Coulthard joins list of V6 engine sound critics

2 Comments

Former Formula 1 driver and 2001 championship runner-up David Coulthard has become the latest personality in the sport to criticize the new sound of the V6 engines, which were introduced for the 2014 season.

Having downsized from V8s in 2013, the new hybrid ‘power unit’ is intended to aid the sport’s environmental credentials, but the big gripe that many fans and figures within Formula 1 have had is that they lack the screeching sound of the old engines.

In his “DC Insights” blog for banking group UBS, Coulthard expressed his concerns about the new formula.

“My ear drums will probably not thank me for saying this but I agree with Bernie Ecclestone, I think the new generation of cars could do with being a bit noisier,” he said. “Even from my soundproofed commentary booth, I could tell it lacked a little va-va-voom in the volume department.

“Formula 1 doesn’t strictly need that high-pitched banshee scream produced by the old V10s, and to a lesser extent the V8s, but ear-splitting noise is part and parcel of the sport.

“Just as you expect your whole body to shake when a fighter jet passes overhead, so you expect your senses to be assaulted by a Formula 1 car. Try standing in the tunnel in Monaco when a V10 engine screams past and you will understand what I mean. It is a visceral experience.”

The Scotsman went on to explain how the sound is something that the engineers can alter on the power units, and encouraged them to do so in the near future in order to stop the backlash that is currently being felt in Formula 1.

“It is not beyond the wit of Formula 1 engineers to amplify the noise a bit,” Coulthard said. “Musical instruments make enough of a racket with wind blowing through them relatively slowly. A Formula 1 car expels its exhaust gases at over 1000mph. It might add a bit of weight to the overall package but I think it would be well worth it to recover a vital element of the F1 experience.

“Don’t take my word for it, though. Listen to the reaction from the fans. That is one thing that is coming through extremely loud and clear. We cannot afford to ignore our fans.”

As a veteran of 247 grands prix, Coulthard is one of the most experienced drivers in the history of the sport. However, given that we are just one race in to the new engine era, it is perhaps with caution that such comments should be made.

NEOM McLaren Formula E announces Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast for 2023 season

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing
0 Comments

Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.

The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.

“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.

“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.

“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”

The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.

Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.

Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.

McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.