While every team on the Formula One grid is worried about making a good showing in this year's championship at the same time as they develop a brand-new car for next year's championship, Bernie Ecclestone and F1 circuit promoters have a different concern: how next year's cars will sound. The current cars use 2.4-liter, naturally-aspirated V8s that can reach 18,000 revolutions per minute and employ dual exhaust, next year's engine formula calls for 1.6-liter turbocharged V6s that are capped at 15,000 rpm and are constrained to a single exhaust outlet. Ecclestone and promoters like Ron Walker believe the new engines sound like lawnmowers and that the less thrilling audio will keep people from coming to races. If Walker's Australian Grand Prix really is shelling out almost $57 million to hold the race, every ticket counts. As a fix, according to a report in Autoweek, Ecclestone "suggests that the only way to guarantee [a good sound] may be to artificially adjust the tone of the V6s."

However, neither the manufacturers nor the governing body of F1, the FIA, think there will be a problem. Ecclestone fears that if the manufacturers "don't get it right" they'll simply leave the sport, but the only three carmakers and engine builders left next year, Renault (its 2014 "power unit" is pictured), Mercedes-Benz and Ferrari are so embedded that it would stretch belief to think they'd leave the table over an audio hiccup – if said hiccup even occurs. And frankly, these issues always precede changes to engine formulas, as they did when the formula switched from V10 to V8; fans, though, are probably less focused on the engines and more on the mandated standardization of the sport and the spec-series overtones that have come with it.

No one knows yet what next year's engines will sound like, but we've assembled a few videos below to help us all start guessing. The first is an engine check on an Eighties-era John Player Special Renault with a 1.5-liter V6 turbo, after that is Ayrton Senna qualifying in 1986 in the Lotus 98T that also had a 1.5-liter V6 turbo, then you'll find a short with a manufactured range of potential V6 engine notes, and then the sound of turbocharged V6 Indycars testing last year at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Any, or none of them, could be Formula One's future.












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  • 44 Comments
      robbversion1
      • 1 Year Ago
      If the reason to go from V8 to V6 was to reduce cost, wouldnt it be just as good to reintroduce refueling to pit stops? As of now the cars have to hold about 180 liters (48 gallons) of fuel from start. Thats about 432-ish lbs that these cars have to lug around at race start. If they had a fraction of this they'd be more fuel efficient. I'm not even sure why they even stopped refueling.
        Rygar
        • 1 Year Ago
        @robbversion1
        They stopped re-fueling due to safety. There's been instances of potentially fatal accidents due to drivers leaving the pits while the fuel rig is still attached. Fuel spilling everywhere due to faulty rigs, etc. But what I always thought was funny is that in an era of cost-savings and environmental friendliness, F1 would switch to tires that only lasts 7 laps. Now they're burning through 3 to 4 times more rubber, how much is that costing? Not to mention the environmental aspects. F1 is supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsport, so let it be just that. F1 is crazy expensive so why try to mitigate that. Money doesn't directly mean podiums - ask Toyota about that. And the flip side of that - look at Brawn. The F stands for formula, so why not create a formula such as a team gets X amount of fuel to finish a race, the engine must have X amount of displacement, and let them figure it out. The best ideas will come in first and why is that such a bad thing? Look what Brawn did, they figured out the double diffuser and stole the show. Soon after everyone started running double diffusers and competition started to equal out. A team can create the most revolutionary device or set-up but the second it hits the track it there for all the world to see - and for the other teams to figure out how to make it work for them.
      GasMan
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think 80 year old Bernie has been taking too many Viagra. He thinks everything should be enhanced.
      Badfish941
      • 1 Year Ago
      This sounds like something that should have been posted last Monday. I can't believe this is the first time that Ecclestone has thought about the sound difference. I love that rough sound of some of the older turbo engines, but modern turbos sound alot quieter and just less dramatic. I don't think it will be terrible though, I can't see Ferrari making an engine that sounds like a 'lawnmower'. Ecclestone's changes since 2007 are slowly killing my interest in F1....
      Mr E
      • 1 Year Ago
      honestly, i think this is a non-issue. all of the sound clips sound just fine, and just add in the turbo spooling noises to whatever's lost with the engine noise. not to mention, once you get a dozen of these things together on-track plus tire noises, etc, i can't imagine races will sound boring.
        ksrcm
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Mr E
        Mr. E I'm not sure you understand. My first contact with The Sound was in 1993 while late for qualifying and doing a very brisk pace walk from train station to main entrance to Imola circuit. Somewhere just outside central piazza I heard them blowing siren(s) and fully believing they are doing it to mark qualifying session start. It wasn't a siren. The distance was about 2 km. What turbo? What tire noise?
      k.naz
      • 1 Year Ago
      BMW will have a field day with this.
      The Wasp
      • 1 Year Ago
      This guy Ecclestone is just full of bad ideas...
      killbot0224
      • 1 Year Ago
      Yeah... we all want fake sound. In fact, let's just produce a CGI F1 movie each race weekend, because that's better than watching real vehicles. Then we can have fake crashes and fake passing to go with our fake sound.
      Bruce Guthrie
      • 1 Year Ago
      After attending dozens and dozens of F1 races around the world, and bringing many first time F1 attendees, what fans always seem to be left with is three things, 1) The cornering speeds. 2) The sounds of the cars. 3) The brakes of the cars. F1 CAN'T dumb down the sound of the engines in 2014. It's hard for me to remember the previous turbo era, but I don't remember the cars sounding flat, like turbo charged cars can often sound. I've been to approximately 40 Indy Car races, back when it was Champ Car and all the engines were turbocharged V-8's and they sounded great. I don't know what kind of revs the old Champ Car engines were running, but I'm going to guess 12-14K. The engines of those days were pretty stressed because they were making between 980 & 1100 BHP, which rivaled the old F1 turbo engines, although F1 was doing it out of 1.5 liters, with no limit on boost or number of turbos and the Champ Car engines were around 2.75 liters, boost limited and only allowed one turbo charger. Bernie and company are too smart and too market savvy to allow a flat sounding engine, even if the sound is generated with false aids, such as baffles or some other form of exhaust sound tuning. Bruce Guthrie LA, CA
      NMeng
      • 1 Year Ago
      There's also a chance that those will sound like GM 3800's that rev to 15K. I've always thought the 3800 sounded like a cow with a 50 gallon drum over its head, so this could be grim. My guess is that they'll sound rather good. The F1 engineers will probably mount said turbos close to symmetrically, so the GTR exhaust note would be most likely. Muffled by the turbo. Anything that screams to 15K is good in my book. I was hoping for 2.0 liter four cylinders that have 90 degree crankshafts.
      Cory Stansbury
      • 1 Year Ago
      I, personally, greatly prefer to the sound of old F1 cars to today's screamers. I was rather looking forward to the change.
      spinftwin
      • 1 Year Ago
      I actually like the deeper tones of lower revs than the dentist-drill sound at 18,000 RPM.
      Nick Hunkar
      • 1 Year Ago
      The V6 turbos sounded fine before, they will again. Maybe Bernie should shut up or he may cause his own problem.
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