Following Formula 1’s downsize from V8 to V6 engines for 2014, a great amount of debate has been sparked by the sound of the new power units. Lacking the recognizable screech of their predecessors, the V6s have met a great deal of criticism, ranging from the fans to the drivers and the sport’s CEO, Bernie Ecclestone.
Now, world champion Sebastian Vettel has entered the debate, and he has not minced his words at all.
“It’s sh*t,” Vettel explained to the media in Malaysia ahead of this weekend’s race. “I think for the fans it is not good.”
As part of Formula 1’s bid to become more of a ‘hybrid’ sport, the new engines have been introduced with some teething problems. However, 14 cars got to the finish in Australia, and the doomsday theorists that claimed none of the cars would see the checkered flag were proved wrong.
Nevertheless, the fall-out after the race was all about the new engine sound, and Vettel has joined the growing list of critics.
“F1 has to be spectacular and the sound is one of the most important things,” he added. “I remember when I was a small child, and I don’t remember much, being six years old when we went to watch practice at the German GP and the thing I recall is how loud the cars were and the feeling of the ground vibrating.
“It’s a shame we don’t have that anymore.”
Although Vettel’s criticism is by no means surprising nor new, it is perhaps a little short sighted. We are just one race into the new era of Formula 1, and the changes must be taken with a pinch of salt.
The new engine sound is indeed quieter, but so are the LMP1 cars that race in the World Endurance Championship; the racing is still exciting and fast, though. In Australia, the race was by no means a classic, but it was a welcome break from what we saw at the end of 2013 as drivers were actively wrestling with their cars to keep them under control. A little bit of time is what is required here.