F1 will continue to push for louder engines, according to disgruntled Australian grand prix chief Ron Walker.
Last week in Barcelona, Mercedes tried a trumpet-shaped exhaust attachment designed to turn up the volume of this year’s turbo V6s. The unanimous conclusion was that F1’s first try at loudening the sport’s aural spectacle did not work, and many were relieved that artificially tweaking the new and highly-sophisticated engines had not proved so simple. F1, however, will not stop here, Walker insists. In Barcelona, the Australian led a rare meeting of almost every single promoter on the entire F1 calendar, and “Everybody agreed”, he has now told Fairfax Media.
Until now, the subjects discussed at the meeting had not been confirmed, but “We’re all concerned about the noise level,” Walker now reveals. “We can’t wait until next year,” he insisted. “Something has to be done soon. “Everybody agreed. We’re all in the entertainment business. The people in the stands don’t understand the new regulations. They want aggression, they want a gladiatorial contest,” said Walker. “My customers don’t care about only using 100 kilograms of fuel in a race. Ticket sales are hard to get these days because the sports market is so competitive.”
But according to quadruple world champion Alain Prost, the mixed messages coming out of formula one at the moment is a bigger problem for the sport. Frenchman Prost is now involved in the brand new Formula E series, where the entirely battery-powered single seaters are almost completely silent. Prost thinks F1’s move to modern, hybrid engines is “fantastic”, but the mixed messages are drowning out the good news. “Right now the (F1) cars have the same power (as before) but are using 30 to 40 per cent less fuel, which is amazing, so big,” he said. “But the fans perhaps do not care too much, so there is a little bit of confusion and young people aren’t following and aren’t interested,” Prost explained. “With Formula E it is much more interesting, and with the organisers we are all in the same boat.”
Image: Dancsik Mikola