OCTOBER 26, 2013
F1 staying loud
As a new 'silent' series gears up, formula one is on a mission to stay as loud as it can in a new, greener world.
The last scream of a normally-aspired V8 engine will be cut after the chequered flag in Brazil next month, as audio clips of the tamer tones of next year's turbo V6s hit the internet.
Some have likened the noise to a high-revving vacuum cleaner.
"Well, for sure, the element of the engine sound is very important, no doubt about it," Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali said in India.
The Italian has been around F1 long enough to remember well the howling scream of a Ferrari V12. The V12s become V10, then V8.
Domenicali acknowledged that many in the paddock, and outside of it, are concerned that one of F1's biggest drawcards -- the 'music' of the power plant - is losing some of its holler.
"We're going to be V6 with turbo and then it's just a matter of fine-tuning the sound, which is vital for the show," he said.
Monisha Kaltenborn, boss of the Ferrari customer Sauber, seemed to confirm that engine suppliers are being tasked with ensuring F1 is as loud as possible despite its new 'green' era.
"I have full trust that Ferrari will sort out that issue," she said in India, when asked about the dubious engine note.
Mercedes-powered Force India's Vijay Mallya added: "I have participated in many meetings where Bernie (Ecclestone) has absolutely insisted that there can be no compromise on noise."
Mercedes' Ross Brawn also said fans should not worry too much about what they have heard on the internet so far.
"I don't think a recording of a dyno cycle is actually that representative," he warned. "We'll see how it sounds when we get out on the circuit."
But taking a radically different approach is the FIA's new 'formula E' series, which from 2014 will see single seaters under electric power on city circuits. Quadruple world champion Alain Prost will be involved as a team owner.
And 'see' - not 'hear' - is the operative word.
"I don't like it (formula E) at all," world champion Sebastian Vettel, who captured pole in India on the eve of his 2014 title victory, said on Saturday.
"I think the people come here to feel formula one and there's not much to feel when a car goes by and you don't even hear anything else but the wind," said the German.
"Maybe I'm very old fashioned, but I think formula one needs to scream, needs to be loud, there needs to be the vibration.
"I remember the first time I went to see formula one in 1992 at Hockenheim ... it was a great feeling to hear them coming through the forest and feel it through the ground," Vettel added.
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