Saturday night’s Australian Grand Prix seemingly had everything – a dominant performance from Nico Rosberg, stellar efforts from several of the sport’s young guns, and stunning defeats for some of its veteran superstars.
But it didn’t have the distinctive scream of V-8 engines, which have been jettisoned in favor of V-6 turbocharged engines for the start of Formula One’s new technological era.
The V-6 engines definitely made for a different noise around Albert Park and that’s apparently annoyed Aussie GP organizers – with one of them having gone as far to say that the quieter cars may have breached their contracts with Bernie Ecclestone and Formula One Management.
In an interview with Australia’s Fairfax Radio network, Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO Andrew Westacott said that in addition, the turbo-powered machines have also robbed some of the mystique from its event.
“One aspect of it was just a little bit duller than it’s ever been before and that’s part of the mix and the chemistry that they’re going to have to get right,” Westacott said to Fairfax, as relayed by Reuters.
“[Aussie GP chairman] Ron [Walker] spoke to [Ecclestone] after the race and said the fans don’t like it in the venue…We pay for a product, we’ve got contracts in place, we are looking at those very, very seriously because we reckon there has probably been some breaches.”
Reaction to the new sound of Formula One – more of a throatier growl these days – has been mixed among team owners and fans.
During this weekend’s event broadcast, one of those team owners – Force India’s Vijay Mallya – proclaimed “the noise of Formula One has gone” on the world feed.
But three-time Formula One World Champion and current Mercedes F1 chairman Niki Lauda says that it’s pointless to rewrite the new engine rules for the sake of more decibels.
“Everyone wants to do something about it, but you can’t just change the exhaust pipe, you’d have to redevelop the whole engine and the mapping,” he said according to Autoweek.
“That’s just way too expensive. Please do not change the engines just to make a bit more noise.”
Westacott’s comments could make for more post-Grand Prix controversy Down Under, which is already high after Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo was disqualified from the race after finishing second because of a fuel flow irregularity.
His Red Bull team has vowed to appeal, and team principal Christian Horner is confident of said appeal’s chances.