F1 Winter Break
What I thought of the new look and sound of F1: Guest Blog
Posted By: James Allen  |  17 Mar 2014   |  12:24 pm GMT  |  330 comments

by Ed Gorman, former F1 Correspondent, The Times

I always loved the Australian Grand Prix. Even though I used to experience it through a haze of jet lag – mere newspaper journos were never given enough time in-country to adjust – you could not help enjoying the setting, the people and the passion for the sport. Albert Park is right up there with the best of them – in my day in the paddock that would include Silverstone, Monza, Spa, Monaco, anywhere in Japan, Montreal and Brazil.

From the comfort of my sofa 10,500 miles away and without the need to get on a cheap flight all the way there, those hugely positive vibes about Formula One still come over loud and clear. The Grand Prix is taken seriously in Melbourne, it gets genuine support and it remains a worthy setting for the season opener.

In the last few years, particularly from a British perspective, the sport has been struggling a bit. The success of Sebastian Vettel and the corresponding lack of it among the main British teams and British divers has sapped enthusiasm in the UK. So like many armchair followers I was looking forward to something a bit different and boy did we get it.

The combination of the sweeping rule changes, the new sounds and technology and the new driver talent on show, plus the complex challenge of managing fuel loads made for a real sit-up-and-take-notice race weekend. The opener should be at the very least an amuse-bouche for what is to come and I found myself thinking about all the might-have-beens and the intriguing unanswered questions once the chequered flag had come down.

For example, the season looks massively promising for Lewis Hamilton, assuming he can get past Nico. It is not looking too bad for Sebastian Vettel either, given the performance of Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull, which finished second prior to being disqualified. And what about Williams? Where would they have finished had Valtteri Bottas not hit the wall and Felipe Massa not been shoveled off the track by Kamui Kobayashi? And where are Ferrari in the pecking order? Was the electrical fault on both cars enough to consign them to the upper middle order or is this another not bad, but not great, offering from Maranello?

The sport’s administrators have given the teams a proper challenge and the single most positive element I would argue is that they have returned some of the skill back to the cockpit. The cars are powerful, unruly and complex and they are proving a handful for the world’s top drivers. No doubt things will settle down and the drivers and teams behind them will gradually learn the new ropes, but in the meantime it looks like we could be in for some exciting racing in the early part of the season.

Rookies catch the eye
Driver wise, you could not but help be impressed by the new kids on the block – Daniel Ricciardo stepping up in class to Red Bull with a mature performance in front of his home crowd and Kevin Magnussen putting on an astonishing debut for Ron Dennis’s team. And then there is Daniil Kvyat, the new teenage star in the Toro Rosso, who started eighth and finished tenth, becoming the youngest points scorer in Formula One history as he did so.

And what of the teams? The resurgence of Williams is very exciting. After years of being also-rans, the proud outfit now under Claire Wiliams’s control looks a force to be reckoned with. One of the best shots in the television coverage was a cut-away of her in the garage, barely being able to look at the screen as she watched Bottas whack his rear wheel into the wall, on lap 10. She looks like someone who wants to win badly and maybe – like her father – she will be tough on her drivers. Mercedes are clearly a step ahead of everyone and Nico Rosberg did not put a foot wrong in his impressively packaged new Silver Arrow. His performance is encouraging from a Lewis Hamilton perspective but slightly worrying if the team runs away with the season. Red Bull clearly have a useful if unprepared car and cannot be discounted yet.

The look of the new cars
Looks-wise there are some seriously ugly machines knocking around. The rules on nose height have forced designers into some ungainly solutions with Ferrari taking the title for worst of all (Lotus as runner-up?). The red cars look like a couple of old prize-fighters with noses that have been broken and flattened after years in the ring. I can’t imagine Luca di Montezemolo – who guards the style of Ferrari with a passion – is all that pleased with his latest Formula One thoroughbreds.

The new sound of F1
I know the thorny question of engine noise – or lack of it – has been heavily debated already but, for what its worth, here’s my view, having tuned in for the first time this weekend. I am torn on this. In some ways quieter cars are better for everyone, speaking as one of the thousands of people whose hearing was damaged by being too close to Formula One. They are also a lot more interesting in the sense that you can hear much more about how the car is performing with the new cars – the engine note, the gear changes, the screech of lock-ups. You can also hear ambient noise around the cars, including the crowd occasionally and even the circuit commentator – the redoubtable Bob Constanduros. There were moments when it felt, or sounded like, a Grand Prix from years ago.

But there is no doubt that something has been lost. The sheer roaring, full-throated extravagance of the V8s was enough to send a shiver through my spine every time I heard them close up. The old cars physically invaded your space as they approached, hammering the ground like a tank on speed. I will never forget standing in the tunnel at Monaco feeling the chest bursting impact of cars rifling past towards the sunlight. Somehow Formula One – the pinnacle of motor sport – felt just right being ludicrously loud.

I admit I spent quite a lot of time this weekend trying to put my finger on what the new cars sound like. Lawn mowers? No. Motor bikes. Maybe. Powerboats. Yes. My guess is that the main loss here will be felt by people at the tracks. On TV, the new “noise scape” is less impressive but more interesting and after a while we will all have forgotten what some of us are missing. There will also be more people around not needing hearing aids.

Two final thoughts
It was great to hear Kamui Kobayashi so honestly and completely accepting responsibility for his fairly embarrassing crash at the first corner. It is not often you get a driver putting his hand up and doing that when there is always someone else to blame. It turned out anyway that the rear brakes had failed.

It is a relief that the length of quali has been looked at. But it is a pity the changes weren’t more radical. Cutting the most boring section – quali one – from 20 to 18 minutes is hardly a big step and does not make enough of an impact. More controversially, I found the race very long and not as interesting after the safety car as before it. Does Formula One have to stick to such a long-winded format? A shorter, more intense Grand Prix might be the way ahead…I’ve got my fingers in my ears on that one.

What do you think? Do you agree with Ed’s comments on the first weekend of F1 racing 2014? Give us your views below

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Thought engines sounded appalling when watching on friday, but tried to assure myself that it had to be this way. By mid race on sunday I found I had forgotten all about it and was just enjoying the racing. New engines have so many positives, and only one real negative (albeit a pretty big one).

Main question to James or anyone.

Cars are limited to 15, 000 rpm. In practice it was mentioned that most cars would run at about 12, 000 for fuel saving purposes. As fuel isn’t an issue in qualifying, were the engines cranked up to 15? Was that as loud as they are going to sound?


Formula 1 Noise debate. What a load of rubbish!! I expect that they will ask engineers to fit ‘Raspberry’ reed to the exhausts to make more noise. That is the sort of stupid thing that will be suggested. We’ve had noisier and quieter F1 cars in the past but noise plays very little part in the spectacle of skilful and competitive racing.

I remember being at the British Grand Prix, at Silverstone in 1971 the engines and their sounds were very different then. A lot of the cars were Ford Cosworth V8s but I particularly remember the screaming sound of the Matra V12 and the near silence of the Lotus Turbine car driven by Reine Wisell, until it got halfway round a turn then a whoosh after the lag of the turbine.

Formula 1 has been set a huge challenge with the new engine formula. Some engine manufacturers are ahead of others, certainly at the moment. With all of that extra torque and less aerodynamic downforce it is amplifying drivers skill (or lack of it), more. It will be interesting to see where this season’s development takes us by November. Lots of engineering excellence and spectacular racing I hope. I just don’t want to see balloons appearing from the back of the cars with ‘Brrrmm, Brrrm’ written on them!


Difficult one this. On the one hand you will no longer need ear defenders at a GP. Also noise pollution is not a good thing and a waste of energy....... Perhaps some nice American V8 sound system could be attached to the cars. 😉

What will happen when they are 100% electric! 🙁


Actually, the reason they rarely go above 12,000rpm is because they are allowed max fuel flow from 10,500rpm. That means they can use just as much fuel per second at 10,500 as they can at 15,000rpm. As the maximum theoretical energy is proportional to the mass of fuel it means - with the MGU augmented turbo supplying as much much air as is needed - there is no need to rev all the way to 15,000. If anything, the engine will generate LESS power higher up the rev range as it will have higher internal power loss.

The only time they are likely to rev to the top of the range is in top gear, to reach their top speed.


Also because the friction at higher revs uses more fuel and they can get enough power at 10,500 to do the job


I think your RPM questions should be a bit different.

Can the engines be turned up to 18000RPM or 20000RPM to improve the sound, with the increase in RPM and resulting fuel consuption being offset by improvement in the ERS to ensure the 100KG of fuel is all that is required for a GP, even at these higher RPM?

Run-on question if I've ever seen one!

After all, can't make the fuel tank bigger in this 2014 car, and refueling is not allowed and reving higher to make it noisy would mean higher fuel consuption - so rebalancing of load between ERS and engine is needed. Perhaps this fuel sensor can finally come in handy for something! 🙂


My thoughts exactly.

I play Gran Turismo 6; the Red Bull Standard car is a V6 Turbo, limited to 18-20K. It absolutely screams as it hits the rev limiter, but is also fairly docile sounding at lower revs.

I know it's only a game, but it gives fuel for thought.

Like you said, still an environmental focus (efficient power units) but with the spine shivering sound fans crave.


The sound was very dissappointing made worse by the support categories (2 only) providing the aura many of us are there for.

Being situated on turn 4, we had no idea when a car was about to come into view......i used to be able to hear them leaving the pitlane.

I wonder if there will be changes before we get to Spa.....if there isnt i wouldnt choose a seat at Eau Rouge. 🙂


Probably only running 10,500rpm, as the fuel reduces per cylinder/rev after that. (I did wonder if McLaren could stop the fuel to Lewis's dead cylinder, and provide it to the other 5 :-P)

I'm amazed that so many people are arguing that the noise needs to increase until it's a health/pollution issue and you're forced to wear ear protection again.

David in Sydney

After watching Friday I thought the engines sounded lame but by the time the race came around all I could think of was the driving and the racing and the engine tech.

It's great to see real world advantages coming out of racing engines and it's great to see more of the driving skill on display.

The only thing I really don't like is DRS.


I was trackside for the 4 days and was hugely disappointed by this year's event. The support categories of Porsche Carrera Cup and V8 Supercars were far more exciting. To start with their races were much shorter, so all drivers were flat out from lights to flag with action throughout the field.

Also the sound (yes it DOES play a part) - they were, as I said, flat out for practice, qualifying and every lap of every race. Whereas the F1 cars only seemed to be flat out for a couple of laps in quali and the first couple of laps of the race, after which you could hear them all turn their revs down. Unfortunately, this made them less dramatic, less exciting and introduced a fair bit of mis-firing so they sounded terrible. The sound was merely "OK" when they were all wound up and running in a pack (for the first few laps only).

It was noticeable that the crowds weren't that engaged with the on-track activities of the F1 cars during the practice sessions but EVERYBODY rushed to get a view when the "old" Red Bull F1 car went round for the ultimate speed comparisons, which happend on 3 of the 4 days. The popular view was "THAT was what an F1 car should sound like" and not the banging, popping, mis-firing (and quiet) sound that accompanied the cars whilst trying to preserve fuel and protect fragile engines over 57 tedious laps. That was not racing. It was only the fact that DR made the podium that the crowd had something worth staying to the end for - and even that has been taken away (for now, at least).

I came away with a leaflet offering me a good deal on ordering next year's ticket early. I don't think I will be taking them up on the offer. I will be following something else by then.


Just got back from Melbourne and over the years attending both Melbourne and Adelaide the build up was huge as to what would happen and what they would sound like. All I can say is I came away very disappointed albeit very proud of Dans effort just brilliant regardless of the outcome.

The whole race you knew nothing about what was going on and having also just watched the replay on tv it left you clueless of who was using what and when etc etc.

F1 was more than the racing You once could feel it though your body as they ripped past. That has completely gone that exclusive feeling only felt by an F1. I too think I will pass the opportunity to attend again and just watch it on tv.

For those that haven't heard them yet it certainly is nothing to get excited about just disappointment.


The ultimate speed comparison happened on all 4 days. There was a practise session and the first race on Thursday, and then a race each Friday, Saturday and Sunday for a total of 5 on-track appearances.

Good luck finding something else.


"Good luck finding something else."

The Paint Drying World Championship should be just as exciting, unless the new paint flow rates bollix everything up of course.


With the new engines the heart and soul has been ripped out of F1 what a disaster the thing that really made the difference between the different formulae's has now gone.

The new engines sound like a damp squib people will desert in their droves the v8s made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up not any more the trouble is its now run by accountants and wishy washy environmentalists


Right, the cars sound awful, but the variety of nose shapes is interesting - pity they couldn't have been moulded in the same nose shape as those of the drivers. More seriously, the by-wire rear brakes is nothing more than a band-aid solution to a serious control problem and I can see it causing major accidents or even deaths as the season goes on and the drivers get more daring.This is one area where the regulations have not only failed but have put the drivers' lives at risk.


I prefer the new sounds (and I say "sounds" - plural) because we can now hear the screech of lockups and the whine of the turbos. It's more interesting to hear what the cars are actually doing rather than just having more volume.

The new cars are like a symphony compared to the old cars which were more like dubstep turned up to 11. Both good in different ways.


if you are watching f1 just for the sound of the engine then you are missing the whole point. For me its all about the racing, youll get used to the sound soon enough. All we have to get rid off is the DRS and double points...


About engines, and sorry to go off at a bit of a tangent (but can't think of where else to pose the question) :

Both Lewis and Seb had broken cylinders. Never recall hearing about even one. Is there a techo reason for this with the new engines or is it just a coincidence ? Could it have happened when they were turning at 15K ?


'Broken cylinder' is an peculiar expression I've never heard before. 'Broken piston' maybe, but how can a cylinder 'break'?

In fact I read on another site that the problem was that the cylinder was not firing, which sounds more like an ignition fault.


While I agree that reduced "volume" is a good thing, the quality of the new sound leaves much to be desired. One only needs to attend a Historic race to hear that a car can sound great and not hurt.

I only wish they sounded like power boats which typically have a huge deep roar. During the broadcast, they sounded like a pack of big 2 cycle motor bikes. Not pleasing.

Hopefully the broadcasters will adjust their techniques to capture all the "interesting" sounds for the viewer...


Nice article, although I have to disagree about the Ferrari - yes it is ugly, but not as ugly as the Caterham and still not quite as ugly as the 2012 Lego Ferrari.

Hope to see Massa and Bottas make full use of their Williams' potential in Malaysia as well as some Rosberg/Hamilton and Vettel/Ricciardo showdowns.


Yes it would be nice to see Massa do well and a Williams come back. 🙂


The Toro Rosso is the ugliest of them all. I have warmed to the Ferrari and like the Lotus


I do still like the Toro Rosso, but I admit it looks bit a worse on the TV than it does in the photos.


Random, don't forget the 1979/1980 Ferrari T4/T5 for the ugly duckling awards.........argh my eyes, my eyes!

I agree Vatty and Felipe Baby should be in the pound seats this season, because that machine from Grove looks like it has excellent downforce potential - not as good as the Merc (yet), but still quick.

Don't forget Malaysia has that equatorial jungle swampy monsoon weather, so again a rain affected qualifying and race may skew the true picture of F1 2014 so far.


Ohh controversial 😀

Great piece. I agree with most of it!

Having watched the replay on tv I agree that viewers will get over the sound, ticket sales might be down next yr tho. Unfortunately/fortunately depending on your position I also agree that RBR aren't that far off sorting out their problems...

Thank you for sharing.


Sounds like F3 not sufficiently intoxicating to keep the audience agog for 90 odd minutes. The races in all the quieter formulae are much shorter so people don't tend to lose interest ( although non match up to the sheer"shock and awe" of the old style F1).


On the contrary. I attended the 2012 Grand Prix of Spa (to witness Michael Schumacher drive one last time) and to be frank: I didn't enjoy having to wear protective ear gear all the time. I didn't hear the cars at all and I couldn't have a proper conversation with my friends during the race. It was a very lonely cut off experience.

I am looking forward hearing the cars without protective ear gear for the first time. Finally we could hear the different subtleties of the engine, turbo and gear shifting … it is a far more richer experience.

Compare it to a rock concert. You could put the music really loud (to hide your shortcomings) or you could turn down the volume to allow the content come to the fore.


I was there for the weekend. First reaction to the noise was definitely disappointment. It is just not the same level of spectacle. However as someone who enjoys the technology side of F1 you could hear things you never heard before. I was at turn one in the braking zone; you hear tires and brakes squealing plus an odd swooshing sound which I took to be the ERS.

Real issue is when the cars are just cruising eg. behind the safety car. They sounded rough as an old Austin Allegro with a hole in the exhaust!


Im noticing lots of comments like this are coming from people who haven't heard them in the flesh. I was there, it was utterly disappointing. I've heard louder cars on the street on a Saturday night. I won't be going again next year.


Appalling sound of the new V6's, absolutely dismal - yes I have to agree that it is unlikely that I will return again to the track.

It was so exciting to hear the F1 Red Bull V8 in the speed comparison test vs the V8 supercar and the Mercedes, such a shame that that is the only way of hearing that intense raw.

To not require ear plugs whilst at the track is very disappointing.


The finest drivers in the world driving the most technologically advanced cars where driving skills are now at the fore and you're not going to wath it because it's not noisy.

Says it all really


Olivier: "Compare it to a rock concert. You could put the music really loud (to hide your shortcomings) or you could turn down the volume to allow the content come to the fore."

But then it wouldn't be a rock concert. ;D


You are the minority here I am sure


No, he isn't. It is just that the people, like myself and Olivier, are just not as vocal about the issue. I was at Monza 2012, and I was quite happy that the race was over... My head was buzzing and my insides hurt. I am looking forward to watching a race without fearing for permanent ear damage...


Actually, not needing to wear ear plugs (as we didn't for the Porsche Carreras and V8 Supercars) was quite nice. A pack of the "old" V8 engined F1 cars was actually quite painful. I think the root of the issue this year though is the fact that they weren't actually thrashing their engines.

They sounded like mis-firing Porsche Carreras. So the Porsches actually sounded more exciting because they were hard up to the rev limiters on all cars for all practice, qualifying and race sessions. Whereas the F1 cars were turned up only for a couple of laps across the entire weekend. You could hear them turn the revs down after the first couple of laps of the race and that induced a fair bit of mis-fire for several of them. Sounded terrible.

So they might actually sound better if they didn't have to conserve fuel or protect fragile engine, turbo and energy recovery systems and could actually drive them hard. What I did find annoying, though, was that the quiter engine enabled us to hear the very high-pitched turbo whine. That made the Porsche's sound even more sweet. Oh, and the racing in the Carrera Cup and V8 Supercars was far more exciting.


I don't think he is.... I agree with him 100%


Doesn't make him wrong though 😉


I´m sorry but I´m very disappointed of the opening new era. It goes from Hipper-extra-super cars, to grants touring cars technology. Ferrari is the only Team that it has been all the F1 Championships, from the first one to yesterday. And now the technology goes exactly in the opposite way of the road Ferrari cars and what it represents. And they in Maranello know it. That can be the explanation of the car of this year:

F 1 4 T

been so close to the touring cars of the group:

F I A T.

Should they leave the F1 and let FIAT come in?. I hope not, but it is sad that is the new policy... from FIA, to MERC....


In that case, I just hope the 'secret' model number for the car isn't ¶4ŊĐ4


Walker - promoter from Australia has strong feelings about the ticket sales angle and how promoters everywhere aren't going to be pleased.


I understood this to mean that the contract was breached as cars were "too quiet"?


With regard the comments from Aussie Ron and Bernie the Hobbit about the noise....

1 Ron just tows the party line with whatever Bernie wants him to say, and this is no exception to that rule.

2 The actual likelihood that any legal case could be brought against the FIA or any other party by the promoters is utterly ridonculous! Where is it in their contract about specific minimum decibel levels? PAH!

3 If the promoters (like the teams) actually stood together as a unit, rather than letting themselves be divided and conquered (or bending over and taking a.... ahem) by FOM and BE, then they might actually be able to negotiate a better deal for themselves, rather than complain about something they have no influence or say over

4 Bernie whinging about the noise (or any other complaint this season) is, and be under absolutely no illusions of this at all, just his usual diversionary tactic away from his other, far more serious problems that have infinitely more potential to threaten the integrity and future of the sport



All valid points. Doesn't change the fact that this new sound is an issue.

And with all that crap a while back between teams and GOM why not include a definition of what F1 is in a hosting contract with certain criteria to ensure a bunch of Honda Civic F1 edition don't show up on Sunday? Plausible that definition of what the F1 show should bring is in there, including db noise level. Just as there are such points in concert contracts.


I suspect he just wants to pay less for the Grand Prix, so he's arguing like the customer in a used car lot.


And he needs to pay less because it was a terrible show. That was the last F1 event I buy a ticket for! A tedious and boring F1 race. Only 2 support categories, whose races were much better - especially the V8 supercars. Despite it being a non-championship event for them they put on a damned good show. A serious lack of merchandise available. Were the V8SCs even allowed to sell stuff there?

Matthew Cheshire

Clearly a man well versed with dealing with Bernie.


It sounds silly, but he's right to be concerned - the atmosphere just didn't compare to previous years, and the sound of the cars was a big part of that.

I won't be buying tickets in future and I know a few who feel the same way.


That video says it all! Only positive is that the spectators have saved money not having to buy the ear defenders that were shown in the 2013 clip!


Just played the video to ultimate racing experts - two kid boys, on 4 years old. They vote that "first ones are real race cars!"


if we kept the same engines F1 would actually be dead within a couple of years.


I think they sound awful. Its killed F1 for me. I thought it was so boring on sunday i almost fell asleep. I wont be buying tickets in future either. Ive been a F1 nut for 50 years. Very sad times.


OMG! A friend just sent me a link. Guy in Melbourne with exactly same seats and same camera (same levels and mic) shot the 2013 cars and 2014 cars.

OMG! I understand your pain now "people who attended". TV feed did nothing to expose the true difference. There is really no other reaction to have to this sound change except for...OMG!

It sounds like some junior formula. At least one thing is certain, more people will attend the GP2 races!

I'm sorry to babble on like this, this is the first really good apples to apples video I've seen, and my reaction is...I'm simply stunned!



Interesting thoughts.

Personally, I thought the race in Melbourne was dreary and processional, but new regulation races are always like that: the drivers and teams are over-cautious, just by default. They have much more data and information to help them modify and develop their cars and engines, so Malaysia onwards should be more a representative measure of the competitiveness.

On the engine sound, I personally like that bassy, guttural growl - reminds me a bit of the old Group B rally cars in their infancy. The issue with the lack of volume can be rectified by FOM at the mixing desk with regards to the onboard shots. It is the first race of a brave new formula, so it was inevitable that there would be issues in terms of coverage, both sonically and visually. After some experience with these new cars, the directors and producers of FOM will eventually get the sound right from the mixing desk.

I generally agree with these comments - let's just give this new Formula time to bed in.


Well said just turn up the sound of the engines( sorry poos) (sorry again pu's)


"The issue with the lack of volume can be rectified by FOM at the mixing desk with regards to the onboard shots."

Yes, though the question for me is why on earth no one involved thought of sorting this out before the first race. It was blatantly obvious that it would need to be done. How much are these people being paid? More than me I bet!


You could, but why would you?

The engines would still sound the same on the TV, only you'd miss out on all the other stuff we've never been able to hear before like the tyres screeching under brakes and the crowd cheering for their heroes.

You might not think that's a very good argument, but would it be better if I yelled?



thats it. the commentators were too loud relative to the cars. the sound frequency has gone from high frequency to low frequency and given that commentators are human and much harder to rewire, all that needs to be done is the trackside mikes to be turned up alot or maybe even use a pitchshifter style effect used in musical instruments sometimes to get a much higher pitch. protools! or something... 🙂



That makes more sense now 🙂


I'm talking more about the trackside mics, rather than the mics on the cars (which you only hear in onboard shots anyway). Turn the trackside mics up and you also turn up those other sounds you (and I) want to hear.

My point was that it sounded to me like the mics were still calibrated for the crazy volume of the V8s, and as a result the whole mix was too quiet in relation to the commentary, and especially when the commentary dropped out, so the sense of atmosphere was not as good as it could have been.

Personally I quite like the new F1, I'm not trying to deafen anyone!


I have been to every melb gp since 1996. I think 2014 was my last. The noise is what made it such an awesome spectacal. Feeling my heart vibrate in my chest during every gear change was intense and gave me goose bumps.

Hearing the field drive past yesterday after the aborted start, the street legal AMG C63 medical car was louder than entire field of f1 cars.... What a joke

Sad day.... im still in disbelief.


Oh come on all this about the medic road car being louder than the F1 cars is bull. I was at the track at turn at turn 15 which would be at the slowest point and I thought they sounded just fine - not as loud as the previous V8's for sure but probably more on par with the V8 supercars and maybe just a tad quieter than the porsche cup cars. Anyone threatening to quit following the sport because the cars are not as loud as not true enthusiasts.


That is a dishonest statement - the aural impact of the F1 cars were nowhere near that of the V8 Supercars, except of course for the Volvo.


I have to agree. The sound is just too quiet. I work in one of the buildings overlooking the back half of the Albert park and last year we were nearly sent home during the practice sessions due to the noise being so loud. This year half of the office was not aware that the F1 cars had even taken to the track. The difference is just so huge. The V8 supercars were much louder than the F1's.

Another factor that really made us miss the old sound was that each morning the 2 seater demonstrator was putting in some laps for the lucky few and that had the old engine. To hear the scream, it was in a totally different world of noise and made us realize how much we have lost.


I was at the GP and I concur on the noise. When no cars were going past you could hear birds chirping. I took my wife to her first GP and I had to wait for David Coultard to go around in a 2010 car, (I think it was), to show her how exciting the sound could be.

However, the cars were on the limit and boy was it exciting. We sat at turn 9 for qualifying and when the drivers came out of the corner it was like they were wrestling with a caged animal. The cars were twitching and sliding all over the place to massive gasps of pleasure and appreciation from the crowd.

So a mixed bag. The noise is most certainly a problem, but the on track excitement is much better. That is until the teams work out how to stick the cars to the road once again.






I feel it mate, ur words carry a lot of weight. Someone attending F1 race for 18 years on the trot and hearing such a thing is indeed really sad...


You'll need to change your username from Turbo to V8 then 😉

At the track, could you hear which engines were sounding sick, like Lewis and Seb?


Yes and no - the trouble was, most of them sounded sick!


Yep, as disappointing as it was overall with the lack of noise, you could distinctly here the differences in the engine makes. Mercedes engined cars had the most guttural, deeper tone with gear changes sounding solid, Ferrari sounded smooth, like a Ferrari super car on the road, and the gear changes sounded very smooth. The Renaults were different, you could distinctly hear the wind up and down of the turbos(or electrics maybe) through corners and the gear changes with all Renaults were way more chunky. The Lotuses sounded absolutely terrible like they were coughing up cylinders all weekend, like a bucket of bolts.

So musically, Mercedes would be AC/DC, Ferrari would be Colplay, and Renault would be Nirvana(just not with the popularity or success)


I have been really curious about the new sound of F1. I also been the Melbourne GP many times, but I've moved to USA mid last year so unable to attend this year's race. 2013 was my last Melbourne GP and I am SO GLAD I was there!!!

Your comparison of road cars being louder than F1 cars says it all.

F1 is a roadshow that comes annually to entertain motor-enthusiast. Think of it as the motorsport version of your favourite singer coming to do a concert.

In a concert, it should be entertaining and LOUD!! F1 is missing the loud noise now


Where did you sit?

I would love feedback from someone who was at the start finish line.

I always found the lights out moment in F1 to be one of the most orgasmic of sound events. All that power screaming in anticipation for release. Recalling V10s and V8s of years past just made hair on the back of my neck stand.

Is it still like that with 15000RPM 1.6L V6s? 🙂



Link above is a great sound comparison of 2014 f1 cars vs support category s at melb gp including Coulthard in vettels old v8 f1 car


I was in my usual position again this year opposite the pits on the start finish line (same place since 2002) . Previous years it was necessary to wear muffs/earplugs even when the F1 cars were leaving or entering pit lane, this year they were full noise on the main straight and it was actually possible to watch them without instinctively having to cover ears with some form of protection.

Although this new engine and associated energy recovery systems is impressive technology, I felt the loss of the sound impact has resulted in the loss of something greater that was part of and integral to the overall Formula 1 experience. I have attended f1 events for over 36 years, this was the first time that I have left a race not excited or even sure if I will be attending another.

John. New Zealand


On Firday my mate and i attended the James Boag superbox...position on the main straight just as the cars hit the brakes for turn one...

History would say it would be a deafening spots as the engines are hitting max RPM..

Not only could my mate and i continue our conversation....we could hear the conversations of those around us.....

Didnt see many people taking up the "free ears plugs" on offer....


I was also at the First Chicane.

Thought the noise insipid & everyone around me expressed

extreme disappointment at the lowered spectacle.

Had young Daniel not been running strongly in second I'd have left early.

I was standing in front of four very up-market Taiwanese who'd slipped down for the weekend to see their first F1 event.

They were severely underwhelmed and allowed that they won't be back.

I may mirror them.

What has happened to our once glorious sport?


I think our once glorious sport has turned from Formula one to Formula negative one. The sound was extremely disappointing, but the lack of corner speed was even more so for me. This isn't the sport I followed for 30+ years anymore, wholly disappointed on all fronts, already decided to not go to Montreal this year and may stop watching it on tv too.


I was right beside Felipe Massa's starting position in the race, with Jenson Button on the opposite side of the track. In past years, the hairs on your entire body would all stand on end as the cars started the warm-up lap. And then when the lights went out and the race started - mind blowing.

This year ....... nothing. Very few put any revs into their engine as they commenced the warm-up lap (and for the repeated warm-up lap after the aborted start). Then, when they commenced their start procedures and cranked the throttles open, so much mis-firing, popping and banging. And when the lights went out the need to avoid wheelspin, due to absence of traction control, meant that the revs all dropped down and it was a far more subdued affair.

I honestly say that the support races were far more exciting. I won't be attending the F1 event next year. I won't be busting a gut to watch any more on TV this season as I will wait until they can actually "race" again - not the fuel-saving, engine-protecting procession that the event became.

The basic sound now is very much like a Porsche Carrera Cup car (as I predicted it would be) but with the obvious turbo whine. However, for the most part the Porsche's sounded better because they were able to drive to the rev limiter in every practice, qualifying and race session. Whereas the F1 cars were turned up for a handful of laps across the entire weekend and then went into self-preservation mode. It was noticeable though that Dan's car got turned up again towards the latter stages of the race when Magnussen became a threat. So perhaps that's why the stewards got all official on them - they were insisting they turned the fuel flow rate down and Red Bull were cranking it up to keep second place.


I was at the first chicane. I couldn't hear the cars on the start line. On the straights they're loudish but not earplug loud and the noise just doesn't carry, so more than about 20m away from the car you don't have to raise your voice to talk over them. The Porsche cup cars were louder.


Yes the Porsche's had the best notes from the weekend - still flattened by the poor sound of F1's - the mazda 3s only a little bit softer

Jake Holocointo

I'm curious; was the 2014 V6 motor designed to sound muffled and tinny or is that just how it turned out based on more 'important' considerations?


I would expect that sound was not a priority. I would be interested to know (from anyone old enough to remember) how the current sound compares to the last generation of 80's 1.5 v6 turbos with reduced boost, which still seemed to sound a bit more potent even though they were not running higher bhp.


I should have added "in the race at least" to the end of last sentence.


The gases are escaping from the engine much like the gases that come out of a gun - only part of their energy is used to propel the bullet, the rest is a loud bang. The turbine in the ERS-H uses a big chunk of this wasted energy,and in doing so it also "irons' the peaks of exhaust puffs.The effect is like a gun silencer: more a hiss than a bang.

As for the lower pitch, reducing the number of explosions from 8 x 18,000 to 6 x 15,000 per minute is significant in itself.


Jake, the engines sound different because the exhaust doesn't flow straight out of the tailpipe anymore. It gets re circulated through the turbo first and then out the tailpipe. This is what "muffles" the sound.


Sound is energy coming from the exhaust. The turbo tries to recover as much energy as possible resulting in lesser energy left for the sound.


My view is that the sound itself is ok, just not loud - and therefore dramatic - enough.

Another 10-20 decibels and it would be cool, The turbo whistle is great when you stand trackside, The cars look and sound fast


Many years ago, a friend of mine had a Suzuki XN85. It was a small engined, turbocharged motorcycle. The output was a short, slash cut peep coming straight out of the turbocharger.

one year at a bike rally, they had a noise meter set up for anyone who wanted to find out if their bike meet current noise regulations.

He rolled his bike up to the tent, and the operator of the noise meter had this look on his face, that you know he was expecting a maxed out meter.

"OK, wind it up to half peak revs, " he said, and we watched the surprised look on his face as the meter settled comfortably in the legal zone.

"You can shut it off now," said the operator. As my friend rolled off the throttle, the waste gate opened, and the noise meter jumped up way above the legal limit.

The reason this story is relevant is that all that noise is now being converted into electrical energy in the new F1 cars. If they're making noise, that's energy lost, so I can't see the noise coming back. It's not just a matter of fitting a louder pipe.

I have heard previous generation GP cars, trackside, from inside an enclosed pit garage, and from just outside a dyno room. I've watched gas turbines on full afterburner from an engine test bed control room, partied in ludicrously loud student night clubs, and subjected my ears to thousands of miles of high speed wind roar on motorcycles. This is probably why my ears constantly sing to me now.

I'm far more concerned about the lack of competition at the top of the field, and the fuel economy "lift and coast" running that the drivers have to do than I am about the noise.

Keep the peak fuel flow limit. Ditch the maximum allowed fuel limit. Then the drivers will be able to race flat out to the limits of available power for the entire race, and the most efficient power plant will give the driver the best chance to win.


James, wouldn't your 10-20 dBs come at the expense of efficiency losses? I would love to hear what the engine folk think they could do to "open up the pipes" for sound while maintaining efficiency targets...

I say remove the fuel flow rate cap and the RPM cap (keep the 100kg total race fuel requirement) and I bet that everything gets a lot louder and more exotic - sounding. Let's go back to engine wars!

One can always dream...


Read Mark Gillan's post on why they introduced a fuel flow maximum


James - I agree. A little more volume would help. The main problem for me was, yes, on full revs and in a pack they sound OK. That's "OK" not mind blowingly awesome like they used to. However, they weren't on full revs or in a pack for very long. So the Porsche's ultimately sounded better as they were hard at it all the time.

Sure, very complex and the pinnacle of engineering(ish). But not much racing going on and too much conservation of fuel and engine parts made it a rather tedious event to sit through. Even the lack of merchandise on offer had a detrimental impact on customer experience. I would have loved to have come away with some Williams Martini gear but none to be had.


"The cars look fast"...hmm...surely you meant to say "The cars look pig-ugly with their stupid noses"...??


You don't really see the nose protrusions as they flash past, lots of movement as the drivers fight to get them into and out of corners

The photographers all reported being really excited by the energy of the cars in the turns


I've never heard a small motor sound powerful. You reduce displacement, you change the sound.

When I think of most awesome sounds, that GTR Vette with the 7L V8 comes to mind at ALMS events. Even in the Audi Le Mans movie it came through. Or the AMG Safety car is lovely too. I have to say, I was very impressed first time I heard that Audi R10 I think it was. It was so darn silent, yet powerful. It was really a conflicting experience.

When you reduce size, even at increased RPM you're going to get a higher pitched buzzing sound. 1.6L V6 at 20,000 RPM for exmple is never going to sound like a 3L V8 at 20000 RPM. Basically, don't expect amazing sound from tiny speakers! It's a real dilly of a pickle to get the perfect sound that's not too high pitch but loud. I think the V8s did a good job. No doubt in my mind the reference sound is the V10s. They weren't high pitch, and at top range RPM that sound was all business AND all pleasure!


You've obviously never heard a BRM V16, that was 1.5 litres and sounds like the end of the world, and it was made at the dawn of time, go listen to one on youtube you'll find out how wrong you are.



I like Ed's reasoning on the engine noise.

The spectators who will lose the most are those sitting in a straight, including the main pit straight.

During FP2, I was at the bar in front of the Caterham garage and we could have a chat outside unbothered by the cars going past us. That would have been unthinkable at the same time last year.

The quieter engines also take away some of the excitement that was unique to F1. Whether in Melbourne or Singapore, you could see spectators rushing to their seats upon hearing the first F1 car accelerating out of the garage.

This weekend, people barely noticed the cars going on-track and you had to watch the time to remember going to your seat. I can only see this as good news if you have a merchandise or food stall!

On the positive side, you could hear the public encouraging local boy Dan Ricciardo. I'm not sure Webber ever heard anyone.

Besides the noise, F1 is doing a pretty terrible job at promoting itself, especially with the local crowd. How complex does this have to be? Only allow 100kg of fuel for the race distance. Knowing the race takes an average of 1.5 hours, the fuel flow would get nowhere near 100kg/h but rather closer to 63.3kg/h?

As for the noses, I was glad to hear the FIA is going to look into that for next year's rules.


Double points or bonus points for getting the decibels above a certain level eh Bernie? 🙁


And for for best fuel flow rate?


I get what you mean on complexity for the crowd and the fuel rules.

I think they made far too many changes in one season and actually were lucky to get away with it in the first race and keep a half decent spectacle.

There is talk about extra graphics on screen for spectators as it would be useful to get a hint at fuel remaining, revs, whether a driver was going for it or whether the car was in a saving mode etc.

The biggest worry for me is uncertainty over fuel leading to cars plodding in procession, especially when there are races without safety cars.

It's a bit ironic to have 20 cars that only race 19 times a year trying to save fuel, when the whole shooting match is jetted around the world more than ever before, and when they arrive on the grid there are F-18 Hornet jets mucking about in the sky.

I'd rather the 'show' was about the racing, save fuel by ditching the fighter jet 😉


So 20 cars, over 19 races will use approx. 38,000 litres of fuel for the season. A single 747 on a 10 hours flight uses 150,000 litres of fuel. That's the green bit they leave out.


"Only allow 100kg of fuel for the race distance. Knowing the race takes an average of 1.5 hours, the fuel flow would get nowhere near 100kg/h but rather closer to 63.3kg/h?"

I guess this makes sense, if they toured around on a constantly throttle setting. Under engine breaking for instance I can't see it using very much at all, if any. Does anyone have figures for fuel flow under engine breaking?


There is both an overall fuel limit (for the whole race) and a maximum fuel rate (at any given moment). Fuel usage will vary according to tactics through the race. That doesn't seem terribly complicated to me.


and James, Kimi vs Alonso?


Kimi is getting a lot of understeer on corner entry which totally erases his speed, as his corner entry is more about finesse. Alonso has a more 'agricultural' aggressive turn in so it's not as much of an issue. Both drivers not happy though

Fernando "150%" Alonso

Patience my friend! I'm happy about Alonso 22 secons ahead of Kimi, but i will not jump to eny conclusion yet 😉


Completely agree about the great show out up by the rookies! Also the noise - it's not all bad. As you said, we hear a lot more now - breaking sounds, crowd sounds, and the best part - we could HEAR Bottas' tire giving way before we could see it!


Great point about Bottas' tyre, you could tell immediately that something wasn't right, same with hearing Lewis's motor off the start. Sure, they're not as loud but it gives us more insight. Love it.


That's a good shout re: Bottas' tyre. I thought it was strange that we all knew something was wrong straight away.


Sound: My wife walking through the room while the race was on said, "Sounds terrible, reminds me of an Indycar race." Spot-on in my opinion.

Race length: don't alter it

Quali: Q1 being shortened 2 minutes is non-consequential, however, having an extra set of tires for Q3 was a wise decision.


What a wife! WHAT A WIFE!

Indycar does use a V6. However, your wife can't tell a 2.2L Twin Turbo against a 1.6L single turbo V6 - unfortunate. I squarely blame this on either your TV sound system or your home theatre speakers. Let your wife know that because of this you need to upgrade your home theatre before next GP, for her - of course.


She used to be able to tell the difference between a Ferrari V12, a Honda V10 and a Ford V8 back in the day and her license plate is I LV F1. Yup, what a wife is right!


Absolutely spot on!


The Spanish Inquisitor

100% Agree


A very interesting reflection on the new formula, one which is mirrored by myself apart from the shorter races. Maybe a 20 lap sprint on Saturday and 40 on Sunday instead of 58 laps, I wouldn't want it to turn into a motogp format of a 45 min race.


Two races, sounds awesome. Wonder what the wife will think 😉


The volume shouldn't matter on TV, though I imagine it spoils the effect of being there in person. But I've always felt it was a shame you couldn't hear the crowd more in F1, and now we can. Tyre screech came as a pleasant surprise too. I think those both add to the atmosphere; it was certainly great to hear the cheers for Vettel going out, and the cheers for Ricciardo momentarily getting pole.

As for the noise itself, I didn't think much of it when I first saw the test footage, mainly because of the short-shifting compared to last year makes them sound slow. But once we got into the excitement of qualifying, I was starting to quite like it. My only concern is that it doesn't sound special in the way that F1 used to. They sound a bit too much like any other racing car, and that's a shame.


I went to my first GP in the early seventies. Chris Amon was driving for Ferrari. Williams had a red and white looking car. It was noisy but we were fortunately a bit far off. Many years later I went to a modern era GP and then declined on the tickets being offered to me. I feared I'd be deaf in my fifties. So for me the noise reduction is a good thing.

Now a few questions.

1. How important is any one factor to giving a driver speed: motor, the power unit as a whole including recovery system, mapping, gear selection, tires, other?

2. Programable mapping - what does it do, can it be changed at will, is it team or driver specific?

3. Gear ratios - is it power unit (manufacturer) specific, is it team or driver specific? Can you change the ratios from race to race?

4. What can be changed on the motor? Does homologation include the recovery system?

5. How are the brakes different and what can be changed there?

I don't keep track. It would be interesting to compare the time gap in qualifying from first to tenth this year in Oz, to the average of, say, the last three years.

Here it is for this year, nearly four seconds. The close groupings are 1 to 3, big gap, 4 to 7, big gap, 8 to 10:

1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m44.231s

2. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1m44.548s +0.317s

3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m44.595s +0.364s

4. Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1m45.745s +1.514s

5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m45.819s +1.588s

6. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m45.864s +1.633s

7. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1m46.030s +1.799s

8. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1m47.360s +3.129s

9. Felipe Massa Williams 1m48.079s +3.848s

10. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m48.147s +3.916s

Finally I don't understand Ricciardo's fuel flow issue. Why is this controlled?


A friend of mine suggested that flow rate control could be a means of limiting it's effect as an 'overtaking setting', or as a qualifying boost... Sounds plausible to me, but it seems a bit unnecessary if you have only 100kg for the race. But I can certainly see it as being worthwhile in qualifying from a safety perspective, but I don't know if the rule actually applies to those sessions. I would imagine it does, but... Anyone got any clues about that?


With regard to the fuel flow, it's to ensure the engine performance is focused on efficiency. Without a flow limit, teams could (and would) run it at very high power for short periods of time.

Most the teams ran conservatively because the FIA meters had a slight margin for error; Red Bull ignored this and in so doing Ricciardo would have had a small power advantage, especially given the safety car and aborted start.


I'll give it a try:

1. Impossible to tell, especially this early in the cars' new life cycle.

2. The mapping is basically there to provide better drivability, i.e. iron out jumps in the torque curve, aka "turbo hole". The smoother the power sets in or is predictable, the more the driver can attack. This is in the software, so you can change it.

3. Team specific. You have to choose one fixed set of ratios for the whole year. This year you are granted one additional possibility to change in case it turns out you miscalculated.

4. This is very complex. You have to look into FIA's technical regulations document to find out which exact parts are frozen this year, and which are added the next and the following years.

5. Because of the increased energy recovery from the rear brakes, brake pressure would vary too much, so a system to control brake pressure depending on the current amount of recovery taking place is needed. We hear that this is not trivial to get right, so that explains why we see quite a lot of brake failures currently.

You can't compare times in wet and dry conditions. In the dry, the times were surprisingly close, comparable to past years. FP2 & FP3 showed a spread of about 1.3-1.4 seconds from 1st to 10th.

Fuel flow is limited in order to avoid the possibility to boost turbo pressure (which is not limited) to huge amounts to pass another car. It would just get ridiculously easy.


Thank you BM. Your comments have really helped me to get a better sense of what is going on.


As a TV viewer, I like the new sound. Being able to clearly hear the driver radio, the crowd, tyres sliding, turbo whistle etc. was really refreshing.

It may not have been particularly sporting but hearing the crowd roar when Vettel dropped out of Q2 was amazing.

The cars definitely look ugly and the fuel rule controversy has not helped but I think this new era of F1 could be great and there is certainly no lack of talent in the younger drivers.


That was just some Aussie justice for Multi 21...

All us Aussies loved it!


The booing was in part for his Multi-21 "error" but also, on the Thursday, all drivers were allocated a 30 minute slot at a fan authograph session. Vettel arrived with less than 10 minutes remaining and was still able to clear off early.

Also, Ferrari were allocated 60 minutes due to their size and popularity. Their drivers also arrived late and then used up just 8 minutes of their allocation - leaving many, many fans hot, dehydrated and very dissappointed.

Button gave considerably more than his allocation. Ricciardo would have, but his management pulled him out at the end of his 30 minutes. I will forgive that as he was obviously in demand across the weekend.


"Does Formula One have to stick to such a long-winded format? A shorter, more intense Grand Prix might be the way ahead…"

Sprint race F1? No thank you. F1 is a semi-endurance event that is just as much about lasting the distance as it is speed. This, along with cornering speeds, is what separates F1 from most other motor sport. While some races seem to have "dull" periods, it's the length that allows for so many variables to come into play in the closing laps. You cannot expect full-on, all-the-time action for 50-odd laps. It would likely be exhausting to watch if it was!

Volume: I agree there seems to be something taken away from the sheer loudness of it all but I do like the new ambient sounds coming through, especially the squeal of tyres when they lock up.


I accept your point of view but I disagree. I was at the track and the four days cost around $4000 for my wife and myself; flights, accommodation, tickets, merchandise, food. We have been going for a few years now. For that sort of investment I want more than F1 provided. What I saw was slow and uninspiring. I understand F1 is a business, but it can't be people like me putting money in some businessman's pocket and each year getting less in return. Cars coasting through corners will never be motor racing no matter how hard the marketing people try to say it is. Hearing tyre squeal...for that sort of money, you're kidding. Maybe it's now only a TV sport. The best part for me was filming the RB7 being started up out the back; everybody was grinning!

Serious Shorthand

You do know that Nico Rosberg finished the race quicker than Kimi Raikonnen did last year?

There was no coasting, you just think they were slower because they arent screaming at 180db.



2014 Nico Rosberg 1:32:58.710

2013 Kimi Räikkönen 1:30:03.225

2012 Jenson Button 1:34:09.565

--source Formula1.com

and Nico did one lap less.

I don't think the cars are slower this year. More power than grip, they're more interesting to watch. But your argument is not based on facts


Your 'slow' comment had me intrigued. Slower than the tyre management races of 2012-13? These cars are only slower because they've got less downforce. They were driven much harder at Albert Park this year.

I understand you're spending a lot of money, but the speed argument doesn't hold water.

Essentially, you're talking about noise, which is fine, but don't say the cars are slow. They're not.


These cars area slow!

Firstly they were lapping 8 seconds off the lap record set by Michael Schumacher in 2004!

Go watch youtube footage and believe me ul notice now much slower these cars are it might as well be another formula we talking about!

Second it was there for everyone to hear when Nico Rosbergs engineer told me to lap 3 tenths slower per lap!

is that racing? When your engineer tells you how fast to drive?

so yes his comment does hold water! Tons of it in fact!


I'm afraid I don't understand your argument. 2004? Engineer direction from the pit wall? Did you make this same complaint in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009...you get the picture.

Do you miss 2004, or 2013? The cars this year are already outperforming the '13 cars in a straight line. They're pulling less 'g' in the corners because they do not have a blown diffuser and the Pirelli compounds are very conservative.

No F1 car in the V8 era was as fast as the 2004 specification V10's. There's a number of reasons for this, but chiefly it is because the V8 simply wasn't very powerful, and the 2004 Bridgestones were at their developmental peak of the tyre war.

Assuming Pirelli maintain a decent tyre, I fully expect the '14 cars to overhaul the previous formula before the end of the season.

Look at the speed trap figures for 2013, and 2014. The clues are there.

Talking about 2004 laptimes is an admission that the cars between '06 and '13 just weren't very fast.


It's probably the same as it is with vacuum cleaners: They could be really silent, but manufacturers make them louder than necessary, because it makes customers believe that they are more powerful. They even had it tested with different versions of the same model - the louder ones, even though performing the same, were perceived to give better results.


Yeap....I was going to races myself and I will not even consider going now. I prefer to see it on TV...if a race is as boring, at least you can go and do something else. You cannot do it when you are attending a race weekend.


"Cars coasting through corners will never be motor racing no matter how hard the marketing people try to say it is. "

This is what the businessmen (and everyone else) wanting to pocket a steady, and increasing, stream of money from the F1 business NEED to understand...before it is too late. Fans are (mostly) not stupid. They have come to F1 for a reason - Green is not it!


Well said!

I totally agree with you 200%!


This might as well have been a GP2 race!!!

I am willing to bet there is no one who can mention 1 thing about this weekend that you could call spectacular!!!

The cars sound rubbish!!!

They look rubbish!!!

They dog slow!!!

The fastest ever race lap of Albert Park was Michael Schumachers 1'24.125 which he set in 2004 yest Rosberg set a 1:32.478. Thats just over 8 secs slower!!!

And people wonder why there are so many pay drivers in F1???

and please dont give me that crap that these cars look spectacular on track because they have more power then grip!!

These 2014 cars look rubbish on track they look clumsy unsophisticated and down right slow!!

If u think im lying go youtube footage of the 2004 or 05 or even 2006 race and see how fast those cars where!

Looking at those cars now they absolutely breath takingly fast! They look mighty and supreme! They are the stuff of dreams!

These 2014 cars are laughable they puny and pathetic!!Never mind being the stuff of dreams!

Some sights have mentioned fans need to get over the past and get used to the new F1!!

How ignorant are they!

Nobody has to get used too anything!

F1 is not doing any fan a favour!

No F1 fans life depends on F1!

If ppl find F1 boring its simple they will just stop watching!

There is nothing to get used to!

Ppl have busy lives there are other things to do in life then waste time trying to convince themselves that they like something thats actually boring!

How stupid do they think ppl are?

Its and insult to every fan!


during yesterdays race Kimi Raikkonen was locking his front wheels at every second corner!!

Can someone please explain to me how they found that spectacular?

These cars look nothing like the turbo cars of the 80's those cars had monster engines and truly looked spectacular on track!Those car required balls of steel to drive!

These 2014 cars look nothing like them!

They look plan clumsy and ridiculous!

as for the sound I've heard road cars that are louder and sound better!


Hi James

Why have you not posted my original comment?

There was no use of profanity


Probably backlog. Apologies


"These cars look nothing like the turbo cars of the 80′s those cars had monster engines and truly looked spectacular on track!Those car required balls of steel to drive!"

MP4/4: 1,500 turbo


on that point, i recall Martin Brundle saying something along the lines that you didn't drive those cars, you just tried to prevent the thing from having an accident and killing you...

the sound is very similar...compare 1.5 turbo V6 with 1.6 turbo V6.

for those here that are into sounds, it may not be loud, but what about adding on a nice sounding wastegate sound, like the old Audi Turbos that raced in South Africa in the 90's...those thing were also relatively quite but had this brutal and dramatic sounding wastegate sound...like a guttural growl on the power and a whistling chortling popping sound at every gear change both up and down the 'box...

I unfortunately don't have a link but surely someone can look up the Wesbank Modified Rothmans Audi Quattros on youtube...

Say, as an aside...these are turbo motors...where are the flames, ala 80's and Group B. add some spectacle to the affair...


Thanks for that, just watched/listened on YouTube. Very similar sound, even the turbo whine is the same.


What did you get ? one German driver replaced by the other one ....


It seems to be as long as it's not Vettel then the majority are happy.


Who is Vettel?


He's the guy who won four in a row.

I can keep reminding you if you like?


I tried laughing at this comment but it did not happen.


When I attended my first Australian GP 10 yrs ago, the intense noise, heart pumping sound of the F1 cars were such a magnet, my feet couldn't walk any faster to the track. This past Friday when I attended FP1, I was so disappointed at the lack of roar out of this season's cars I couldn't get out of there any quicker. Watching FP2 in my hotel room suddenly became more appealing. It's no surprise there weren't as many ear plug vendors at the track this time round. The generator nearby put out more noise than the cars zooming past!

I am honestly regretting having bought flight and tickets to the next race at Sepang. What a let down, especially now that Ricciardo's been disqualified, despite being handed the 2nd place trophy witnessed by a worldwide audience, only to have it taken away later after several hours of deliberation by the authorities. Grand Farce indeed.


I can't say that the opening race was incredibly exciting. On the face of it nothing has changed from last season with one driver heading off into the distance to eventually win by 30 seconds or so and the rest of the field holding positions for most of the race. However I am optimistic because if Vettel and Hamilton had not fallen out and their cars were performing as well as their team mates, they would have been in the mix up front. Once all teams have resolved the technical issues the racing is going to escalate....I hope...


I watched the race on TV yesterday. I expected the engine noise to be somewhat different but it proved to be a radical change.

It appears that, for me personally, a lot of the appeal of F1 was down to the engine sound so I think F1 has lost a lot of it's 'oompf' or 'mojo'

Just glad I went to Monaco to see the race last year, while the cars passing by still raised the hair on my arms...

Going to Spa this year and I hope it won't be as bad as I expect it to be.


In their efforts to stay ahead of the curve, Formula 1 has left behind one of the most critical parts of what makes it unique and what makes some fans enjoy the product.

The experience of listening to the V12-10 or even the last gen V8 was extremely rewarding, even on TV it felt that they are a special piece of technology. Today I am not sure if F1 sounds as good as the supporting races even I dare to say some street cars sound better!! To me is a critical part of the F1 experience and one of the main reasons why I pay $500 to watch live.

F1 executives and team principals are playing down the impact for obvious reasons, but once they are past the reliability challenges, I believe they will be looking to this issue in more realistic way.


A lot has already been said about the engine noise and although I definitely miss the loudness factor, it never really comes across on the TV anyway. So indeed, the biggest loss will be for the people on the trackside. If you've ever heard the noise of Formula 1 reverberating across the hills of Spa, you may consider yourself lucky, as those days are gone, at least for the foreseeable future.

The biggest problem I had with last sunday's race is that it looked slow. Formula 1 should be the fastest motorsport in the world and for the past ten years all that's happened is that the cars are now slower than before. Ten seconds off the lap record Wasn't too bothered with that before, but now I felt it was actually showing. Still, with only one race underway, it might be too early to tell.


Good insight. Actually, from reports I've read from people at the races, the sound of the PUs is a lot better. The TV really filters out the roar. I actually like it better, you can hear what the car is doing, the turbo and MGUH whine is great, too. Much more interesting for sure, so is hearing the tires spinning after pit stops.

Mercedes have a larger gap over Red Bull than Red Bull had over the field at the end of last season. Then there is a large gap back to the rest. I don't see Red Bull catching up, but it isn't impossible. This looks to be a Rosberg vs. Hamilton season with Red Bull taking the third step. The exciting racing will be for 5th.


I wonder if the old V8 sound that is used as the accompaniment to the official F1 logo is going to be replaced? I don't think that new power trains get anywhere near what that sound conveys. It would sound more like a fart methinks.


Really? You think the Ferrari is the worst?

I guess it's all subjective and in the eye of the beholder, but I'd say the Force India is the worst. That 'Man Sausage' hanging off its nose just looked disgusting on track when I was there on Saturday. And the telly doesn't do much to gloss over it either. I'm not big on the Hoover nosed Ferrari either though... Red Bull is the prettiest IMO, classy and clever.


Whilst I accept that some races can be a bit long and boring, I don't agree with shortening them as a rule.

One of the things I like is seeing drivers out of position battling their way back through the pack (e.g. Bottas in the last race).

In addition part of a great F1 driver is the stamina and concentration to drive at the limit (fuel/tyres allowing) for 2 hours. Part of a great F1 car is seeing it survive on track for 2 hours. Reduce the length, and this aspect of the competition will be lost.


Considering Bottas was the only thing that happened in that last race (apart from Kimi outbraking himself) you are correct


Nice piece, and I share most of the comments. Just a couple of minor disagreements - ugliest cars...got to be Force India and Caterham, shorter races...only if there will be multiple events over the weekend, as they do for other formulas.

Noise: on TV it is certainly interesting to be able to hear the turbo whistle, the tyre screech, even the noise of Bottas' damaged tyre. On-board sound is good, but when off-board it is too quiet. For me, the appeal of going to a live GP is the noise and the atmosphere, so I can imagine that much of this has been lost.


Agree re noise on TV. Loads of new sounds I haven't heard before.


Agree with the main loss being felt by people at the track. It wasn't the same, it didn't hit you in the chest like it used to. I loved this feeling of power and it is gone. Will still follow fanatically but may not attend next year.


Nice Blog Ed.

The only thing i would disagree with is a shorter race. I like the fact that its long as the strategies pan out towards the end. Sure it does not look good when you have a run away winner but hopefully that wont be the case all year


With reliability a major, road relevant challenge which adds intrigue to the race, why would we want shorter F1 races?

As has been said elsewhere by experienced commentators, this year is an excellent time for Sportscar fans to watch F1. Long may that continue.

As for Ferrari having the ugliest car, did Ed not notice the offerings from Caterham, Force India or Torro Rosso? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I do wonder what the guys from Leafield in particular have been drinking recently.


Hi Ed,

Good to see you back!

It was the late great Denis Jenks who remarked it was the 'vibration of the open exhaust system that rattled his boat...'something Formula One needs to pay attention to. It's difficult to appreciate the sound of these new engines on television as during the in car shots they sound like something from a computer game or an angry wasp.

What is missed about you is your insight into the inner workings, the egos and politics of Formula One, particularly events during the spring of 2008 and the then FIA President and $100m fines. Let's have more of this please.


It's a good question, where are Ferrari in the pecking order?

How much did the electrical problem slow them down throughout the race, how much were they holding position fuel saving, possibly tyre wear monitoring, car fragility monitoring, or is the car really about as good as the Force India?

Thought it was strange how Alonso, nearing the pitstops after passing Hulk, was suddenly a lot faster, matching Rosberg's time. I take it he was pushing the car using up the tyres as the undercutters would be getting him with the inevitable Ferrari strategy of staying out. But, why didn't we see this pace increase more often in the race from Kimi and Alonso?

I also sense they need to smooth out their braking a bit, particularly to help Kimi and perhaps to allow Alonso some last of the late braker moves.

I hope 'electrical problems on both cars' does not translate into 'both cars are just a bit slow this year'!


The most disappointing thing for me was that F1/FOM has limited the live timing on http://www.formla1.com, fx removing sector times and weather.

With so much technical change this year I was hoping that F1/FOM would improve the live timing at http://www.formula1.com" rel="dofollow" target="_blank">http://http://www.formula1.com so that the average fan can understand F1 better. I have been using the live timing on every session or race I watch for as long it has been available.

I know they're offering an app for iPhone/iPad and Google Play enabled devices. They shouldn't degrade the experience on the free live timing on http://www.formula1.com" rel="dofollow" target="_blank">http://http://www.formula1.com. Also, why should you pay for the live timing via app when you already pay to watch F1 on TV? The more people/fans use live timing the better we understand F1 qualifying or races.


With you mate, this is for me more shocking than the ridiculous noses and muted sound of new engines. I mean I would look at live timing more than I'd watch the race, it was that important to me. Heck I'd even record it via screen recording apps. And now we just have colours. Utter nonsense!


"Heck I’d even record it via screen recording apps."

Wow respectful commitment there, sir! 🙂

Agree fully with you, the timing with the sector times for all drivers is an integral part of the race experience - I suppose that is why some "clever" suit saw a "business case" there.


By the way, when formula1.com will update the site with the new sound of F1 engines? 🙂


Oh, was not aware of this, as the TV service I am currently using, offers timing over the internet. Real shame!

"why should you pay for the live timing via app when you already pay to watch F1 on TV?"

It is a very powerful disease called...greed. There is unfortunately no real cure for it - it is almost always terminal.


I just want to make a comment on sound - I am not sure if it was just for my broadcaster, but the constant chatter of commentators completely blocked sound of F1 engines...

When in rare moments they became silent the sound was very satisfying for me. Yes, it is different to previous years, but to me it is not a bad thing (though I must admit I have never been able to attend GP so never experienced real F1 sound)


completely agree, they almost need to increase the ambient volume in the broadcast to counter this


On TV I thought the cars sounded like an exhausted bumble bee in a plastic bottle…


I have to say I think the cars looked worse on tv than in photographs, especially the Ferrari. There's a horrible angle when the red cars turn corners where the two different angles of the nose really clash and it looks hideous. Hardly a great advert for Maranello's roadgoing output.

The Martini stripes are barely visible on the Williams either, very poor. And Massa looked like he was wearing his baseball cap wrongly...why put the stripe down the middle and writing to one side? Perhaps if he wore it at an angle...

I can't speak for the volume of the cars but they definitely sounded 'wrong', just wrong.


The sound of the new engines is terrible. its almost embarrassing. Even the IRL cars in the US sound better now. F1 lost something this year for me as a watcher for many years. Its lost its soul now.To me the engine sound made F1


F1 wants to be energy efficient. Sound is a result of wasted energy so can't be both efficient and loud.


Well, good luck to them. I hope they know how to be dollar efficient as well, because they are not getting any more of mine!


Hi James, a question on the fuel saving for you...

Is it more advantageous to slipstream to save fuel, like say the Tour de France cycling teams?

Or, does this not work due to the following in dirty air, loss of downforce, so you use more fuel exiting corners?

Or is this not really an issue as they just save fuel when taking it easy preserving tyres?


With all the talk about over-heating power units during testing,it may be that slipstreaming is a liability for any sustained period or during certain mid-summer races. It'll be interesting to see if it works at Malaysia.


I'm wondering if you're really a Formula 1 fan. The main point about car sports is the fight for positions in the race and the idea they're driving a "race horse". A very powerful car full of power.

We don't have any fight here even with the DRS after a few laps and the sound is like cheap motorcycle.

Really I think you just get pay for the FIA to write this.


ECO friendly racing is a travesty. Sebring 12 hours, and of all things NASCAR was better to watch. Pretty disappointed.


+1! Thoroughly enjoyed the Sebring 12H. The TUSCC has done it right with a great variety of cars and fantastic driver lineups. Very importantly, it sounds like a world class motor race when you turn up the surround on your home theatre. I will attend a TUSCC race this year (have been to at least 1 ALMS race since the series started). Sadly, My 15 year long tradition of attending an F1 race will come to an end this year. I said from day 1 that Bernie was right: SOUND IS THE STANDOUT FEATURE OF F1! Or, better said, WAS the standout feature.


I've been watching F1 for 25 years now, and for the first time ever I switched off mid-race, you could barely hear the cars over the commentators. I'm not a luddite, neither am I resistant to change, I don't particularly mind that the cars are plug ugly (2009 vintage wasn't that easy on the eye either) I also get that the engine/power plant technology is far more applicable to roadcars than the V8's or the much missed V10's. But, but, but, they sound like hairdryers for heavens sake, and yesterday there was talk of managing fuel from the 2nd/3rd lap, this, to my mind, just isn't F1. Whilst it may well be the pinnacle of technological achievement in motorsport I just wish it didn't have all the aural force of a bumblebee in a tin can.


I'm with you. Well said.


Great review! I also think F1 gained a lot:

- drivers make more difference

- hearing the circuit announcer and screetching tires sounded like a real race.

- less artificial racing with stable degrading pirelli tires.

- F1 back as pinnacle of motorsport. Just think of it: 1.6 liter engine with energy recovery / harvesting systems being able to produce F1 level of power! Marvel of engineering and real headache for the teams...that is how it should be.

Martin Brundle was it who mentioned during his commentating that its great to see *more torque than grip*.. which made me think... if we needed to improve F1 why not reduce the sizes of aero panels and wings into half, and let V12s come back again. That would give us lots of torque and little aero grip.

But in 80s that would have been OK. But in environmental-friendly 2014... that would not be OK.

F1 is on the right path: serves the environment, serves as the pinnacle of motorsport; shows us the best drivers again.


Agree about the increased degree of driver effort required with these new cars. During surveys over the past few years this was pointed to as becoming a lost art among the engineering-specific details of F1. Anything that clearly demonstrates that the drivers are being seriously challenged even to operate the cars never mind actually race them has got to be encouraged. Now if only they would bring back a manual gear change with foot clutch so that the driver has to remove his hand from the wheel briefly...now that would be worth a camera in the footwell.


Sound is OK. Look is ugly except Red Bull. Others are just ugly.


Agree with the format part. With so many whole scale changes - It may not really be necessary to have a single race that goes on for 1.5 hours and 300 Km. May be we can have a shorter sprint race ( Speedy, all out ) and a longer endurance race with fuel limits etc. Overall the 2 race distances can still be around 300 Km.

It would really be good to see an all out sprint race and I think that would add to the sports overall excitement factor.


Give me the days of the 30's with nuvolari,varzi etc... where races lasted two or three ours. Never shorten races in my opinion, its not gp2!


maybe the odd race which is shorted and the odd which is long. Like Singapore is nearly 2 hours long and monza is around an 1hr 10 long. but other races have for just over an hour, Monaco maybe?


Nope. The only thing I would like to see is Monza lasting longer. Don't shorten anything. The challenge of Monaco is to keep it out of the walls for 70 odd laps. Endurance and concentration are as much part of f1 as speed.


After the disappointment of the 2013 season I tuned in purely out of interest in how all the new technology would pan out. What I saw was a field of slow cars trundling around the track, little racing action, and rules that allow for race-fixing by having the officials determine how fast any given car is allowed to run.

No thanks. I shan't bother with the rest of the season.


The safety car took out the fuel equation from the race.

Lost all respect for Massa after he was blasting KK and requesting a race ban - it was nothing like Grosjean's accident with Lewis.


"The safety car took out the fuel equation from the race."

No, it didn't, the FIA won't let anyone use too much fuel.


heat of the moment maybe? you've got to see where he was coming from


If you were the only one who got taken out at the first corner after being T-boned by a back-marker, would you react calmly? Besides, Massa wasn't to know that Kobayashi's brakes had failed. Overall it was just an unfortunate racing incident, but considering the nasty shock he had the reaction is understandable. In Felipe's position I too would be calling for Kobayashi's head!


We're all human, ofcourse he was bashing on KK, we all do when we're full of adrenaline.


Started a old Porsche and thought this is the true racing sound i missed. The Porsche must have it in its genes.

Strangely the Porsche is a Super L with a 3 pistons diesel engine and 38 horsepowers.

A tractor with a better sound than a Formula1 - how far have we gone.

I hope that i am not going this insane to help my cousine everytime now to bring hay for her horses to the barn.


I switched off the BBC replay after a while. This can't be serious. I've always been a bit embarrassed saying I followed F1, but this may soon change as I will not sit for two hours watching vacuum cleaners circulate, hoping something exciting happens. Sad


The sound of the cars is very disappointing on the BBC and SKY feeds. From what I've heard and seen on clips from testing the actual engine note is pleasant, just far too quiet. Vijay Mallya said it best: "The magic is gone. We NEED that Formula 1 sound!!!" That's what makes the live F1 experience so special: the punch in the chest on every gear change; hearing a car fire up in the pits on the other side of the circuit; the need for earplugs! I've attended an F1 race every year since 1999 to experience that which you simply cannot while watching F1 on your couch. Sadly, I think we've been robbed of this.


Yes, the same Mr. Mallya who a few years ago proposed a "20/20 style F1", the same man who had a warrant for his arrest after a check bounced, and the same Dr. Mallya who purchased simulators from my Dad's company for his airline yet refused to pay for them. I do not believe a word he says, because he clearly is not to be trusted and doesn't have the sport's best interests in mind.

Also, if he was so upset about the sound of the V6 turbo engines, why did he not protest years earlier when these rule changes were proposed, instead of moaning now on TV and further damaging the image of the sport? Very underhand of Mallya to play to the luddites like this; perhaps he should be more worried about his flawed business model and the various legal charges against him than how an F1 engine sounds.


"Also, if he was so upset about the sound of the V6 turbo engines, why did he not protest years earlier when these rule changes were proposed"

As if anyone would have listened.


Ed, if I were in your shoes I might very well respond to the name "Vijay Mallya" with as much vitriol. However, Mr. Mallya's alleged underhand corporate dealings notwithstanding, the man has an emotional tie to F1 not too dissimilar from our own. He stood at the side of the track, stuck his head out through the catch fencing as a car drove by accelerating out of the final turn at Albert Park without earplugs or earmuffs. The car was no more than a few meters away. The fact that he was able to do that without immediately spewing blood from his ears as he would have in years past eliminates all doubt regarding the validity of his comment.

I consider myself a progressive purist. I welcome technical advancement in the name of relevance. But, I'm sorry my friend - Mallya's spot on. F1 needs to be magical, not practical.


An interesting grand prix but I cant help still feeling F1 would be more interesting without all the limitations from conservation of fuel, tyres, engines etc. Racing just isn't racing with lots and lots of controls which hold drivers back.

roberto marquez

Very well said. The top of the icing will be a marketing genius telling us, the fans,that F1 now has managers rather than drivers.Manage fuel,manage tyres,manage engines,manage gearbox,????? Lets see what they say when ratings go down.


This time a post without the Australian Vernacular, which I hope you will approve James.

I started watching Motor Racing at the Sydney Showground Speedway Dirt Track, loved the sounds of F1 at Warwick Farm Raceway in January 1961, and at my first F1 GP at Brands Hatch in 1970 was watching Jack Brabham lead the race till he ran out of fuel and coasted into second - the fight between Jochen Rindt and Brabham was what F1 was about. (also loved the sound of the big American V8's around Brands Hatch)

Allan Jones raised on Friday, the fact that F1 was becoming restricted to normal sized Drivers due to weight restrictions, as he pointed out how anorexic the current drivers looked, and they admitted to struggles to lose the weight.

F1 is supposed to be about Racing, but the new sewing machine engines and the FIA Regulations have made a farce of racing.

F1 has now become an economy car race, the drivers don't race to their abilities, they compete to save fuel and detract from what F1 Racing is supposed to be about.

If cars only have 100Kg fuel (it should be more to allow drivers to race for the whole distance), why in the heck, is there a fuel flow restriction, if you use too much fuel you run out before the end of the race,

FIA, F1 is about Racing, not drivers doing an economy car run


Good piece, most of which I agree with. I'm personally looking forward to watching the rest of the season. Don't like the engine sound very much, but I can live with it on the TV. What it does mean though, is this will be the first year for a long time, when I will not be going to a circuit to watch it live. I didn't like the drop from V10s to V8s, not just the lower volume, but the gunpowder smells, missed it all. The trouble with these engines, was one was coming into the pits, past somebody blowing a whistle and I heard the whistle! Sorry Silverstone, I won't be joining you this year...


Ken Tyrrell is rolling over in his grave.

I remember standing on the pit wall, with Ken, early one morning while cars were just coming out on the track. We started up a conversation, and he was able to pick out every car on the far side of the circuit just by its sound. I was thoroughly impressed.

Sadly, that won't happen now.


I think everyone should start getting used to quieter racing cars from all series in the future. Noise abatement is becoming more and more of an issue for all racetracks as time goes by. It has been a major complaint of residents that live near Circuit of the Americas, and I can't say that I blame them. I am a motorsports nut, but seeing as how the residents were there 80 years before COTA was built, I do feel for them. I do feel it's something that's going to have to be addressed sooner or later, and I would rather the racing series deal with than the politicians.


Enough with the journos, media, promoters and other people who rely on F1 to put food on the table trying to sell the idea that it's great how you can hear tyres squeals or that you can hold a conversation during a race.

Enough already.

You guys can't be serious. If quiet engines are an improvement why haven't people been petitioning for it for years? Why weren't people lining up in droves to watch GP3 support events?

The media and other promoters treat the public like they're fools.

At the end of the day the public will show with their hard earned dollars, pounds or euros what they think of these politically correct eco engines (oops power units). Watch attendances plummet next season.

Also, what's this about shortening races? The race went for 1 hour 40 minutes?? Check your twitter or facebook account if you can't sit still for that long.


Plus all this drivel of, 'you can have a chat now at the track whereas you couldn't before'. Who is going to an f1 race to have a chat?! Go to a cafe if you want to have a chat not an F1 race. Hopefully if all the fans stop watching they will be forced to bring back proper engines that make a noise


I totally agree. I haven't heard one F1 journo, media guy etc saying they don't like the sound.. coincedence? Nah. David Croft even said "It's not better, it's not worse, it's different." So it's **** then!

It is totally ridiculous. F1 is making it's own grave. Why did they even vote these engines in?? They're always banging on about cutting costs, so they decide to design and build extremely complex hybrid engines that cost the teams in the region of £1 billion, probably more. Great idea. Before someone says it's 'good technology to transfer to road cars', I'm pretty sure the massive car manufacturers can figure that adventure out by themselves. They can.

Then the fuel limit??!! I can only presume it's to save costs? The amount of fuel used hauling the F1 cargo around the globe makes the fuel limit 'cost save' look like a tiny spec of sand in the Sahara! What's the point?!

They should have voted the in 3.0 litre V10's back in, one of the best ever F1 engines. Way cheaper for the teams if they want to cut costs, and it produces a noise so savage it would be insulting to even compare it to these vacuums


I have

Plenty don't like it. But plenty do. It's pretty mixed, I would say, as it is with fans, teams, F1 insiders generally


Fair play James. I'd had a few last night so that came over as a bit of a rant. I'm just very passionate about the sport I love and I don't want everything I loved about it to disappear. In 10 years who knows, electric engines?


Well said German Samurai...I won't be attending Silverstone this year as these tree-hugging, fuel saving, eco-engines that aren't driven anywhere near the limit of performance just don't float my boat.

One benefit of these new eco-hybrid F1 engines is that I get to save about £1,000 now by not attending the Silverstone race weekend.

Funny thing is that I got one of Silverstone's promotional emails two weeks ago advertising this year's British F1 GP....and it mentioned "Hear the roar of the cars"...it did make me laugh!!! - someone needs to have a word with their Marketing dept.

Very sad...RIP Formula-1


It's only his opinion!


If it was that quiet at Melbourne with the concrete walls, imagine what it's going to be like at open circuits like Monza (tifosi won't like it).

Apparently the Melb Grand Prix organisers are consulting their lawyers about their deal with Burnie and impact on the show ... not sure they have much of a real claim, but perhaps some leverage to renegotiate their F1 licence fee???


All the cars looked so nervous and unstable under braking and out the corners. For me, that was the greatest positive of the new regs.

But other than that... thumbs down.

I'm all for pushing forward green tech, but don't we have Formula E for that?


I LIVE and LOVE F1! I will never say anything negative about F1 and will not now either. But The F1 experience is about the senses, and the noise was the one sensory overload that should have been thought out more. I am a fan who spends his hard earned money to attend a GP and the sound was always the first thing to put a smile on my face. My first GP was in Montreal and if you have ever been to that GP the track is out in the water. When I was waiting in line to get through the gates I heard (and felt) the sound of the F1 beasts from the other side of the water way. I could feel the sound vibrating threw my feet and I filled up with tears I was soooooo happy. That sensation maybe gone forever now and I think from my perspective that is a shame.


I think the cars sound cool. Highlight of the day was the pitlane reporter, for the coverage of the world's premier motorsport category, informing us that 'the cars don't use spark plugs anymore', then trying to weasel out of it...

It was interesting to see Kobayashi admit to an accident that it turned out wasn't his fault. Like his philanthropy, his hilarious twitter page and overtaking prowess, it is a result of him being one of, with Kimi and Vettel, the only drivers on the grid with a remotely interesting personality.


I can't be the only one concerned that f1 is becoming more and more an economy run?


"The success of Sebastian Vettel and the corresponding lack of it among the main British teams and British divers has sapped enthusiasm in the UK."

Add to that the BBC moving to highlights only for half the season and having to pay the blood-sucking Sky to watch all races live (which I refused to do).

I think this above all has sapped the UK's enthusiasm. Certainly in my case


I agree with the Sky sentiment,

As to lack of British success, if you watch just to see your favourite driver win then you're not much of an F1 fan.


Not judging from traffic numbers on this site it hasn't!


James, I think you should use those traffic numbers to force change; as individuals we have no power. F1 has tried to embrace energy efficiency, but gone too far. To quote an old English 'racer' (Shakespeare), 'Striving to better, oft we mar what's well'


Nice quote

I think the sound needs to be louder - it needs to be a show.


Then it proves the point that Pay TV is the problem.

Only a fool would not see this.

Glad you're on Freeview in Oz James!


It's engagement not quantity which counts in this day and age James. Advertisers don't want to be associated with a product which has alienated its fan base and attracts complaint after complaint here. It's not good for their image and the higher the traffic numbers the worse it is for them as the more people see the negative association with their brand! It doesn't matter if this is F1 itself or a web site like yours. F1 has a big problem and the article above seems to cover that up. By the way, why are you taking a post from someone who is not even involved with F1? If I am wrong about that then correct me but how can he know what is best for the sport if he is removed from it?


Last year, I was one of those who scoffed at people (like Bernie) complaining about the noise change for this season. I figured who cares what they sound like, as long as they drive fast, look impressive, and race well.

So much for that. During the practice sessions I quickly realized how awful the sound is. It reminds me of indy car from the early 90s. It makes the cars seem like they were driving around really slowly. The only positive thing is that you can hear the crowd cheer (which was really fun to hear when Vettel didn't make it out of Q2) and squealing tires. But please bring back the hi reving engines.

And the noses! oh my what have they done? They are looking into changing rules for next season, but now I have to watch blindfolded this year.


F1 has shot itself in the foot if it thinks that the loss of that ear piercing sound, hasn't taken some of the flavor out of the sport. Sebastian Vettel says it all when he said, " Melborne felt more like being at the wheel of a vacum cleaner than a racing car."

It really stinks!!


or sucks....


From TV, the sound was a disappointment but as mentioned in the article, what you could you hear due to the lack of screaming engines was interesting (including the lock-ups - i was not expecting to hear these details so it was a pleasant surprise). After a couple more races, I'm sure I will have adjusted to the sound. Loved how the cars were making the drivers work hard (except Merc). Very excited for the rest of the season.


I still think they need on-board stereos to blast out some pre-recorded v-12 sound track.

And it would be road-car relevant, after all: every car has a stereo now!

Can't wait to hear the drivers fart in that electric car series soon!


F1 needs to sound like nothing else. That is what made it special. That is gone now. It now sounds like all sorts of things, most of them household goods. It's not even a pleasant sound. Whether it is or not, it just sounds plain slow. I noticed that at the re-start after the safety car, the Sky commentators failed to pick up on it immediately it was so quiet.

I've watched F1 since the early 80's and can honestly say that the changes have done nothing to make things more exciting.

Shame Massa got taken out by Kobayashi's. Basically Massa was a direct victim of this new technological overload, with brake by wire failure on the Caterham. If a driver can be punished for causing an accident, is there not a case for the offending team to be penalised/fined.



I agree that Ferrari nose is really ugly but I don't think that anything matches Caterham in ugliness.

Otherwise brilliant analysis. A question though, don't you think that the consistent tyres brought by Pirelli will make racing boring once more as last year's overtakes were massively helped by degradation of tyres. This year Pirelli went Bridgestone route.


No podcasts this year, James? A pity if not.


None scheduled at present


Come on UBS we need the Podcasts.

The Frank Dernie one on drivers is my favourite.

So typical of the great Michael Schumacher to think he didn't need to test when he came into F1 !


As some of the writers above I think some of the magic of F1 has gone with these new power units.

The sound is too muted but its not just that. It is lazy. It is hard to describe what is actually missing but even some 'road' engines, while only revving till 7 or 8k rpm, make an 'emotional' sound that makes you understand you're tearing everything out of it.

With the V10's, and to a lesser extend the V8's, you were told by the sound it gave everything it got, not only because it was loud.

Now the new engines go up to 15k but it sounds like they are used at max. 2/3 of the rev band.


That is because they DID only use 2/3rds of the revs available to them. Why? Because that is where they get the best trade-off between power and economy due to the fuel flow restrictions. It made them sound terrible. A lot of mis-firing and they didn't sound angry. It sounded like it was - they were driving carefully on an economy run. The Porsche Carreras sounded much better because they hit the rev limiters off the start line and out of corners and before gear changes. It sounded like they were racing hard (which they were).


Yes agree with you 100%.

Probably it is the hunt for max fuel efficiency that kills it. Although I know sometimes things need to be changed, Formula one should be about fighting men with their machinery at the very limit and above.


the one comment on sound I haven't heard is my greatest disappointment. I fuel saving mode these engines aren't turning much over 10K RPM. the Frequency of the sound is more important than the volume. Listening to a muffled V6 accelerate to 10.2k and short shift isn't the kind of mechanical effort we have come to associate with F-1. In qualifying at leased the engines were turning 15,000 and sounded like serious street bikes. For the first time in over 48 years of F-1 obsession I turned a race off at 2/3 distance knowing I could watch the replay on the DVR.

Ask the PU guys how to raise the RPM's with an eye on maintaining a limited race distance fuel load. how about for 2014 max rate; 120 kgs/hr, 120 Kgs race distance to be reduced in 2016. We need Frequency to be the dominate component of the PU sound.


The format is fine. Formula 1 doesn't owe anyone to be entertaining and if every race was entertaining to the last lap we'd get bored of it. The safety car put everyone on the same strategy which was disappointing and Australia has never been a track with loads of overtaking...let's wait until we get to Malaysia, China and Bahrain before we make a judgement.

Agreed on the other parts though.


Wrong. I watched this year's Bathurst 12 hour sports car race via internet stream. It was 12 hours of pure action and excitement. I attended 4 days of this years Melbourne F1 GP and it was the dullest time I think I have ever spent at a race track in my 52 years. Next year I will spend my money attending the Bathurst 12 hour event and consign F1 to something I used to watch and enjoy.

Now, if that behaviour is replicated across sufficient numbers of fans then what will happen to F1? The sponsors won't be able to justify pouring mega-millions into a declining market. The TV networks won't stump up the billions to "win" the rights. The sport will wither and die. So, yes, F1 DOES owe it to the fans, spectators, customers and investors to make it an exciting, interesting and entertaining sport/show.


Shorter? They last less than two hours now, and with the prospect of some of the new cars not showing up in FP1, 2, or 3 it's a total waste of lots of money if you plan to attend a race. If your ears hurt you should have been wearing a headset or earplugs. Most racing fans will never understand brake-by-wire, ERS, or any of the other techno-variations. They're there for the spectacle which is completely gone, unless you enjoy the "spectacle" of fans cheering the retiring World Champion or Brits pounding their fists against the wall when the erstwhile World Champion retired. The pinnacle of motor racing? Rubbish.


Excellent article, as always.

But off topic, since I didn't see anything on it here, Lewis' comment on Michael Schumacher has been absolutely misrepresented, with people finding it bizarre and insensitive. Not everyone can be absolutely clear when expressing an opinion. I'm sure his intention was good. Some journalists just can't let anything pass without trying to be smart and get attention.

Sorry for this digression.


I'm sure he needs you to explain what he meant.


The tv crew need to turn up the volume track side to add some atmosphere.


I hate the sound! It sounds like a high speed UPS truck.

In the US, the pit reporter kept saying he loved all the pops and whistles from the turbo, but through the onboard mic you couldn't hear it.

Reminded me of when hydroplanes stopped using 16 cylinder Merlin engines and changed over to turbines. I used to be able to hear the piston powered boats five miles away at my home. With the turbines you sometimes don't even notice when a race is going on when your at the event.

Definitely a sad "improvement".


Merlins were 27 ltr V-12's straining to get anywhere near 3000 rpm, but as Gizmo and Alex Ward points out, the sound would have been wonderful.


V12 merlins. I saw one of those boats as a kid and never forgot it. The only engine sound that matched the f1 BMWV10 for awesome.


So it is not Kobayashi's fault then. Phew! what a relieve.

These brake by wire system is terrible, They should have a fail-safe. One should never rely on unreliable electrical system to get the job done.


FOM have finally done away with that ticker tape running along the bottom of the screen.

Deep joy. No longer will I miss all the action that takes place on the actual track.

I love the sound, I don't need to be deafened to know how fast the cars are travelling. For the first time in years I've heard the crowd and tyres squeeling - and amazingly the trackside commentator.


Is it even possible to make the current engines sound more like the old ones? Anybody have a clue?

Races could be a bit shorter though.


Make em scream to 18K revs in every gear and it will sound a lot different... but that will become problematic with fuel efficiency and the engine life as only 5 are available.


Yes. They could remove the turbo and simply use the ers-h for boost.


Will be interesting to see if ticket sales decline, especially in 2015 if people make this year their last GP


I think this formula will get better and better as it gets worked out. This is the usual time of year many jump to conclusions but this new set of regs will be refined and such as they have been in the past.

Of course I would rather them give each car a set amount of fuel to burn as they see fit, putting more pressure on their equipment if they choose or risking ruining their tires or running out at the end of the race.

I miss the days of re-fueling the V10's and I miss the Turkish GP!


Well, it's fair to say there's going to be a lot less talk about the tyres this year 😀


Watching the GP again. You literally do not hear the sound of the engine...it is more like a whistle.


Seems like the big problem with F1 in this day and age is the "fans". It's become a culture of whinging and whining about every little detail. 95% of the comments here are people complaining about some minutiae or claiming they will never watch again, only to return in a week because grumbling on is their only hobby and no one at home or at the pub will put up with it.

I am only adding to the malaise with this type of comment which I will try to stop doing in the future but it's time for the true fans of F1 who love the sport, have a favorite driver or team and have something positive to say to step up and take back the sport. Whingers be gone.


It's only because now people have the opportunity to post their whinges, it obviously never happened years ago.


I completely agree J. (I hope you're not upset about my comments regarding Vijay Mallya, I was infact criticising him for this very attitude)

Whenever the direction of the sport is changed, there seems to be a large amount who complain vigorously. When I first started watching in 2002, everyone complained how nothing ever happened, and races were just engineered so Schumacher won them all. Fast forwards about 9 years to the Pirelli era and everyone moaned that all the passing was artificial, that everyone had to make too many pitstops. Now everyone is moaning about the sound like it's the death of the sport; I say get over it! People never mentioned the sound very much during the V8 era, (Except perhaps during the switch from the V10's) and now it's gone everyone complains. If F1 was purely about the sound, we'd all listen to it on the radio and give 1st place to the one that sounded best. No offence to James and the 5 Live crew, but F1 is in my view more of a visual spectacle than an audio one.

And for those who say the races are 'boring', I must say your threshold for boredom is extremely low; whenever there is a race where there isn't a strong battle for the lead, everyone criticises it like it's the end of the world. Look lower down the field every once in a while, and you'll see what you're missing. Be thankful it's not the Schumi-era where the start decides the race and the championship is won in June. It's as if these viewers are never satisfied no matter what rules are in place. No-one seems to understand that if you have a 300 KM race there are going to be slow parts now and again; and that's the way it should be. F1 should not excessively cater to those with short attention spans and no true passion for the sport. Otherwise even more of Bernie's crazy ideas would come to pass.

Speaking of which, don't get me started on the Abu Dhabi double points rule...That's the real thing that devalues the sport, not the engine noise or the fuel rate or the amount of overtakes.


I have to disagree over the sound.

On TV there is no excitement to be heard at all. It is good to see cars going sideways occasionally but Bernie was right :

making 100kg of fuel last the same race distance is a technical achievement but the cost to F1 has been far too high.

I find the lack of noise from the Audis at LeMans disappointing : the LMP2 cars are more exciting overall because they still sound like cars that are racing.

If they still ran with turbos but at 18,000 it would probably be OK.


Well said J.


Ask any engineer and they will tell you that noise is a sign of inefficiency. Energy being used to create sound waves instead of power for the drivetrain. The new sound is very much part of new cleaner greener direction that F1 must take.

There is no point now in making the engines artificially noisier, but I do agree with most fans that a major part of the F1 experience is now missing.

BTW James, great to have you back on channel 10 again over the GP weekend. At least you make the same amount of noise as normal.


I'm an engineer, and while the sound is wasted energy in terms of making the car go faster directly, the turbo does not convert sound into energy, it just muffles it. Incidently i belive the sound is not all waste, i think the old rediculous sound co tribute to making the cars faster, in the same way that advertising make them faster.


I fully agree with you....F1 is loosing the soul


I find it interesting who likes what. It’s got to be given a chance, then refined a little. Went to my 1st F1 race at Watkins Glen in 1968, and saw them all until they lost the event. There have been good years, neat cars, good races and bad boring ones as well. Who remembers Rene Arnoux and Giles Villeneuve racing in France, forgot the year. For what it’s worth, that’s what I’d like to see again, and never another 2013 season. I’ll be patient, I like the idea of maybe harder tire compounds and seeing the cars slide a bit, that separates the men from the boys (and maybe Simona next year).


I think it was inevitable that F1 engines would get quieter eventually. All that noise represents energy that the cars are failing to harness, so the screaming F1 engine note was bound to be one of the first casualties of the march towards greater efficiency and energy recovery.


sorry even from the comfort of your sofa you can tell that something is missing in F1.

The epic nature has gone, that wail as the cars approached, that otherworldly sound is gone

F1 has been dealt ANOTHER massive blow; cars are slow, races are boring, tracks are dull and now the one things that WAS F1, that amazing sound is gone.

Soon to be a sport with viewing numbers equaling the national New Zealand soccer league. 1+2 = 2.


1996 ... monza - we were late for warmup ... we defenitly heard them, far away sitting in the car in a cue - and late 😉

2008-2010 monza, yes you needed the oropax - a bit less noisy would have been ok but then it was just great.

i will visit Spielberg this year, i will tell you how it sounds about 5 m away.

but it tell you, today i booked my tickets for the DTM Race in agust at the Redbullring (spielberg) because i want to hear screeming V8's again desperatly, seems like DTM are the last "loud" left!!!

Racing is much about sound!

but give the turbos a little pimp - not much maybe a bit more agressive (this is possible for next year)sound engenyring.

by the way - redbullring in Austria has really strong noise rules - the new F1 is alot more quite the DTM, they will have no noise problems with residents this year.


Come over to Nurburg, hear the VLN.


Went to the Melbourne GP and it was completely underwhelming, even before Ricciardo was disqualified.

The cars sounded like vacuum cleaners with full dust bags. The support races sounded better.

F1 has turned from a sport that revelled in the speed of its cars and the bravery of its drivers to a 200 mile economy run.

I have to wonder about who is running the show. After banging on about lowering costs to the point where teams are basically banned from testing what do they do? They introduce a stupendously complicated and expensive engine - what planet are they on?

I'll still follow F1, but I won't be buying tickets to Melbourne again - I can get the same atmosphere with a surround sound system in my lounge, no point in seeing it live anymore.


I'm sorry to say, but even though the lap times suggest they drive virtually at the same speed as before, the lack of revs and the sound makes it look like they are not driving fast at all... I have been loving this sport since I was a kid, and I guess it has to do with the noice...


1) New engines. I highly respect what has been done this year. While I miss the roar of F1, I like how F1 is trying to set the bar for future automobiles around the world. Limiting fuel, improving efficiency, and working on new power units is all good for the sport and shows the world how F1 is still the innovation leader.

2) Lifetime numbers. It's about time!

3) Challenging drivers. I love putting more emphasis on driver talent. Twitchy, torque-laden cars are great for the sport.

What I do not like are:

1) Tires. Let's give these guys a break here. There's enough to worry about in these new cars now (fuel management, brake balance, DRS, power recovery, etc.), do we have to have tires that go away so quickly, too?

2) Weight limits. Looking forward to getting the weights back to a decent level in 2015. Anyone else notice how Lewis looks like Twiggy this year?

3) Ugly cars. I cannot stress this enough. Only Red Bull has managed to put "lipstick on a pig" and successfully hidden the ugliness. But the Ferrari is, without a doubt, the ugliest F1 racer I can recall ever seeing. Literally. Glad that they are going to re-look at this for 2015.

Looking for a great 2014 season. I hope Ferrari does a little more competitively this year than what we've seen thus far, but the season should be great - glad to have the likes of Williams, McLaren, and even Force India, back in the hunt.


"The red cars look like a couple of old prize-fighters with noses that have been broken and flattened after years in the ring."

Perfect. That is the description i have been looking for!


My opinion is that with all the new things this year, and since it seems at least part of the theme was to "go back to 80's or 90's" in terms of downforce, engine sizes, and being able to hear the circuit announcer...

They should have just gone back to the 10,6,4,3,2,1 points system and free-for-all one hour qualifying.


For the first time ever I saw the F1 cars on track before hearing them, it's very weird. Seriously to all the European fans you won't believe the sound until you hear them at the track, the TV actually makes them sound better 🙁

I wonder if some new exhaust pipe can be fitted to increase the noise and/or give them some sort of buzz at least?


This is a heavily commented post.

Here are some of my observations as a fan who visited the race and sat at turn 4 grandstand (which is a great spot).

Sound of the engine:

1. FP1 and we were very deflated about the sound, but when we compare it to the engine sounds later in qualifying and race we felt they were running at reduced revs potentially cause cars were popping more in FP1. We noticed they were popping when full throttle was not being applied.

2. Rev band is shorter than before. We have 8 speed cars now and a lower rev limit. This would mean that the rev range during acceleration is shorter. I think this detract from the sound as you do not hear as big a pitch change in the sound. We noticed this as most teams went through turn 4 (I think) in third gear, except Torro Rosso who seemed to be a gear lower hence were hitting the rev limit on exit of the corner, they sounded better as a result. I am assuming they set up 2nd gear specifically for this corner. Perhaps other teams were more relying on engine torque in third for this corner as they were gearing up later on the exit and didn't sound as they were on full power as compared to Torro Rosso.

3. We went for a walk towards the end of FP2 to see what the cars sounded like on the straight just before the breaking zone. We had a better sensation of speed there which was absent in the corners. This was because you hear the Doppler effect as the car flies past. The heavy gearing down also added to it too. Was a slight improvement to turn 4.

To me pitch and volume really took a lot away from the sensation of speed. Larger rev range would also enhance this. These cars have higher torque, why do we need more gears?


For all the whining about the noise from 'some' the majority actually seem to be happy with it.

SkyF1 did a live twitter poll post race asking there viewers about the changes to F1 & 77% came back saying they like the changes.

The f1 fanatics website ran a poll on engine noise & most came back saying they liked it.

Im a member of 3 other f1 fan forums & the polls done there show a similar trend, More like than dislike.

For those whining about the sound, What do you propose?

Sticking with the V8's, Going to V10s?

Both engine formulas that the engine manufacturer's don't have an interest in.

It was the engine manufacturer's, Not the FIA which said they wanted the sort of engine formula we now have because these smaller capacity turbo's with energy recovery systems is what they want to produce.

Indycar also went to the engine manufacturer's & asked what formula they most wanted & they got the same response & like F1 went with V6 Turbo's.

F1 needs engine manufacturer's else the cars don't run so it has to go with an engine formula thats relevant to the wants/needs of the engine manufacturers & the formula we now have is what they want, Hence why Honda is coming back in 2015.

Should be reminded also that peopel said the same in 2006 when we went to V8's, They sounded horrible & they were never going to watch a race again etc....

Personally I like the new sound, I think they sound just as nice as the turbo's of the 80s & nobody was tuning out if F1 back then & track attendance didn't decline.

These new cars also look so much better been driven by the drivers, watching them squirm around on acceleration & watching them get sideways with wheelspin is a much better spectacle than what we have had the past 10-15yrs or so with cars planted & engines with no torque allowing them to plant the throttle without drama.

The V8's were gutless, No torque or anything, What we have now is much better from that POV.

As to the look of them, I generally prefer lower noses, I loved the 2009 Brawn for example & the lower nosed cars of 10+yrs ago. The 'fingers' sticking off the newer noses aren't pretty but I don't think they look too bad.

I love the look of the Mercedes, I think the McLaren solution looks great & I quite like the Red Bull.


The vast most at home do not watch for the noise of the engines but for the racing. If they provide enough racing, then the rest can be forgotten - except the ugly cars which do show 'well' on the TV.

Being there, however. might be enough different to warrant complaint since it's also about atmosphere - yet that's ties to expectations. Again, the racing is good, they'll get over it.

But the ugly cars are a no-no. Ferrari should be ashamed of such a thing. Where's their sense of style gone?


Just wanted to bring up something about how the sound comes across on TV.

I don’t know what Sky/BBC were doing with there sound-mix but the track audio on the direct feed coming from FOM was a great deal louder than Sky & the BBC were putting out under there commentary. Seen some stuff from the Sky German broadcast which allows you to disable commentary & go with the raw track audio & it sounds so much better.

You also saw this with the in-car shots. When shown on the main Sky/BBC they sounded very quiet, Yet switch over to one of sky's in-car feeds & they sounded significantly louder.


Many complaints from fans who will still tune in to watch the next race from Sepang ...when will the complaining ever stop I wonder !


The racing is great, but my god the engines sound like sh*t.


Must disagree with Ed here.

The Ferrari sure doesn't look pretty but what about the Caterham and the Force India cars?

Looking at them frontways they look like they have a broken nose with a stick attached to them to hold the front wing!


Ed, "Grand Prix" is not sprint race. Maybe you should only watch Saturdays if thats what you want to see . With Most gps only just exceeding and hour & a half its almost one anyway !

I like the sound of the V6 but just like james, brundle, and a few other theres just no quite enough. I actually prefer the tone to the V8 its a bit deeper and throatier. I think dual exhausts and maybe another 1000rpm would be perfect. Its all about fine tuning the regs and maybe 2015 will see this.

I got a few names for the cars now

Ferrari- The Duck

Mclaren- Gorilla


Williams- Aardvark

Toro Rosso- Ant Eater

Force India- Toucan

Red Bull- Ibis

Marussia- flamingo

Caterham- Michael Jackson

David in Sydney

Surprised at the criticism here.

Turn the engines up to 18k rpm and you'll hear them scream - it's not the engines but the fuel saving that's killing 'your' F1 but to be honest I feel that F1 is just as exciting as it ever was since the introduction of spec tyres, no refuelling and DRS.

I even forgot how ugly the cars looked at launch by the end of the race.

It's going to be the best year since 2010.


"but to be honest I feel that F1 is just as exciting as it ever was since the introduction of spec tyres, no refuelling and DRS."

All they need now is a spec chassis and engine.


The problem created here is the easy way to associate mentally sound with other factors, as fuel consumption or conservative races. After that, you have a "pack" of this new F1, a politically correct racing category more similar to a normal citizen with his computered dashboard than a Super Car ready to burn gas & rubber. It's sadly hilarous: Jean Todt the co driver in powerful & dangerous B Rally series as well Ferrari responsible when F1 was limitless in resources and V10 engines is the "F1 killer".


I will always be a fan of f1 although this weekend was a disappointment for me as I attended the GP in Melbourne.sitting on the main straight you couldn't hear the cars approaching and coming up through the gears, you only knew it was there as it drove past. The whole excitement and thrill of an f1 event for me personally is the screaming sound of an f1 car as it creates such atmosphere in the crowd.Formula one is the pinnacle of motorsport should be the loudest and fastest race cars in the world. This week in Australia the v8 supercars and porsche cup cars were louder than the f1's. the loss of sound is a real loss for on track spectators and certainly detracts from the f1 experience, bring back the roar please.


If you love motor racing you never ever watch a high speed race- Indy, F1 on the main straights ( other than maybe a start). Approach to chicanes or esses or corners leading onto straights is where to be. Where you can see a car approach, brake, corner exit- that is where you truly appreciate the speed, sound and the skill- thats also where the overtaking manouveres occur or chaos when they get it wrong. Sitting high up in the grandstands doesnt give you the persoective or sensation of the speed as much as being up against the guard rails at ground level when you hear ,see & feel everything. Idea is to move around alot at first to find where you can see all the elements.


Next timr the grandstands on the corners are the ones to go for


We were in the grandstand on the last turn onto the main straight- wasn't any better.


Fully agree with Mitch Owens comments..loss of sound = loss of spectators..

I will still watch F1 on TV but wont be going back while they sound quieter than a formula ford.

They just didnt look as fast without the noise. You could not even hear them leaving pit lane unless you were on the pit straight. very disappointing.

I dont know why they are so quiet because having seen turbo engined cars in the 80's they sounded great.

As far as fuel usage goes, I would have thought if you have a limited amount of fuel available then its there to use as decided by the team and driver.

If the FIA can "fabricate usage requirements" then they can fabricate the results to suit who they think should be winning.

FIA... what are you doing? This is supposed to be motor racing!


Leading up to BBC qualifying highlights I was keen to hear the new F1 sound but when Q1 started DC and BE were off like robbers dogs, barking out all the usual garbage and drowning out everything; give us a break guys, in todays F1 less is more.


It's great to see F1 back at the cutting edge of tech and bringing some road relevance with it.I thought the race was great and really liked the new engine noise. you could hear the cars sliding,gear changes,chassis noises ect. and it was great to see the drivers really fighting with the cars, rather than cornering on rails with their blown diffusers. If people are complaining about the lack of noise, perhaps they should tape the sound of their whingeing and play that when the next race is on. It would drown out everything.


This is so sad. F1 is dead. I have been to many Melbourne GP's and adelaide GP back in the day- and im sad to say....this was my worst ever!!.

Anyone who says the sound was good, or "just different" is minority opinion. Yes the cars were quieter, but the actual exhaust note was horrible. I have heard awesome off tap turbo 4 bangers with anti-lag that sound nuts, but these engines are dreadful.

Then there was the racing- just boring. I hate the fact I paid to see the best drivers in the world battle wheel to wheel, and where were they?? You know the answer.

Yes, yes I understand where the world is heading with new tech and trendy green ways, have your green series and go your hardest with your H2O emmiting race cars- but leave us to see the fastest cars driven by the fastest drivers with the spine tingling live spectical. And unless the spectical and speed of the firebreathing v10 and v8 era returns- the people will vote with the lack of ticket sales and TV views.

If this is the future of F1.... I'm not sure if I want to be part of it.


Come join me at next year's Bathurst 12 hour sports car event. Real racing. Real action. And a whole lot more accessible than F1. This year's Melbourne event was definitely my last F1 event.


Sounds like Bernie and Jean want to fix this lack of trackside sound ASAP but they say it will take a few GP before it can be achieved.

With these ERS designed in the manner that they are common sense tells you more noise equals wasted energy and the engineers won't be keen on that.

What quick fix could they do apart from making a tail pipe in the shape of a megaphone?

Would a long term fix to twin turbo next year make a difference?


A lot was said here from people who were live in Melbourne and who were disappointed by the sound. Here's a video that lets you get a impression from the start/finish straight in the ranks. I must say that the negative opinions sounded worse that it does on this video:


Judging by this video, I'd prefer the 2014 sound.

kenneth chapman

i must say that for me the sounds from the TV were abysmal. i did a small experiment by closing my eyes and just listening through my superb headphones. i had the impression that these cars were almost coasting. only when i opened my eyes did i see just how fast they actually were running.

so when taken into the mix it is vitally important to ensure that the sound is in harmony with the speed and that simply is not happening. a major disappointment and one aspect of F1 racing that will never be replaced.

by the way james, your multi appearances over the weekend were well appreciated. ten/one HD do a great job but i cant help cringing at their jingoism which at times is quite sickening. 'our own alan jones'is a great example. bring the bucket.....


I really don't understand this bit from Ed's post.

The success of Sebastian Vettel and the corresponding lack of it among the main British teams.....

Excuse me, but Sebastian drives for a brilliant British team, of which all British citizens can be proud. By what stretch of logic do Adrian, Christian, and all the men & women who work tirelessly at Milton Keynes every day loose their citizenship just because the team have employed 2 foreigners as drivers since DC retired.

Are Williams a more British team even though they employ foreign drivers too, simply because they have been around a few decades longer?

Is a British designed & built entry in the America's Cup any less British if the syndicate hires a Kiwi skipper or an Americain tactician? Not by any article I've read.


Yes, RBR are a British team, that's why they play the Austrian anthem for the team when they win :rollseyes


I have finally decided to give up on f1 after being a fan for some 40 years.

Of course i should have given up a few years ago.

Point is, the more I think about it, F1 was THE 20th century sport. the motorcar being THE 20th century invention.

But now, it's a joke. Hybrid.electrical, whatever they do, they lost the mojo.



Well, I wont type loads of why I don't like the new sounding F1 cars and the fact that the race itself was even more like a funeral procession than a race. Drivers rarely had a go, bottas did but who else? It was status quo for the most part.

Lets just have 60 races, three GP on the same day. After the first few laps it was sleep mode. I watched, I am a fan, but I watched in pain.

Check these two links out regarding sound

2013 v 2014



2014 v Indy Car


I think F1 2014 loses on both accounts.

Drastic measures with only 12 days or testing is ridicilious. Last time turbo's came to F1 there was a choice intitially. It was the old normally aspirated versus Turbo. Renault were the first in. Quick but Arnoux and Jabouille always were breaking down, but the speed was there, especially the high altitude tracks, Kayalami in South Africa. FIA may get a new break away series threat from Uncle Bernie and Co. FOCA was a good thing.


I miss already the sound of roaring v8 or v10 from the F1 engines after watching the Australian GP. Been to mostly Malaysian GP since 2006 since I'm from Malaysia. Last year during the Singapore GP, the sound of the engine is like a music to my ear while having dinner at McDonald"s during the FP2 and can't wait to finish my food quickly. As for this year i think i already make a mistake of buying the ticket for the Malaysian GP after reading most of the comments. I thought the sound would be nice but it just so bad and worse next year it will be definitely turbo engine too since Honda will be partnering with McLaren for the engine. I guess maybe in 2016 we may hear again the roaring sound of NA engine. But for those who would like to listen to new engine sound then come on 28 March 2014 (Friday) is a free entry day to all seat zones in Sepang.


Oh F1, what have you done? I watched last weekends race with anticipation only to feel let down and cheated by the sound from those new power trains. The race seemed dull and slow, even though speeds were only just below last years. It felt like eating an expensive food with no taste buds. The ingredients were there all except the taste.

For me F1 was the howl of the engines that set my heart thumping. Alas that seems to have gone.

Ah well, there's always Moto GP instead, at least that still has excitement. Until they remove the engines and fit pedals instead.


Correct me if I'm wrong but don't these cars sound very similar to motorbikes now? In particular, say, Ducati/Aprilia? The flat tone, relaxed gearchanges etc..


My point was, F1 has lost something essential and exciting. Something that was fundamental to its being. You will never convince me that this is the way to go in what was to me the greatest motor race in the world. It now seems dull and flat by comparison to what it was. The blood no longer courses through the veins. The raw emotion generated by the sound has gone. To me, it was an uninteresting procession of very expensive technology around a circuit.

In fact I was tempted to turn it off half way through the race. Me, turn off an F1 race!!! Never before been known.

The fact is that hearing is a fundamental sense; if you remove or reduce it, there is a huge part of the experience missing.

If you never had it in the first place, you can't miss it. Once you had it and it's removed, you feel cheated.


Ferrari is finally doing its job exactly the way it looks and runs: mowing the lawn.