing. Pretty different.
    You expect the fastest cars racing to have an inner ear rattling, lung shuddering presence.
    I’ll let it go if the the racing is good.

  • jeff

    Thanks for the trackside report. I’ll echo what others said in the “Whines” post; it’s not the tone, it’s the volume, or lack thereof. On TV it’s too silent, and from your report, it’s the same trackside. Bad thing, as on your street course the reverberations are likely upping the volume. I’m becoming more nervous about when I visit Montreal and Austin.

    How did the cars look on track? During Quali, going through the 11-12 Chicane and 15 braking was particularly exciting, and Brundle/Hill wisely pointed out to us viewers how much more of the track the drivers were using.

    Like CJ, if we can see drivers on the limit, I’ll love the racing, but also can’t deny some of the spectacle will be lost if, as you say, nothing’s done about the volume levels.

  • I am wondering how driving these cars in the wet would compare with driving Indy cars in the same conditions… it sounds like the added torque is a big challenge for most drivers.

  • Andreas

    It was different, absolutely. But there were new sounds to be heard, which was cool. For instance, sitting at the tv, I could clearly hear the crowd roaring when Ricciardo temporarily snatched pole, and also their collective “aahhh” when Hamilton took it back. Pit wall/car radio conversations was much easier to follow as well.

    Noise regulations keep getting stricter everywhere, and has definitely started affecting some of the more classic racing venues (it has all but killed racing at Brands Hatch, for instance). So reducing the noise level was always going to be something that needed to be looked at, lest we only race at tilkedromes in the middle of nowhere (Korea, anyone?), or in locations where the regime can disregard stuff like that.

    So yes, it sounded different. But as long as the racing is exciting, I’ll take it.

  • I loved the racing between the drivers, how they are pushing the cars to the limit and trying to keep it from rear wheels from spinning in 5th gear but without the loud noise coming from the exhaust it just seems their piss footing around a track. Fast means loud and quiet means slow….

  • Tim C

    I’ll confess that I know very little about the turbo set-ups being used on these cars, so what I suggest may be totally unworkable. But here goes – have only one header feeding the turbo and the other header being a direct exhaust. Both sides could still exit out the back of the car where the do now. Seems to me the turbo effect might be reduced, but it would also seem this type of design might allow for a louder sound coming from the cars via the direct exhaust. Again, this type of set-up might be totally unworkable, but it’s worth a thought.

  • I have been going to F1 races now for 18 years now in Canada and the USA and in my opinion, F1 has hit an all time low. I will no longer be spending any time or money going out to watch an F1 race, nor will I be staying up until 3AM to watch this crap on TV. Couldn’t hear ANYTHING. This is not Formula one any more.. The sound is so bad.. sounds like my wife Audi 2.0T with a vacuum cleaner dragging behind.. very sad day in F1… I miss the screaming sound and power of the V10’s soooooo bad. My heart rate use to get probably as high as the drivers was when they would go screaming by on the casino strait in Montreal… making my heart just want to pop out of my chest. It even got my wife excited and she hates racing.. The 1.6 V6T is just awful.. Please bring back the power and the sound of 20K RPM’s
    F1 is officially dead to me now.. might as well stick to Nascar and Indy.. Better show with more sound…. Cheers!

  • Rapierman

    Playing “devil’s advocate” here, I do want to keep my hearing, and a quieter engine does work toward that protection. I remember a long time ago where commercial airplane jet noises were also once that loud, and now new technology has made such things quieter and, thus, bearable. While the loud, high-pitch scream of a Formula 1 engine was a staple of the entertainment, should we really have to balance familiar sights and (especially) sounds against human audible endurance?

    • jeff

      Mcnish made the same point in a podcast recently, and furthered that there’s the generational gap thing; he took his son to a 2013 race, and while he loved the noise, his son thought it too loud. The newer fans will just think it normal F1, whilst the more seasoned I guess will acclimate; I like a little roar and ear bleeding, I guess :)

      Tim C, unfortunately the car needs the exhaust pulses from both engine banks to be workable; back pressure and more. It’s great to be thinking about ways to increase volume, though; whilst I grudgingly admit Rapierman is probably right, I think the new PU’s have gone too quiet.

      Not being an engineer, I think the only way to do it would be to raise the power fuel flow limit so that the torque curve doesn’t flatten and taper; that way they’d actually use the 15k RPM limit rather than 11-12K RPM they’re using. More power, plus a higher pitch to the tone (Fletcher-Munson Curve re: sound perception) would give us what some want.

      Reports are that the V6’s are hitting around 135db spl, whereas the V8 hit around 145 db volume. The numbers show a minimal decrease, but as it’s a logarithmic scale, 10db here should equate to roughly 3/4 the perceived volume of the old cars.

  • jonnowoody

    The sound of Formula one seems the same to me as it has for a decade.

    The whining:” We got as much out of the car as we could and I’ve got to thank the team……….”

    With the sound of the drivers recycling their exhaust gasses:” We’re on a strategy that will see us moving up the grid in the race and we’ll see where we are after the first stops………” Even if, this year, that means – parked off the racing line.

  • Dale Christiansen

    I I live in the USA but attend the GP in Canada every year. I spend about $3000 to do so and the reason is the sound plain and simple. I can see more on tv, I can hear the pit radio and get much more view of the track. So if the sound doesn’t increase in the up coming year or so there is no incentive for me or anyone else who spends the amount it cost to attend these races to go.

  • jiji the cat

    as mentioned above, i have this feeling that track numbers will be down. It costs quite bit to attend an F1 race, if a major part of the on track atmosphere has been eliminated, i think pundits wont attend. Will this filter through to TV audiences as well? if the racing is good, i think not.

    the positive in this is that perhaps the track licences might come down, forcing ticket prices down,…. well i can dream can’t i?

  • JasonI

    Do they not realize that it is rpm that makes an engine scream. Crank the damn things up to 20k and a v6 would sound just fine. This isn’t (well a lot of it is) rocket science .

    • jeff

      No point from the teams’ POV. No more power, more stress on engine VE goes down. If FIA/governing body lifts the 100l/hr reg, then maybe. When pigs fly…

      I came home from a gorgeous day, with the entire City out drinking, socializing, having fun, to watch some race on the other side of the world; F1 still has some fans :)

      • jiji the cat

        and always will.

      • JasonI

        Then why bother limiting it by rule? Let the teams decide.

        • wchrisg

          YEAH! Exactly the 5 engine limit should should be ..the limiting factor. Let the teams decide the Rev ceiling and we would have more mechanical drama and different engine notes even across teams with the same engine.

  • adam

    As I have stated before and in my previous post, I am a pure racing fan but ill put it very simple, when you go to a concert you want the music loud so you can get your heart signing. Im left very unsatisfied and will question my travelling plans for 2015.

  • neil

    I live on the top floor on top of St Kilda hill, 500m from the track and I could not hear the race on my balcony, in previous years I would have to close my door to hear the TV. I could still hear the historic cars and the V8’s, the 2014 F1 cars are producing 100 Db down from 150 Db last year. In Australia a road car can produce 110 Db.

    These cars are rubbish, they had better fix them soon or no one will be watching

  • Mack

    After having watched practice & the race, I can sum it up in one word – AWFUL. It is said that F1 now is no longer for fan enjoyment but an experiment for “going green”. I’m as eco-minded
    as anyone but not at the expense of destroying the sport. I’ve been to Europe, Canada, & USA for Formula 1 and ill not spend another nickel on it now. If fact, I’ll use my money to go see sports cars run now. I can’t wait to see some real old fashion racing like watching the CTS-V coupe run. I can assure you that it makes a sound that will blow your hair back ! In short, the FIA has wrecked Formula 1.

  • AnklaX

    It was the most boring race ever. I realized today how much sound contributed to F1. In the past I threatened boycotting watching for the rule changes. F1 but didn’t. But this time I’m going to do it for I feel like I have no choice. I live in a third world country. Its not easy for me earn the money for even going to one race yet I’ve always dreamed of watching F1 at Monza some day. Today, I feel like somebody broke my lifelong dream. They’ve ruined my favorite sport. I didn’t give a shit about hearing other audio details. I just missed the music so much I didn’t care at all that I could hear the tyre squeal or the crowd and not even the sound of deceleration – because the theme soundtrack was missing. At one point, I even felt sleepy. The race felt hollow. I mean I enjoyed races before that even the TV presenters had to admit was boring. Yet today was worse. No, it was by far the worst. Not only the volume of the sound was low, it was just a bad sound. That nosejob can be fixed but there is no excuse for the sound. None.
    .
    I really feel sad today.

    • You’ve described my feelings very well, I felt hollow while watching. the sound is an element for home viewers to determine energy being expended and the tangible example of what the driver is doing.

      • AnklaX

        Marchettino’s channel is the only refuge now

      • F1 fan NO MORE!

        it supose to be the top elite racers in the world, but we are going backwards, what is coming now? Inline four engine? f#%k NO!, i will remove everything about formula 1 now until they fix what they’ve f$%&%/d up, forget about spendind any penny to this crap, i will move to nascar i guess, im kinda crying cause i really used to love with all my heart the formula 1 but now, i wont be in the trackside just to hear a shame sound and to watch boring races, f1 sucks a lot, im very disappointed, im from LTA so my english sucks just as formula 1 does these days, shame shame, goodbye formula 1 T_T

  • rockygunner

    i totally agree with you anklax. this is almost the death of formula one as we all know it & loved it for so many years. i feel sorry for those guys who spend their hard earned money on the race track, even watching it on tv i feel total dumb. R.I.P F1

  • charlie w

    I, for one, am not ready to give up on the sport completely solely based on the sound of it. Yes, it is underwhelming to me, too. But I remember many of the same complaints voiced over Champcars’ decision to dump turbos but the racing did not suffer. Let’s get real here, folks and take a deep breath-it’s only 1 race and it was a street course at that. From its past history, Melbourne has never really produced an exciting race. If the new specs brings mid-pack teams to the front, takes down top teams, engaging wheel-to-wheel duels and passes outside the DRS zone, then I can overlook the engine sound. I’ve given the sport the next 4 races(including Australia) to show me a better Formula-1 before either to accept it or walk away.

  • wchrisg

    How could they make them louder? Put Baja Bug trumpet exhaust on them?