Furthermore…

The idea that Formula 1 racing circuits will switch to IndyCar racing if the current engines are not retained is obviously an idle threat, when one considers the IndyCar rules. They are as follows: “turbocharged engines (to allow for flexibility in power) with up to six cylinders and 2.4 liters of displacement, tuned to produce between 550 and 750 horsepower to suit the diverse set of racetracks on the IZOD IndyCar Series schedule”.

A clever pal of mine has pointed out that 2.4-litre turbo inline-4s or V6s, producing 550-750hp, will be of a larger capacity than their 1.6-litre F1 equivalents and so will either rev less or be blown less hard than the F1 equivalents if they are producing the same levels of horsepower. Either way they will probably make less quantity and less quality noise as a result.

So why would the fans choose to listen to them any more than they would listen to the F1 engines of tomorrow?

51 thoughts on “Furthermore…

  1. Or, indeed, the fact that the Indycars use methanol-based fuels. If you have a methanol fire, you don’t see it. I’m sure the HSE would love to get involved if there was a pitlane fire at a Silverstone Indycar race.

  2. The whole noise thing is a complete red-herring, if noise was that important, there would be nobody at Le Mans to watch the turbo diesels whistle round for 24 hours. Mr E. really does know how to fool the people all of the time….

  3. I’m confused by all this hullabaloo about IndyCar on F1 circuits as I thought the FIA won’t allow IndyCars to run on road circuits outside North America. At least that’s how it was 10 or 20 years ago…

    1. RedLineTire

      No-one has actually asked if IndyCar would even want to run outside the Americas. In nay case, don’t read too much into it, it is just an attempt to wind up trouble. There is no reality in it.

  4. That was the first question I asked myself when I read the original article. It just doesn’t make any sense. The turbo engines will sound as great as the current V8.

    Bernie, cut the crap, you’ve got to do better to hide your true agenda…

  5. Indy Cars turned on good shows when they raced in Oz & they’d be welcomed back.
    I seem to recall plenty of interesting sounds.
    On the subject of noise, years ago in Australia a top pedaller stirred up the Bathurst 1000 in a sensationally fast Mazda RX7.
    He deserved fan support for taking it up to the dominating V8’s, but the rocketship sounded awful & turned people off in droves.

  6. Anyone who knows anything about IndyCar knows they have nothing to do with this – they have enough trouble convincing the Midwest die-hards to accept the one Brazilian race and the one Japanese race (you should’ve seen the celebrations on the fan blogs when that deal wasn’t extended beyond 2011). Let alone the perceived excess of non-ovals already. Now if Champ Car was still going I might half-believe it..

    Anyway, the noise issue is a non-starter. Seem to recall the F1 circuits were packed in the 80s when the cars sounded completely different.

    David Myers: It is for that reason that a small amount of gasoline is mixed with the ethanol, they’ve not burned clear for a few years now.

  7. Joe, you had such a great piece, that went into such depth, talking about it is virtually a mute point. Having said that, I must admit, it’s a fun topic. Question: Doesn’t this go against the original Concord Agreement? In order to have FIA sanction, I think that Indy Cars would be required to run on ovals in Europe? I doubt that IndyCar would entertain putting that on the line. Also, if someone would be so kind to ask Mr. Walker if he’s been in touch with the folks at Indianapolis, I’d love to hear his reply. 😉

  8. As much of an empty threat as this is, and I’m ignoring it purely as F1 silly season (seems its spreading out past driver ‘negotiations’ now), I would however like to see an international Indycar series. I think it would be a great addition to the motorsport calendar to see at least a small portion of european Indy Races, Indy car round at Spa? Silverstone? Even Monaco maybe? I can’t say I’m a major fan, and am only really just getting into it, but as an extra few races, It might be interesting.

    One more thing on a side note, The F1 cars are so much more beautiful than the current Indycars, I’m not sure they’d want to get rid of that!

  9. Exactly my point of reference in asking if anyone asked the folks in Indianapolis about this. 😉 Albeit a tad sarcastic at that. But here’s the bottom line that really matters. Can you give me the particulars on how to subscribe to your on line magazine? Superb work sir.

  10. 1.6 is indeed less than 2.4.
    Ah! I had not realised that the whole question was about noise rather than the type of car. Obviously a 1.6 blown to produce the same power as a 2.4 will be blown harder, stressed more and more likely to fail, particularly in the complicated future F1 compound turbo/supercharged/electric arrangement.

  11. Nobody watches the .1rl in the USA. So desperate is the league, they are now reduced to bragging about scoring a 0.27 Nielsen rating for the last race. Shamwow infomercials will do better than 0.27. 😆
    AOWR is dead thanks to the Indiana faction. If the base in the USA doesn’t want it, to think that the rest of the world would clamor for it is laughable. As a matter of fact, pretty much anything associated with the Indiana Razing League is a punchline…

  12. @Chris Rehm

    Not quite – the rule about IndyCar (CART back in the day) running on ovals outside North America was actually self-imposed by the series, something that was laxed when Champ Car started excluding ovals during the last decade.

  13. I attended the U.S. Grand Prix at Indianapolis every year it was held. Having never been to the Indianapolis 500, I also decided to go to that one year. Joe, putting aside the fact that this is never going to happen, you are spot on about the noise. It was amazing how much quieter the Indy cars were compared to the F1 engines. This was true even though the Indy cars were closer to us and were going faster at that point in the track.

    Still, Andy S has a point. It was not quite as much fun with the quieter engines, but the Indy 500 was still a blast.

  14. @ Dan
    IndyCar needs to sort out its foundations before it builds an international house, but even then the primary audience is still North American.

    @ jim
    A mute point, but the ratings were actually 0.36 – indeed several of the races thus far have shown audience gains; not by much mind, but gains nonetheless.

  15. “Or, indeed, the fact that the Indycars use methanol-based fuels. If you have a methanol fire, you don’t see it.”

    They’ve been using ethanol for at least five years now.

    “Nobody watches the .1rl in the USA. So desperate is the league, they are now reduced to bragging about scoring a 0.27 Nielsen rating for the last race. Shamwow infomercials will do better than 0.27. 😆
    AOWR is dead thanks to the Indiana faction. If the base in the USA doesn’t want it, to think that the rest of the world would clamor for it is laughable. As a matter of fact, pretty much anything associated with the Indiana Razing League is a punchline”

    And it still draws more than F1 by a large margin.

    AOWR is actually fairly healthy at the moment. They had a proper 30 cars mostly sponsored with few ride buyers race at their event two weeks ago, which is the first time I can remember that taking place outside of Indianapolis in a long time.

    I agree though that Indycar shouldn’t have anything to deal with outside the Americas. What Americans think is good racing and what Europeans think is good racing are two completely different things and they don’t mix well. CART died because they tried to cater to Europeans and thought they were becoming a global series when all they did was destroy their American fanbase.

    From what I remember, Bernie banned CART from competing on road courses outside the Americas. That’s why they raced at Rockingham and the Lausitzring and a bizarre trapezoid oval in Rio de Janiero. In their last season in 2007 they raced at Zolder and Assen, it was supposedly allowed because Bernie saw they were no longer a threat.

    That said, I’ve never understood why some road course-based Indycar-like series has never existed in country like Britain for example with its rich racing history for guys that can’t afford F1 (both teams and drivers).

    “Anyone who knows anything about IndyCar knows they have nothing to do with this – they have enough trouble convincing the Midwest die-hards to accept the one Brazilian race and the one Japanese race (you should’ve seen the celebrations on the fan blogs when that deal wasn’t extended beyond 2011).”

    Indycar racing in Japan is about as smart as Formula One racing in Abu Dhabi or Turkey or any other number of places that have no homegrown F1 fans. Indycar is and always will be a North American series. So why race somewhere where the population will never take to you when you’re still trying to get larger at home?

  16. @ Andy S – I disagree with your dismissal of the noise issue. I think for a lot of fans the sounds of an F1 car are a major part of the spectacle. LeMans is such a unique and historical event that you can’t really use it as an example. People still come to LeMans to see the diesels (they are certainly plenty fast and high-tech enough) but who wouldn’t prefer the sounds of Porsche, Ferrari, and Matra 12 cylinders echoing around the circuit. One of my most vivid F1 memories was hearing the V10s of the early 2000s making their way around Indy. From, the infield you could follow the cars around the track sonically even when you couldn’t see them. Anyone who heard the 20,000 rpm V10s live will never forget the sound they made. I heard the turbo cars too back in the 80s, and while still interesting they were not even in the same league in terms of excitement……until they blew up.

  17. Maybe the circuits want to move to Indy exactly for the lower revving and less powerfull engines. They hoped for a 4 cylinder to ease their troubles with meeting noise limit maximums and now its V6es it will be better to have the lower revving, less noisy Indy engines 😀

    Seriously, the first thing crossing my mind when reading about this letter by walker and pals was, that Bernie had put the message to his circuits to beat his drum for him. Not sure what he actually wants to achieve here (a bit of poking at Ferrari, Todt, FOTA etc?), but I will know.

  18. I really dont understand the “noise” issue of 1.6 turbo engines. 2 things, S1600 rally cars which have 1.6 turbo lumps sound very meaty, albeit not a screamer but good noise nonetheless, and 2, MotoGP bikes scream like wailing banshees and they only have 800cc blocks.

    Its all to do with the exhaust, given the right exhaust even a current F1 engine could be made pretty quiet.

  19. Will Jean Todt axes F-1 ? What an irony former Scuderia chief axes the Ferrari marketing tool per excellence !

  20. Agreed Joe. Nice observation. Not to mention, that if any of the circuit owners moaning about losing money, will certainly lose a lot more with IndyCar. Who would ever pay F1 ticket prices for an IndyCar, single make chassis series? Ridiculous!

  21. RJ
    Indy Cars will be running not on methanol, or ethanol in 2012, but what is known as E85. E 85 is a pump gasoline in the US which carries 15% Ethanol.
    The Indy engines for next year will be 2.2L V6 Turbo race engines (not a 2.4, that was changed a few months ago), with a required 2000 mile race life between rebuilds. McLaren will be supplying the ECUs for all the engines (Honda, Chevrolet/Illmor, and Lotus/Judd) The F1 engines will be 1.6 V6 Turbos with the same expected output. Both will have a 12,000 RPM Limit. I don’t care what you do, adding a turbo into the equation is like adding a muffler to the engine sound wise, in both series. With F1 changing from I4 to V6 makes no difference in sound volume if it remains turbocharged. As both the Indy 2.2 V6 and the F1 1.6 V6 are both turbocharged and both limited to 12, 000 RPM, there’s really not going to be any sound difference between the two, save for a throatier sound from the larger 2.2 engine.

    All of this only underlining what Joe outlined already: This is all a bunch of Bernie BS 🙂

  22. In America people prefer the lower sound of the turbo engine in fact, people have been complaining about the current 3L V8 normaly aspirated engines there for years. They used to have turbo engines for much longer than F1 had them and because of the flat out nature of the ovals the turbo noise was much prefered for most fans.
    As for F1, I think the current V8 is underpowered and although the noise will be lower from a V6 turbo I think the extra power we will get from it is much more important for the quality of the racing.

  23. @ Leigh O’Gorman

    Actually, the 0.36 can’t be right, as the .1rl reported, the race saw a 35% increase over last year.

    As reported by Sports Media Watch:

    “More Ratings

    July 3, 2010 12:13 AM2 Comments and 0 ReactionsViews: 7
    Author:
    Paulsen
    Tags:
    IndyCar on Versus
    ■The June 20 Iowa Corn Indy 250 drew a 0.2 U.S. rating and 400,000 viewers on Versus, not surprisingly down from last year’s race on ABC (1.130 mil), and the second-least viewed IndyCar race of the season”

    0.2 + 35% = 0.27 😆

  24. Is the sound of an engine only to do with Revs, capacity and number of cylinders?
    I’ve been impressed by a very low revving Babs albeit of enormous capacity, a supercharged ERA , and the Toleman Hart. Different engines but a great noise from each. Remembering the sound of a DFV being fired up for warm up at Silverstone still sends a chill down my spine. Funny how one car can sound so plaintive more so than a full grid.

  25. Bernie doesn’t care if no one turns up at the track anyway. Just add a soundtrack to the TV feed – “problem” solved…

    Never mind V10s, stick a Rolls Royce Merlin on the audio…

  26. Circuit owners can tell the likes of FOM where to go and not suffer any loss. In 2009 the World Superbike Championships organisers wanted to double the money they received from Brands Hatch. The extra cost would have put £15 on every ticket. Jonathan Palmer told them to take a hike and the WSBC has not returned to Brands.
    http://www.crash.net/world+superbikes/news/128603/print.html

    I have read that Ron Walker is a close friend of Bernie. If true, that’s a rather large cuckoo in the nest.

  27. A series that drew only 13,000 to Milwaukee is going to replace F1? Thank you Joe…I needed a laugh today. Anyone who has attended races in both series would instantly see what a farcical concept this is.

  28. Joe, Ron Walker is quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald this morning threatening to withdraw Melbourne from the GP circus if F1 adopted the V6 turbos advising that his customers demanded the scream of 18,000 rpm V8’s. All so much smoke as he has obviously forgotten – or doesn’t know – how noisy V6 turbos were from the 1980’s. Personally feel that the V10’s were the best sounding F1’s albeit they were a threat to one’s hearing.

  29. Does Ron Walker really think IRL is a true rival to F1 and that a 12000 rpm V6 turbo F1 engine will destroy the sport.

    I still have vivid and enduring memories of 1.5 litre V6 turbos screaming (eg. Honda RA167E from 1988 operated to 12,500 rpm) around the streets of Adelaide as the likes of Senna, Mansell etc tried to tame 700 hp on a tight street circuit. Ron, I’m sorry say that at 12,000rpm the noises were still unbelievable. Whatever the actual number will be the sport will not implode.

    Melbourne fans and taxpayers would not support a race unless it is the “F1 World Championship” let alone the wealthy residents of Monaco having there tranquil lives impacted by a low cost American sports car series. IRL will never be able to replace F1 and if Ron thinks otherwise, then he is not as smart as he thinks he is.

    This is all just another load of political nonsense and has no bearing on the outcome of a Sunday afternoon. If the Promoters were serious their issue would be with the excessive fees paid (and subsequent high ticket prices) rather than a diluting of the ‘pinnacle of motor sport’.

    I imagine that the whole ‘Promoters Alliance’ concept has removed the opportunity for FOTA to use the “creation of a breakaway series” during negotiations of the next Concord agreement.

    I do know this though, I have been a absolute F1 fan since 1985 when I saw Niki Lauda screaming up Wakefield straight in Adelaide. I will never in my life forget the flash of a car, the smell and the sound and it saddens me to say that another example of excessive self interest is causing me drift from the sport. I am tired of the greed and the politics and I am starting to care less and less, so much so that during the European G.P. I turned off the TV and just went to bed.

  30. Is the sound of an engine only to do with Revs, capacity and number of cylinders?
    I’ve been impressed by a very low revving Babs albeit of enormous capacity, a supercharged ERA , and the Toleman Hart. Different engines but a great noise from each. Remembering the sound of a DFV being fired up for warm up at Silverstone still sends a chill down my spine. Funny how one car can sound so plaintive more so than a full grid.

  31. Bernie just chucks a pebble in the pool because the resulting ripples, which we all unerringly supply, massages ego.

  32. S1600 rally cars are tuned for low torque and grunt and don’t rev anywhere near 12krpm. Hence the meaty sound.
    Bikes always scream as they are such high revs.

    A 1.6 v6 turbo won’t be in the same league as the old v10’s or v8’s but at least the teams got an increase in the rpm limit to iirc 15k

    Do the rules state how many turbos can be fitted? The bit in interested in is if they are allowed multiple turbos is how the teams will react. Twin series turbo, twin parallel turbo, hell manufacturers are even bolting third turbos directly to the crank to scavenge every last drop of latent energy.

  33. @Jim

    All I have to go in front of me is the feed from IndyCar.com, which may be skewered somewhat to their own favour, but it is as yet the only number publicly given.
    Sports Media Watch have yet to release anything about the Iowa 250.

    http://www.indycar.com/news/show/55-izod-indycar-series/43723-iowa-corn-indy-250-ratings-up-35-percent-over-2010/

    Regardless, there is a still an upturn in numbers – albeit small – but one would have to be naive to expect a 300% increase overnight.
    Anyhoo…

  34. I should point out that the Iowa ratings are overnights and not finals, which are normally not released (if they are released) until Thursday.
    Versus have a habit of only releasing TV numbers if they’re on the up.

  35. The Kitchen Cynic.

    Having seen/heard the 24 Litre Napier Bentley racecar at Oulton Park last year,.a Merlin Engine would be great.

    Unfortunately i think Bernie would have something to say about the rather low rev limit around 2500RPM I believe

  36. bbc F1 website: “F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has been against the switch to the new engines from the current 2.4-litre normally aspirated V8s, claiming that they will make a less dramatic noise and therefore be less exciting to watch.”

    Er…..How do you watch a noise exactly?

    Andy

  37. I lowered my standards for a moment and went to read the story in question regarding the circuits “working together”.

    They (I cannot bring myself to name the website) have quoted Ron Walker saying “17 of the circuits gave me their proxies to tell them that. The only people that didn’t allow me to vote for them was Korea and China.” It doesn’t necessarily mean that the 17 circuits agree with Ron Walker but rather that they’ve allowed him to represent them and vote for all of them in WMSC matters.

    Oh and the very most importantly, why would 17 circuits line up to go to INDYCAR when there are already 18 races on their schedule and they’re already reluctant to go higher than 20. So what are the other 15 circuits going to do?

  38. I was at the Justin Wilson PLC AGM yesterday and asked justin if he knew anything about it, he hadn’t even heard it was a rumour much less a possibility. There would be no interest in most of the teams travelling as their core audience is in the States and with the new rulle changes for next year they have enough to cope with.

    Most drivers sponsors are aimed at American targets and would be alien to a Euopean audience.

    1. IainT,

      This is because the whole story was invented, dropped to Baby Bird and sent out to the world as being a fact. There was little thought behind it. And yet people treat it seriously…

  39. “IainT,

    This is because the whole story was invented, dropped to Baby Bird and sent out to the world as being a fact. There was little thought behind it. And yet people treat it seriously…”

    I know Joe, PitPass (I know I said I was’nt going back there, but couldn’t help myself, ha ha ) is still peddling the story big time.

    But it is funny that the likes of Autosport have not run anything about it.

  40. The FIA announced that the RPM for the F1 1.6 V6 Turbo has been raised to 16,000 RPM. Apparently Mr. Ecclestone’s marionette was heard?

    1. Chris,

      I do read this stuff. If I think it is garbage then I don’t write about it. This is garbage. If Bernie and his lawyers can find ways to sue the FIA, imagine what J Todt and his lawyers could come up with. All this is is another attempt by Mr E to make Todt look bad. That is his mission at the moment and I don’t think it is right, nor fair. However I see why he wants to do that as his business model rather depends on a friendly FIA President and Todt is more friendly to the idea of the sport than to making Mr E richer than he already is.

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