When it was confirmed that Formula 1 would be downsizing from V8 engines to turbocharged V6s, the big question was “how will this affect the sound of the sport?” Part of the series’ appeal and schemata is the distinct screeching sound of the cars, but it appears that the new power units have divided opinion in this respect.
For many in the paddock, the new engine sound is lacking the gusto of its predecessor. Typically, working outside in the paddock during a session can be troublesome for broadcasters due to the sound of the cars. However, this time around, there wasn’t this same volume. Some journalists tweeted about how quiet it was in the media centre without the sound of a V8 engine ringing throughout the paddock.
Weird how quiet it is in the media room – not too sure about FIA’s claim that they’re only slightly quieter than last year.
— Daniel Johnson (@danielt_johnson) March 14, 2014
Force India team owner Vijay Mallya spent the second practice session hanging over the side of the pitwall, watching the cars come along the main straight. When approached by the FOM world feed cameras, Mallya said: “The noise of Formula 1 has gone!” Former F1 driver and now British TV pundit Martin Brundle even remarked how trackside he could cope without wearing ear protection.
I like the sound of the new engines there just not enough of it, turbos strangle it. ‘Noses’ and ‘noise’ on the to-do list for 2015 please.
— Martin Brundle (@MBrundleF1) March 14, 2014
Marussia’s Max Chilton posted a picture of a fighter jet to Instagram, saying: “Finally some noise returns to the F1 paddock!”
However, some praised the sound of the new engines, likening it to the sound of the hybrid power units that are used by Le Mans prototypes. NBCSN’s Will Buxton also expressed his happiness with the new sound of the sport.
Also I love the sound. Get the microphones placed right on track and you will too. Plus for the first time I don’t have to shout in pitlane.
— Will Buxton (@willbuxton) March 14, 2014
The arguments against the new sound are very similar to those lodged when F1 downsized from V10s to V8s and from V12s to V10s. It may merely be a case of getting used to it, and come the end of the year, we may not know any differently and not be as bothered by the sound difference compared to 2013.