Coulthard joins list of V6 engine sound critics

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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.

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).