The 2014 Formula One season opened with one overwhelming complaint – the cars didn't sound right. It sapped the excitement, despite the fact that this season has seen a number of truly thrilling races (Bahrain, Spain and Montreal all come to mind). Attempts have been made to restore some of the audible thrill of the cars, although efforts have remained unsuccessful.

If F1 can't fix the sound of the cars, then other methods need to be considered to restore its self-perceived lack of excitement. One of those involves fitting titanium skid plates to the cars in a bid to reintroduce the sparks that were so prevalent in the sport's past.

Mercedes-AMG and Ferrari conducted initial experiments with the new skid plates during early practice sessions for the 2014 Austrian Grand Prix. Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Rosberg had the plates fitted to different locations of their cars, in a bid to see which created the most dramatic sparks. Considering the photos the tests, though, neither Mercedes' nor Ferrari's setup really seemed successful, which is why you're seeing Johnny Herbert and his 1989 Benneton B188 up top.

According to Autosport, the Austrian tests are simply the first step in the long road to the new skid plates becoming a regular fixture for the 2015 season. What do you think? Is this a good plan, or should the powers that be in F1 focus on something other than visual gimmicks? Have your say in Comments.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 51 Comments
      k_m94
      • 6 Months Ago
      You want excitement? Add a second seat to F1 cars and give the passengers banana skins and turtle shells to throw at each other.
      csrecord
      • 6 Months Ago
      How about adding fake engine sounds like all the cars today and put spark plugs in the exhaust so they can shoot flames! And dancing clowns for the kids! Profit! Maybe when Ferrari says adios they'll figure out that it is suppose to be the unlimited premier racing series and not some hybrid testing grounds that changes the rules every year.
      mylexicon
      • 6 Months Ago
      When you kill racing and all of the fun associated with it, you have to add fake passing and pyrotechnics. Sad state of affairs.
      Christopher
      • 6 Months Ago
      The FIA must be run by complete idiots. You'd think no one there had any motor racing experience. All this artificial nonsense in a vain attempt to create a spectacle in formula Prius. I followed F1 for the speed and the amazing capabilities of the cars & drivers. Now we a presented with fuel consumption figures. Drivers can no longer race because they have to monitor so many parameters/functions, the cars can no longer be pushed to the limit because of the most stupid motor racing idea ever - fuel flow monitoring. The only way to bring F1 back is to fire the lot.
        Aussie Aspie
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Christopher
        Maybe next we'll go to F1 EV's with speakers outputting high-revving engine sounds!
        Echelon Bob
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Christopher
        I agree. Limiting total fuel for a race is one thing, but monitoring and limiting max fuel flow during a race is BS. The former makes sense if you want manufacturers to improve fuel efficiency, but the latter is just micromanaging.
      Chris
      • 6 Months Ago
      Dumb move. Why not just have a pyrotech show before or after the "race"? Who the hell is running the show now? Fire him.
      Rob
      • 6 Months Ago
      Pathetic!!!!!
      Alex Giesey
      • 6 Months Ago
      Why not flame throwers?
      Richard
      • 6 Months Ago
      Translation: we know the racing is kinda boring, so we'll throw some sparks in to keep fans entertained. Bernie must not have a high opinion of the intelligence of the fans.
      Kevin Potts
      • 6 Months Ago
      I'm insulted that they think I am entertained by sparks or noise. I am into drafting, power-passing, pitstops, cornering...you know racing?
      Kuro Houou
      • 6 Months Ago
      Why introduce something artificial to the sport.. just doesn't make sense. Why not just have loud speakers playing v8 noise while your at it... The problem is they keep trying to make things more interesting but it makes it less. It was so interesting back in the day because they had more free reign over what they could do. When you make hybrid cars, of course they will be quieter, you need less cylinders, less cc's, and rely on batteries which are essentially quite when powering electric motors. If you don't want them quite get rid of the hybrid system. I am not saying I don't like the hybrid systems though, I think they are fine. The cars sound fine too. Just stop trying to add stupid things. Its like what BMW does adding exhaust sound into the cabin because they have turbo's now...its to artificial.
      Race Brace
      • 6 Months Ago
      F1 was the automotive sport of kings. it is not meant to be an introduction to motorsports, but the top. The engines are now no longer exciting in the same way that the Hyrids are at 24 Hr LeMans. If not for other cars on the track the race wouldn't even be worth watching. Now F1 is turning the cars that we love, for their speed, sound and spectacle into a watered down, soft timid thing. They may still be fast but they are not exciting. If cars were only about speed nobody would care to drive a 308 Ferrari when a Honda Accord is actually faster. We all know which one of those most of us would chose. Please don't take the same turns and mistakes that Nascar has. Keep some of the old excitement and keep the cars exciting or people will find something else to watch.
      Echelon Bob
      • 6 Months Ago
      Ridiculous. Sparks are not a spectacle, but rather a sign they couldn't get it quite right.
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