Formula one is pushing ahead with efforts to make its new V6 engines louder.
After decades of screaming, naturally-aspirated V12s, V10s and V8s, the markedly lower volume of this year’s energy-recovering turbo ‘power units’ was a shock. “I did not find it exciting,” said former F1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya, as he explained to Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport why he watched only the first five laps of the recent Chinese grand prix on television. “And I missed the noise,” the Colombian added. “At least on TV. I don’t know how the engines sound in reality, but I think it is definitely not close to the screams of the high-revving V10s from my time.”
Also unhappy is F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, who recently said Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault will work on making the 1.6 litre ‘power units’ sound better. The first meeting to discuss potential solutions was in Shanghai, and Italy’s Autosprint reports that more meetings are taking place away from the paddock this week. “We’re at the beginning of a consultative process,” confirmed Renault’s Rob White. “I think we need to be realistic about the scope of any action that we might take but of course we’re sensitive to the subject and we’ll certainly participate in any of the studies that might lead to actions being taken,” he added.
Given the fundamental infrastructure of the new engines, with the turbo collecting energy that would otherwise be heard as noise, it has been suggested one of the only things that can be done is a change to the exhaust pipe design. Autosprint correspondent Alberto Antonini said an Italian company is on the verge of being commissioned to look into possible solutions.