Ex-FIA president accepts ‘blame’ for F1’s new quieter sound

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Former FIA president Max Mosley has said that the critics of Formula 1’s new turbocharged V6 engines should blame him for instigating the reform, but he insists that it was the right decision to introduce the more efficient power units.

Mosley was president of the FIA between 1993 and 2009, and first investigated using the hybrid technology in the final few years of his tenure. These ideas carried over into the new presidency under Jean Todt, who finally implemented the changes for the 2014 season.

The new engines have split opinion largely because of their sound. In the wake of their screeching V8 predecessors, the V6 power units are certainly quieter, and for some this is a serious problem. The FIA has confirmed that it is investigating ways to make them louder, whilst Bernie Ecclestone and Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo have both been critics of the new formula.

In an interview with British newspaper The Daily Mail, Mosley confirmed that he was the first to talk about going hybrid.

“If anybody should be blamed it’s me,” he joked. “We were the ones who looked at bringing in the new technology. It was 10 years in the making, and I actually like the noise.

“I wear these things in both my ears [hearing aids] because the noise of the engines went right through me for 40 years or more. It’s too late to save my hearing but not for the next generation. The quieter engines are better for families. You can take children to races without fear of their being deafened.”

It is certainly easier to take children to a Formula 1 race, and also allows us to hear drivers locking up under braking and when making contact. Also, the engine sound is better in person than it is on television. The hybrid technology is widespread in other motorsport series, and brings Formula 1 closer to road car technology.

“It is important for Formula One to evolve,” Mosley said. “Safety was the big challenge of the 20th century and the environment is the big challenge of the 21st. If that that fact is not understood and embraced, the sport runs the risk of becoming irrelevant.”

As we saw in Bahrain, the sport is still capable of producing some scintillating racing despite being quieter. However, given that the sound is an important part of Formula 1’s image, it might be a problem that needs to be fixed in the near future.

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).