Tosh in the papers

The Independent really should know better. This morning it has a very dubious story based on a quote from Ron Walker, the Melbourne Grand Prix promoter saying that F1 race promoters will walk away from the sport because of the new engine noise.

Just because someone says something does not make it true. If, for example, Walker had said that there were pixies living in the trees in Albert Park, would the story have been printed or would someone have gone to check?

Is there any evidence to back up what Walker said? It is true that some fans don’t like the new engine noise, but some do and change always incites criticism because some people simply get stuck in the mud. The truth is that very quickly fans will get used to the new noise and no-one will even notice it in a few races from now. This is basic human nature.

We will only be able to judge whether fans are walking away from the sport a year from now when we can make direct comparisons between crowd numbers, although statistics can always tell lies. A year ago, for example, if it had suited his purpose at that moment, Walker could have complained that the screaming V8s hurt the ears of spectators and that was why his race day crowd figure had dropped from 114,900 in 2012 to the 103,000 last year. Unlikely perhaps, but at least there would have been a number to support such a remark.

F1 turbos are not new – the were dominant in the 1980s – and the 2014 cars are much more exciting to watch than their predecessors. So where is the evidence to back up Walker’s claim?

Some in the sport think that there is a pretty unsubtle campaign to try to destabilise the FIA over the new engines. One or two see Red Bull’s protest as part of the same campaign. Ron Walker is a bosom buddy of Bernie Ecclestone and the journalist who wrote the story is constantly proclaiming his close relationship with Ecclestone.

I don’t go for that theory. Such stories are chaff in the wind and Jean Todt and the car manufacturers are not going be bothered one way or the other. It would have been better if the federation and the teams had worked together in Melbourne and given the media a positive story about how efficient the new engines are and what amazing effects the technology will potentially have on road cars. This, allied to the fact that the cars are faster in a straight line and less stable in the corners (hence the slower lap times), would have created a win-win story. Instead there was a communications vacuum which allowed the negative to dominate. There is no excuse for that wasted opportunity. However, no-one is about to go back to gas-guzzling screaming V8s. That would invite well-deserved media crucifixion.

First of all, Walker knows that race promoters cannot walk away from contracts.There are clauses that mean that if a promoter does not want to continue he will still have to pay the fees for the full term of the contract. The government of Victoria (which pays these bills) is not going to be impressed if they get a bill and no race and, were that to happen, Walker would likely be pensioned off to Kangaroo Island, chased by screaming taxpayers. Another promoter somewhere in the world would step up and the Formula One group would relieve him of his wallet. The new “customer” would be happy and would not care whether the cars had a V6s or Wurlitzer Organs in the back. F1 is an event that offers great value for money for governments which don’t want to splash out on an Olympic Games or a Soccer World Cup. I doubt that Walker can produce a contract with a clause that specifies the decibels required for a racing car to be designated as an F1 machine. Formula 1 is what the FIA defines it to be.

In fact, these days that definition is arrived at by something called the F1 Strategy Group, an entity which has three equal players, each with the same voting rights: the Formula One group, the FIA and the F1 teams. If there is opposition to their decisions, it can be heard in the F1 Commission where sponsors, engine manufacturers, circuits and others have a limited say. And after that, if the FIA does not like the result, there is the World Council to block a change.

So, what is this story all about? Why has it appeared? The only possible conclusion, apart from the obvious ‘gullible newspaper meets hack selling a cheap headline for a few quid’ scenario is that there is some arcane power play going on. One might speculate that such a story is designed to frighten investors looking to buy Formula One from CVC Capital Partners. CVC wants out and have been rushing around telling other suited wunderkinds that they have a goose that lays golden eggs. New shareholders might conclude that the business would be worth more money with a bright shiny new management unencumbered by history. If these folk read in the newspaper that the goose’s leg is about to fall off, they may think twice about parting with (someone else’s) cash.

The author of the story seems to have missed this angle completely.

184 thoughts on “Tosh in the papers

  1. One word, “misdirection”. The only question is which direction do they want you to look away from……? Keep digging Joe!

  2. There is no way the author of Formula Money could miss an angle like that!
    If BE is the puppet master, then this individual is one of the puppets.

  3. Ahhhh The Indy. Only about a week behind The Guardian and others in reporting this bollocks. Good old Ron Walker, regular as clockwork.

  4. Interesting stuff as always Joe, just 1 question. Why do you think today’s turbo cars are more exciting to watch? Of course memory is always rose tinted and I was but a whipper snapper back then however I think the turbos of the past looked a lot more ‘on the edge’ and just downright dangerous. However if your contention is based on the fact that fewer turbo cars actually finished a race back then I’d have to concur 🙂

      1. I’m perfectly willing to follow f1 for free, but I refuse to pay a bajillion dollars for cable tv I don’t watch.
        So, you can’t watch, what you can’t watch, no matter how great to watch things may be. 😛

      2. I’ll meet you halfway Joe… Great for the eyes, boring for the ears 🙂

        I’m sure you have similar memories Joe… a friend and I share many happy memories of emotion-charged experiences… many a moment of an awe-prompted tear in the eye back in the days of screaming engines (70’s/80’s), but I doubt there are any such experiences from anyone listening to the flatness of today’s engines… unless of course there is photo/vid evidence of fans’s reactions to suggest otherwise?

        There will never be agreement as it such a subjective issue.

    1. I have heard contemprary drivers refer to the previous turbo era as little more than drag racing. With over 1000 bhp on tap and very little downforce the required driving style involved waiting for the car to be in a dead straight line, plant foot and launch down straight, brake early, trundle round corner, repeat.

      1. Not quite, if you google ‘Piquet overtake Senna Hungary’ you’ll see drift overtaking in F1 🙂 It was an amazing time

        1. Spot on Damian. Heaven forbid… real F1 motor racing action. Nowadays, there’d probably be a severe penalty for moves like that, on the grounds of dangerous driving!!

      2. I remember Berger once said, that you hit the apex, planted your foot to the floor, and by the time the turbo kicked in you were at the exit of the corner and you held on as over 1000hp kicked in!

      3. Don’t forget that the cars smelled like chemical factories.

        Nitro methane, toluene, oxygenates, some of which cost thousands of dollars per liter.

        1. Yeah it was great :-), at least the cars were OUTSIDE.

          Now it’s just isopropanol (rapid prototyping), resin systems, brake cleaner, acetone, and other carcinogenic chemicals… IN the team’s factories and race bays.

          1. “And were carcinogenic.” And your point is? There are carcinogens floating around every time you refuel your car at the filling station.

            1. My point is that they were seriously carcinogenic. Whilst it is true that the vapours that float sround the average petrol station are also carcinogenic, I’d suggest that the degree of toxicity was lower than for the fuels used int the 1980’s turbo cars.

              I remember that era fondly, and the engines were fascinating to the average motor racing obsessed engineering undergraduate of the era (like me).

              However, the fuels used were a result of a rule loophole, whereby the constituent elements of the fuel were specified by mass, but the chemical structure was not. This meant that the fuel chemists of the time brewed fuels to delay pre-detonation and to increase the fuel denstity.

              The resulting fuels were less relevant to anything outside F1 than a blown diffuser is to a Fiat Punto, whilst carrying a much higher risk to the health of pit crews than today’s F1 fuels. They were interesting, but an expensive dead end.

    1. Absolutely. Red Bull is in F1 to sell cans of drink. If it works the company stays. If it stops working Red Bull goes. It is no different from any other business.

        1. I took his comments as “ok,due to Renault, we’re not going to dominate any more. Plus Vettel might be off at some point, so we’re quitting. But we’re going to blame everybody but ourselves, so we keep face”

  5. Your comments are spot on. Me, I am absolutely floored by the technology of these engines. On the sound front, they’re just different. Not really a big deal. Now don’t get me started on double points…

  6. Well said.

    One has to wonder though if ancient men like Bernie and Ron Walker hate the new engines so much then F1 has done exactly the right thing!

  7. Mateshutz did Walker one better, threatening to leave F1. Sure.

    But really, these rows surrounding the sport do remain a fine attraction. It’s my reality show. What happens on track? Not.So.Much

    (CK, can’t you talk to someone and fix the mess?)

  8. I am a F1 fan and think that the whole noise thing is a big non issue – if the main aspect of an F1 race for you is the noise you are surely missing the point?
    The new technology is a great thing for F1 making the sport relevant to todays road cars, and reducing the massive resource going into ever more exotic aero designs which are irrelevant to everything and everyone except F1 (and in my opinion boring as well).
    The only shame is that the regulations are so restrictive. They tell the designers what to design instead of letting them have free rain which would surely produce some really innovative solutions which have not been thought of. The fuel flow and maximum fuel rules should be the only limiting factors

    1. Have you been to a recent F1 race (pre 2014)? If so you’d know what the noise added. I like the new engines, just not the noise they make, I’m hoping for a solution that satisfies everyone.

      1. Yes. And what it added is being unable to actually talk to the people I went to the race with because the engines were so deafening, you had no choice but to wear earplugs.

        If these new engines are silent enough I can watch without having to use earplugs, it’s better. And I won’t even mind that I can’t hear them from home any more when I don’t attend, 5km from the track..

  9. I think the new engine regulations stink, and I detest the sound of the new “power units”.
    That said, I think Joe’s analysis here is highly insightful, as usual. I don’t always agree, but Joe is the thinking-man’s F1 journo.

  10. From a viewers perspective, I remember the excitement of the “old” turbo engines being turned up to 11 for that one hot qualifying lap, puffs of smoke around the lap as the engine was on the edge, is it going to make it round the lap? Have they cranked it up too far? Ka-blamo sometimes, reaching too far. That’s how you learn!

  11. The irony of it all is that it actually appears that Walker is doing his damnedest to undermine his own Grand Prix. Who would want to go to any event that the promoter basically says that it sucks? Oh… Didn’t he step down? Sweet. Stir up a hornets nest and just let our successor deal with it. There are words for people like him and one is a combination, which has te initials of. A.H. Or in te more extreme case, which Walker qualifies for, F.A.H.

  12. Any new investor would want the existing management structure to remain, it’s Bernie who built this business and it revolves around him, although they would also want evidence of the new management and how it would handle the inevitable transition.

    Perhaps this article in the Independent is an attempt to undervalue F1 to attract investors? It’s also a dig at the FIA who are being even quieter than the engines on this matter.

      1. Joe, how about suggesting to CVC Capital that they retain your services as a consultant to help them sort themselves out?

          1. Joe,
            Count me in to write you a letter of recommendation to CVC to immediately retain your services to sort F1 out. Always thought you could do a good job of pulling this around for the fans.

            Shame is that they wont take the advice because it is not designed to squeeze the last drop of blood out of this stone and then sell for a large profit the remaining dust and the real estate it formally occupied and the mineral rights for the ground under it.

    1. I am not so sure about that. New owners typically get involved because they believe they can improve the performance of a business; greater efficiency to increase OI, different sales channels to improve revenue, partner synergies to diversify the portfolio etc.
      It’s all about increasing the value of the business.

      In my experience the incumbent management is given tent emotion incentives to handle a transition to the new team the investors believe will take them to greater heights.

      Sometimes the incumbents scare the pants off the new boys by teaching them quickly that they don’t understand the business and the market and they get to stay on……hard to imagine that here. BE is tainted badly of late.

  13. Certanly the complaints have some connection with Ecclestone.

    Walker, Horner and Csylt have All been known for ecchoing Ecclestones thoughts

  14. I couldn’t believe positive news about F1’s new era was hijacked last week by all the moaning about (lack of) noise. Massive PR fail. The most complex cars ever built, by brilliantly capable people, the hybrid angle, visibly a handful to drive — where were the stories, at least in mainstream press? Maybe I’m in the minority, but I will actually be more likely to attend a race (with family) if the cars are more quiet.

  15. A pole on another website showed these results. Not sure the number of votes, probably from TV viewers and not those who were at the track, but still interesting.
    The sound of the new F1 engines is…
    Good 40.56%
    Average 18.18%
    Very Good 14.69%
    Bad 13.99%
    Very Bad 9.09%
    No opinion 3%

  16. Sadly I have long lost faith in the Indy. Their reporting of anything which could be considered remotely controversial is appalling.

  17. Well, the only angle of interest to certain hacks is the correct angle for Uncle Bernard to shove the story down their gullets…

    There does seem to be a coordinated effort towards something, though. Not only Bernie and Ron Walker, but Flav chirping from the sidelines, and even Dietrich Mateschitz rumbling about taking his ball and going home if RBR isn’t allowed to win everything all the time… hopefully as the season picks up steam everyone will be distracted by the great racing and will no longer remember to grumble about the decibel level and the fact that the cars no longer take corners like they were on a Scalextric track.

  18. I did miss the screaming V-8’s in Australia and I suspect I will miss them live either in Montreal or Austin. That said, I am really giddy about the fact that the field is more competitive than last year. I read where Bernie said somewhere (true or not?) that they are working to change engine sound. Is this tosh, as you would say, or is it gaining momentum?

  19. Ah, Joe,

    you redeemed yourself entirely. I thought at first that you might have been
    exorcised by that “toff”, but glad that you can see through to the machinations
    and skullduggery.

    thanks
    mike

  20. I can’t take anything Walker says on this subject seriously as you know he’s just doing the bidding of Mr E, it may as well be Ecclestone himself saying it. If several other Grand Prix organizers start shouting about the noise then ok maybe he can say ‘I told you so’ but this is not a crisis until the spectator numbers start dropping through the floor.

    When people say this isn’t the sound of F1 anymore, well what exactly is the definitive sound of F1? Have the cars always screamed with ear shattering intensity through Eau Rouge since the beginning of Grand Prix racing? Surely the common factor throughout Formula 1 is not the noise but the pursuit of speed and pushing new technology to its absolute limits, which is why I hope real fans of F1 will still attend in their droves.

    Even if we kept the V8 formula going for the sake of noise, presumably Vettel and his Scalextric-like Red Bull would just carry on exactly where it left off, strangling the life out of the competition and making the WDC a foregone conclusion by mid-season. Was this what the organizers and spectators wanted to see again?

  21. “The truth is that very quickly fans will get used to the new noise and no-one will even notice it in a few races from now”…Blimey Joe, your ability to see into the future is amazing!…I wish I had your crystal ball.

    The lack of noise may not be a problem for the TV viewer, or the professionals that work within F1, but it is a problem for the fan that pays a few hundred quid to attend a race weekend – the loud noise of F1 was all part of the drama, the atmosphere and the excitement at the circuit…the idea of having to listen to cars that sound like washing machines on a spin-dry cycle is ridiculous.

    As the owner of RedBull [Dietrich Mateschitz] said himself…”I am somewhat frustrated by the FIA’s decision to take the sport into a greener, quieter era with the focus on more efficient V6 engines. Formula One should be again what it always has been: the ultimate discipline. It is not there to set new records in fuel consumption, or so you can talk at a whisper during a race and the greatest thrill is the squealing of the tyres. I consider it equally absurd that we are going a second slower than last year and that the junior series GP2 is almost as fast as formula one with a fraction of the budget.”

      1. I know of one person who won’t be making his annual pilgrimage to Silverstone…Me!…at least I’ll be £1,000 quid better off this year as that’s what it usually costs me all-in for two Gold grandstand tickets, food & drinks, parking and merchandise purchases.

        RIP old ‘noisy’ F1

        1. I’m the same Shane, was going to take the old man to Silverstone, not forking out for it now considering the noise for me was one of the main draws, especially the “wow” factor for new Grand Prix attendees. I’m not standing in the rain to catch a brief glimpse of a race car with a hoover soundtrack. I’ll stay at home and watch it.

          I think it’s important to note this noise thing doesn’t affect my love of the sport, just the idea of attending races.

          1. Agreed…I enjoy watching it on television and will continue to do so, but sadly there is no point in taking my family and friends to Silverstone anymore as the “wow factor” of the noise of the F1 cars has gone.

            My wife was never a fan of F1 (it used to annoy her that it would be ‘consuming’ 3 hours on a Sunday to something that she thought was “boring” where cars go “round and round” and where the same person always wins….but…one day I stumped up for a Gold ticket for her (Pits Straight ‘B’ grandstand)…and she absolutely loved the whole event. She was blown away by the noise (we were sat along the old start/finish straight level with the pole position place on the grid)….and she has attended most races over the last decade since.

            The ferocious noise at the start of the race when all cars are lined up on the grid is something you can’t explain to people – they have to experience it for themselves….and sadly, this has gone from the ‘F1 show’.

            1. It is not just noise. New spectators are impressed by the violence of the acceleration and the amazing power of the brakes. Often they talk about this more than the noise. I think that the teeth-rattling v8s drove people away as much as they attracted people, but that is just an opinion, like most comments on this matter, there is no real evidence to back it up. Surveys too often depend on the way the questions are asked…

              1. At the end of the day, ticket receipts for the race weekend at circuits will ultimately be the deciding factor of opinion in the long run…the power of good old ‘hard cash’ – and there are plenty of tickets still available at for the Silverstone GP this year (looking at their website online booking page) which must be a concern to them.

                1. The old Le Mans start with the drivers racing across the track and starting their cars, getting out in random order, was terrifically exciting, and curiously, the five minutes of silence before they were given the “off”, equally so. It’s loss on safety grounds – drivers doing up seat belts going down Mulsanne ! – was much regretted.

                  But since then, the sight and building sound of 55 top end racing cars in a pack approaching the grandstands and then crashing past is equally spine-tingling.

                  The fans will get used to the new regulations ….

              2. It was the capabilities of the cars that hooked me. I had never seen anything that could corner and change direction like that. It still amazes me.

            2. Your “family”?…if you took little children near a F1 track with the V8 145 dB(A) noise, than you are a irresponsible person. Sorry for telling that. This year, though, it wouldn´t be a problem.

          2. I’ll still be going to races this year – and hopefully I won’t have to wear earplugs! I also hope that quieter cars mean more opportunities for non-race events like street demos, and will reduce public opposition to test days in accessible locations. The closer the public (especially young fans) can get to the cars, the greater the interest in the sport. Surely that’s better for everyone?

        2. I’m of Joe’s generation and couldn’t be more excited. F1 has finally got back to the basics. Design rules that allow a wide variety of ideas, which gives us the dramatically different cars. Leading edge power plant technology. Emphasis on mechanical traction rather than aero down force; making the driver more relevant. This is the way F1 use to be.

          That excitement you feel from the noise just screams wasted energy to me.

          1. Brent, i agree with some of the points you raise such as ’emphasis on mechanical traction / less aero, ‘leading edge technology’ and putting more emphasis on driver skill and driver inputs – all of these are good things for F1….but…the cars are slower, heavier and more toxic (due to batteries).

            The new cars may consume less petrol (100kg) and have greater miles per gallon, but how much energy has been consumed in the manufacture of all these hybrid systems and electrical motors?…such energy-harvesting hybrid machinery was not needed with the V8’s and hence one could argue that the V8’s were more efficient overall despite the ‘screams of wasted energy’.

            And the new noses on the cars…….seriously, these new cars have faces which only a mother could love.

            1. F1 teams are basically research facilities and with that level of experimentation comes waste, agreed. But if the lessons they learn in efficiency can be applied to the mass market then you have your true savings.

            2. Shane, It’s the first race of a new set of rules. I’d bet they’ll be quicker around Silverstone than last year. In the future we will have four of the best racing engine companies in the world are competing to be the King of leading edge hybrid powertrain technology. All of the great aerodynamic and design minds will still be building the cars. How could they not get faster?

              One could indeed, argue that the V8’s were more efficient, but that again would be the scream of wasted energy.

              The beauty is in the performance. A fast car is always pretty. A pretty car isn’t always fast.

            3. “how much energy has been consumed in the manufacture of all these hybrid systems and electrical motors?”

              Not a great deal…about the same as was consumed last year in manufacturing the V8 + KERS systems. Puzzled as to why you think more energy has been consumed in the manufacturing process this year.

              “such energy-harvesting hybrid machinery was not needed with the V8′s and hence one could argue that the V8′s were more efficient overall despite the ‘screams of wasted energy’.”

              The Energy Recovery system isn’t ‘needed’ by the V6s either – they produce more power per litre than the old V8s did, producing a (slightly) lower peak power only because of their smaller capacity. The shortfall being more than made up by energy recovery. Again, not clear how one could conclude that the V8s were more efficient.

            4. It’s good that people are passionate about their hobbies, mine being motorsports. I don’t get how they shout and rave at each other on certain aspects of their interests. I agree with much/everything you say, but I don’t get why we all can’t have differing views without a lot of bile being flung around. I’m not saying you have, but others here seem to think that is is heresy to have a view on way or another, and that only their view is acceptable! OK, I don’t like the new car look, but F1 cars have been ugly to me since circa 1996. I don’t see the need for hybrid/green tech, because I want to see speed by entirely mechanical means and with an appropriate level and type of noise. The 1500 turbos were something else, almost a reincarnation of the pre WW2 Mercs & Audis, but in my view,soundwise, I would take a Cosworth V8, Boxer Ferrari 12, BRM V12 & Matra V12 soundtrack, anyday and everyday, rather than the 1600 hybrids. It’s not that the screamer V8’s of the last 8 yrs or so, were that likeable to me, but they were preferable to what we have now. To me F1 is so artificial and rule bound now that there isn’t any chance I would ever bother going to an event, aside from the absurd costs involved these days. I will still watch it on TV, for free, I won’t pay per view because my interest level in just F1 is going down. I’m grateful to Bernie that I now have 10 Sundays a year to do stuff that ordinary folk do and that I had pushed aside in my wanton need to watch F1. I spend a lot more time going to rallies and national club events now, and have rekindled my passions for a sport that everyone has been trying to micro manage into just one outlet, F1….it’s a section of motorsport, nothing more than that, and for racing, there are plenty of other sections that offer the enthusiast more bang for the buck. It’s true that attendances and tv viewing figures are going down for F1, and this is the bit everyone is missing. It is way too expensive to watch F1 at a circuit, on a cost/benefit analysis. It is also the case that Murdoch tv is not of interest to many now, having worked out that the subscriptions are not value for money at all. Sponsors have taken a hit over the last few years, and this appears to be now showing in F1 with empty spaces and a lack of title sponsorships being seen. But, the problem is that F1 is a virtual world bubble. The main players have become so fabulously rich that they cannot relate to the ordinary guy or girl now, the person who actually foots the bill. They think that there’s no reason to have people at the tracks as tv is the answer. But, the people at the track also buy the sponsors goods, as do these same people who watch the tv. Seeing empty stands drives the casual viewer away, if you notice, there is a deliberate effort by tv, to not pan the stands at footy matches and races, were the crowd volume is low. Anyway, what we have in F1 now, doesn’t ring my bell, but I don’t care as I think it will again, in future, and until then I will watch it if I have nothing better to do, but I won’t if it’s a nice day and I can go watch real racers, including friends of mine who spend their last £1 on building and running their own cars in motorsport, and who embody the spirit that Frank Williams had, although I’m not that sure Ron Dennis ever did!

      2. I can’t believe that any true F1 fan would abandon the sport because he engines are quieter, especially when the cars are moving around so much with more torque than grip and the drivers are clearly having to work much harder. Also, there are all those lovely new noises to work out, pops, bangs, whistles etc. Personally, I’l be quite pleased to be able to hear the commentary at Silverstone.

        I cannot also help but wonder if this new formula will allow F1 cars back to visit (for demonstration runs) those circuits (like Castle Combe for instance) hamstrung by noise restrictions.

        As for going a second slower than last year, that’ll soon be overcome as it always has been in the past when new ‘slow them down’ rules have appeared. Consiering the difficulties getting these cars on the track, I think a second a lap slower is a great achievement.

        Also, let’s face it, an utopian ‘no holds barred’ formula one would have long since outgrown any circuit and any safety regime.

        This is F1, everything changes and nothing changes all at the same time. I love it!!!

    1. With all due respect, the spectators actually going to tracks are small beer as far as F1 is concerned – if it hit the TV viewers that’s what would cause concern.

      I’m quite surprised at Bernie playing the card of spectator numbers – he hasn’t exactly given the impression that he cares about this with some of the races he has set up in recent years.

    2. A lot more bluster from Dietrich, you will notice that he talks about “sportmanship” a lot, yet refuses to force his team managers to play by the rules of the championship they chose to enter. I think he is simply trying to set himself up as a modern day Enzo type character and threaten to walk away from the sport if he doesn’t get his own way. The only problem being, losing Ferrari would damage F1 and losing Red Bull wouldn’t matter at all.
      P.S using Bahrain testing times the lap time gap between F1 and GP2 is around 6 seconds, a lot more to come from the F1 cars of course.

    3. Those ‘fans’ of yours having problems with the sound are going to absolutely LOVE the E thing when it gets started then.
      The bonus will be they don’t have to shell out for the spectacle when it arrives at a city centre near them.

    4. I empathize with you Shane but as I’ve mentioned before in Joe’s forum, even F1 panders to the Green fascists nowadays. There’s too much discipline (control) where is shouldn’t be and not enough where it should be… which strips F1 of uniqueness because it’s the same modus operandi in most industries.

  22. “The author of the story seems to have missed this angle completely.”

    Since I highly doubt any F1 story penned by this author is offered for publication without first being vetted at 6 Princes Gate, you can’t really believe you’re going to get the true story.

    Obfuscation is the goal.

  23. I’ll say it once and then try and shut up about the noise: I regularly go on you tube to listen to Pure sounds of racing cars, especially F1. I love the 20.000 rpm screaming sound of the past.

    I also listen to the diesel/silent Audi Le man cars testing at Monza and am still in doubt wether or not I’m impressed more by a loud car then an almost silent diesel rushing by.

    The diesel is perhaps more impressive because of it. But I’ll continue to go on you tube and will probably still prefer the sounds of the early 2000’s, in 10 years time. You tube also introduced me to the Braham 16 cyl sound etc.

    But (and this is my point): would I ever “threaten” to stop watching F1 because of the change in sound? Of course not, don’t be ridiculous. I’m in love with F1 (love&hate), but while enjoying the racing and the sliding of 2014, I’ll still sometimes have my moments of sentimentality when I go “Aah, I still remember the days when I heard a single F1 car howl around Spa at 20K rpm. I loved that sound!”.

    There’s nothing wrong with preferring one sound over another and at the same time I am VERY glad F1 made itself more relevant with these new engines! So I adapt/accept and do not act like a toddler threatening to leave every time something in F1 goes other then I would perhaps have preferred.

    But that’s the trend these days isn’t it? To assume every single person has a right to revoke their fanship over the silliest of annoyances. I’d rather have those people effectively left (which of course they never do).

    I’d much rather have topics on forums where people share pure sound clips of racing cars of any era and talk about it in a positive way, in stead of this whining “F1 has lost it’s soul” and other BS.

    So yes, I accept the new sound.. but please allow me to get sentimental sometimes about past sounds. 😉
    I’m sure I’ll also find things in the new sound that I like (the screeching tires after pitstops we get to hear suddenly, to name one)!

    speedy_bob (will try not to annoy Joe and won’t bring the sound topic up for at least 4 races)

      1. Thx. It seems a bit too much credit, but I’ll take any honest compliment a forum will offer anyway. 😉

  24. Here’s another angle: Bernie is promoting F1 by getting it in the papers, and he’s done a very good job.

  25. Interesting story. If promoters were so robust and galvanized, willing to walk away from F1 then surely they’d be paying less to host races, receive revenue from hospitality and track side advertising? If this story is to be believed then surely Bernie has to stay strong against the awesome strength of these mighty race promoters; if F1 capitulates now and gives in to these people who knows what they’ll demand in the future? Bernie, therefore, has no choice by to stand by the engine regs as they stand.

      1. I have to disagree, I grew up in Glastonbury (where abnormal is normal) and that set up seems to work completely fine. Now if I could only remember where I left my unicorn I will show you!

  26. Re-watched the race last night: there is certainly beauty in seeing an F1 car sliding on all fours in a high-speed corner, isn’t there? Made me remember that famous Berger slide in Monaco x years ago. Another thing to like about F1 2014! (If only those ugly noses could somehow be… 😉 )

    1. “Made me remember that famous Berger slide in Monaco x years ago.”

      Monaco this year is going to be something special, much more so than it’s been in many years.

  27. There is a great statement from Lauda on the comments of Walker, Ecclestone and the other fossilized thinkers. Ecclestone’s Minister of Media Propaganda is really working the crowd on this one.

  28. Boom ! Couldn’t agree more with the whole analysis. And about “The author of the story seems to have missed this angle completely” … well him and hundreds of other journalists and thousands of fans.

  29. Ah I remember the good old days when cars used to burst into flames and drivers and spectators were maimed and killed – THAT was drama. All this progress nonsense is tree hugging liberal propaganda. I will refuse to part with my cash until F1 returns to its pure racing heart and I get a casualty list from 70% of Grand Prix.

    /endsarcasm…

    1. Yes…the cars just haven’t been the same since John Cooper put the engine in wrong end of the car 😎

  30. In my professional life I’ve found that people are always scared of losing the indispensable man until they actually lose him, at that point someone has to step up and things continue, often in a better way, so I don’t fear for the sport when Bernie is retired.

    On the engine noise, it is what it is and it’s not changing anytime soon, probably not within the season, so all the bleating about it from senior figures is ultimately self defeating. One thing is for certain, the cars will be getting faster with each race.

    1. My father worked at Unilever in the 60’s, they said if anyone was indispensable you should get rid of the them straight away as they were not sharing their knowledge out…

  31. “Just because someone says something does not make it true.” Unless of course you are talking about Mansoor Ijaz and Quantum, then whatever he says is definitely true. True to the point of forcing you to verbally abuse commenters for pointing out the flaws in the statement.

    1. There was clear evidence that there was money, confirmed by multiple people directly involved. So, I am afraid that your disrespectful remark is wrong as well as being rude. Don’t bother to come back if this is the best you can do. I am sure you can find somewhere suitably snarky to hang out with like-minded trolls.

  32. Hilarious story Joe. Bernie gets his buddy Walker to propagate this notion as a noise issue, while the back story could be CVC related. Classic misdirection! Thanks.

  33. This could be the catalyst for a major change in financial organisation of the circuits vs TV. I think many fans feel that you can a better all-round picture of a race weekend from TV coverage at home, and it is possible that with the new formula that trend will continue. If this is the case circuit attendance with fall, and as ticket sales is their in income stream, they will have to find a new business model to make it viable. It may be a painful transition, but with a new management structure and a new deal for circuits, we could find a golden age approaching. (mmm… I sound like a naive optimist, even to myself)

    Went to Silverstone and Monza last year, going to Silverstone and Spa this year, am excited about making my own comparison, but my wife is looking for to not having to wear earplugs all weekend!

    1. Having only heard them on television I have to ask: are they really quiet enough that you don’t need ear protection?

  34. Business machinations or not being behind Walker’s comments, I think you under estimate the effect engine noise is going to have on the non-purist racing fans long term interest Joe.

  35. Have just had a look at the Indy article. It includes a video which sets out to compare 2013s noise with this year from a Melbourne grandstand seat.
    It is interesting to see that last year, a very high proportion of the crowd were wearing ear defenders, this year I could not see one.
    Which crowd actually heard the noise best?
    I am very happy with the current sound that can actually be listened to, and after a few races I think the majority of fans will come to agree.

    1. I was chatting to someone fairly high up in F1 yesterday who said that the new engines are a blessing in the paddock club where rich people with no real interest in racing meet to discuss deals. Now they can actually do business… Interesting reflection!

      1. So it’s popular with people who are not even there to watch the race? That’s not exactly an endorsement Joe!

        The thing is this noise thing is all a matter of opinion, no-one is right or wrong, different strokes for different folks. I guess it will just be a while before the impact, if any, is measurable. I just hope that the racing continues to excite, Vettel running away with it is far more of a drain on fan interest than any engine noise.

        1. Maybe not an endorsement for you, but these are the only people attending the race that matter to Bernie (he/CVC gets what they pay for being there), so if its good for them, its good for him Andrew.

      2. Not just the paddock club having a difference with lower sound, I suspect you will see more families show up in the stands to watch in the future. Moms were not going and especially not the kids, when permanent hearing loss was a possibility. Yes I know I begged my parents as a kid (70’s) to do the 20 mile drive to Silverstone for a GP weekend and they let me go…. but things were different then. That change in demographics will be a big deal to F1’s future! It cant be aging men forever.

  36. Bernie behaving like a spoilt child because he did not get his way for once and he can see his reign is coming to an end. The goose has a very limited number of eggs left, after which its sponsored feathers fall off.
    But it is all terrific smoke and mirrors, no one saw him leave for Germany. Keep shouting Ron while Bernie escapes!

    Bernie’s infallibility is now dented, as by failing to keep the old engines he has cost CVC money or at least given the teams a good reason to ask for more.

  37. Joe, I read a report in the US media that Mr. Todt is open to the idea of “louder engines”. Of course the reporter was all over this as a good thing. I believe it was just Mr. T. Being passive aggressive to get the question away from him. I mean, c’mon; JT was a team principal. He knows better than anyone that no team is going to “make their engines louder” unless there are performance gains to be had. Noise is wasted energy, and if they could “harvest” the noise, the cars would be even quieter. This has got to be a misdirection, maybe orchestrated in consort with BE? Not many stories lately coming from Germany, are there?

    1. Yeah, its easy for Todt to say that he is open to adressing the noise, provided the teams agree on it. Because its quite unlikely the teams will be able to agree on changing something for the noise, as every solution bar changing the positioning/type of microphones for the TV coverage is going to effect effectiveness of their car.

    1. @robin. Good point. Also, I, like a lot of others on this blog, I suspect, was part of the huge crowds that flocked to Brands (1986) & Silverstone (1987) to watch Mansell at his peak. The huge crowds at both events were delirious; on the edge of their seats – the atmosphere was electric. I will remember both experiences for as long as I live. Strange, I don’t remember anybody complaining that there wasn’t enough noise? That’s why all this stuff about the lack of noise is absolute tosh.

  38. Speaking as a probably-too-insular American, the comments here have taught me that “Indy” has an alternate meaning 😉

    Learn something new every day… (if it’s a good day…)

  39. My first F1 race was RoC at Brands 1975. I can still feel the noise of a grid load of Cosworth V8s and Ferrari flat 12s taking off. Totally hooked. They sounded like racing cars. Then heard the turbos at Silverstone in the eighties, they sounded like racing cars. Heard the Indycars at Rockingham and Brands, they sounded like racing cars. Heard the 2.4 V8s at Silverstone, they certainly sounded like racing cars, but so ‘kin loud it was painful. Heard the diesels at Le Mans, they didn’t sound like racing cars (it was like standing on a bridge on the motorway listening to the lorries). But I liked the noise on the telly so I’m going to Silverstone this year for the first time since 06. So it’s Ron Walker 0 F1 and Silverstone 1.

  40. All the complaining about the ‘noise’ is pure nonsense. I have great memories of spectating at Brands in 1986 and watching Senna in the iconic JPS Lotus Renault Turbo and the two Williams of Mansell/Piquet. I was simply blown away by the spectacle of it; the raw power, the speed and the supreme skill on show. Yes, the noise was far greater in 1989 when the regs changed however, 86 and 88 were simply magical. The fact that there was ‘less noise’ in 86 didn’t make any difference – I just felt privileged to be watching the ‘greats’ – Senna, Prost, Piquet, Mansell all in competitive machinery. Remember that famous photo (one of Keith Sutton’s I think?) of the 4 of them sitting together on the pitwall in 86? Whenever I see it, it brings all those memories back. I think the real reason why there are some complaints about the lack of noise now is that it detracts from all the other, more obvious issues there are with F1……

  41. Hello Joe,

    Always enjoy reading your blog. Much of your criticism of F1 sounds sensible to me. If you had the power to make one change in F1 what would it be?

  42. Ron Walker has kept the Australian GP in Melbourne by being Bernie’s glove puppet for the last 2 decades. Have you ever seen both of Mr Ecclestones’ hands at the same time Ron is talking? I rest my case!

  43. There’s a difference between fans “getting used to the new noise” and fans enjoying that aspect of the show less. Having the ungodly scream helps capture new fans who attend in person that don’t know anything about the sport – I’ve seen it many times when I’ve taken friends to their first F1 race. So, I think the main danger is diminished curb appeal for the uninitiated. Personally, I’m a bit less inclined to attend a race this year. Ill still watch every session.

  44. This question makes me sound like a technical dunce, but what exactly can they do to the engines simply to make them louder without otherwise changing the spec? Clearly they aren’t doing anything intentionally to make them less loud while they are trying to squeeze all the possible performance out of them.

    And how much louder do they realistically hope for?

    I won’t see/hear the cars in person until Austin. I honestly can’t tell from TV. i adjust the sound based on the human voices, so the TV folks can make them sound almost anyway they like by the way they mix the sounds.

  45. What is the point of all this? The engine manufacturers would hardly be pleased if, having invested tens of millions in these new power plants, they were told to scrap them and go back to last years model. It’s not going to happen.

    [Insert your own ‘Renault might’ joke here]

  46. Making depreciative comments about the engines sound at Melbourne again and again, it should be noted that the Master of V8 Blaster Mr. Ecclestone obviously was not present at the venue himself, which is pretty characteristic for the intellectual quality of the “sound debate”. Although, he could hear on TV what lousy job his TV crew did.

    And Matheschitz complaining about the sound is shooting himself in the foot as his home Grand Prix at Spielberg stands or falls with a certain noise allotment per anno which must not be exceeded….and you must add the niose of the DTM…

  47. Puppetry at a level that makes Gerry and Sylvia Anderson look like rank amateurs. What a waste of column inches

  48. Soccer world cup. No such thing.

    Football, on the other hand…

    Details matter. You proclaim this all the time w.r.t F1 but this eludes you when it comes to Football. Use the correct terminology.

    Federation International de Football Association.

    The word soccer is nowhere to be seen in the world governing bodies name. Please respect that.

    1. Please respect the fact that a large percentage of the readers of this blog think football is something else. So soccer makes it clear. If you don’t like that I suggest you read about F1 on the FIFA website.

    2. I agree with Mr Kellett that details do matter… so, perhaps he could help me understand who the “world governing bodies” (plural) are?

      Re: his observation that “the word soccer is nowhere to be seen in the world governing bodies [sic] name”, the same is true regarding the FIA and F1.

      BTW, FIFA oversees three sports, one of which is “beach soccer”.

      In fact, more than several sports have grown up in nations around the world that the locals call “football”. In light of this, I think the English were rather enlightened when they invented the word “soccer”, as it had 3 advantages: it’s a more economical term than the synonymous “association football”, it distinguishes it from rugby, and it doesn’t arrogantly claim the word “football” as the global term for just one of the many varieties of football.

      While we Americans still follow the good example of the English by using the very useful “soccer”, it seems that early in the 1900’s the Brits discarded their own superior word and surrendered to French hegemony. What’s next, UKians eating snails and adopting the Euro?

      😉

  49. I don’t miss the 2.4 V8s particularly, but I do miss the V10s. Also the 70s and 80s were fun with the variety of DFV V8s, Ferrari flat 12s, Matra V12s, Renault V6 1.5 turbos, TAG Porsche etc. The sound of the cars in the Australian GP didn’t bother me. I have tickets in grandstand 11 in Montreal as usual, and I’m sure I’ll enjoy it notwithstanding noise or lack of it. At the end of the day, F1 is a great spectacle generally for me, and I’ll always be a fan.

      1. Agree with you about noise not being a big issue particularly if the racing is as good as it was in Oz. But dont agree that the Independent is gullible. I like their F1 coverage because its neutral and doesnt drift into sensationsalism as some of the others do. Just clicked on the name of the guy who wrote the engines story and it looks like he has been writing for them for seven years or so so hes not fly by night and the Independent isnt new on the scene. Its not the Times but its not the Sunday Sport either which is the impression I got from what you said above!

          1. Just searched for his name on Google and the top link is to stuff with his name on it in the Guardian. Thats more credible than the Independent. The second link is to something called http://www.cityam.com which I’m not aquainted with but doesnt seem to be a rag. Third I get an archive to his stories on the Telegraph which is not a rag. Bottom of the first page is an interview with him on CNN. I was expecting to find the Star or the Sport but instead its what I would term posh reads.

            That may be down to Googles system but thats what we are stuck with nowadays. I KNOW its not as good as it used to be because if I type in the name and address of my local it gives me more than a million responses!!!

              1. Given that the Independent chooses its race reporting so wisely, it’s a little surprising they choose to spend their dwindling ready cash on agitprop from Bernie.

                (To say nothing of the Graun, the Telegraph, and all the others that do the same thing. Although I suppose if you had no connection of your own at Princes Gate, it would make sense to pay a fellow who seems as though he does.)

                  1. @joesaward I don’t follow. Whose comments? Readers cant help judge whether a story has accurate reporting. We need comments from authorities in F1 for that but we arent going to find them talking about the articles!! The newspapers are authorities themselves because they have reputations and are read by so many people. But when I did that Google search you suggested I couldn’t find this Syltes work in any rags only posh reads. I just looked anyway and there are no comments alongside his stuff in the Guardian which is the first thing you hit on Google. Same with CNN. The Telegraph link on the first page has some but they are all talking about the Eccleston court case so how does that help? I could do with a confused smily here 🙂

                    @Ash I stick to the Independent for F1 because it doesnt make wild swings of opinion. There is strong opinion in the engines news but its from Walker not in their own explanation. I saw it on the back page which is the sports section (desk?) and the only names of writers I have ever seen writing about F1 there are David Tremane, Christian Sylte and Kevin Garside. I clicked on their names when I did the Google search and the first two have had articles in the paper stretching back more than seven years. Garside is newer I think and he seems to right about golf too but they are all in the sports pages so what does different desks mean?

                    1. All I am trying to do is to offer guidance of who to trust. If you don’t want to accept that guidance then that is your choice. I believe that to be a successful F1 journalist in the modern age, you need very good connections in the industry. The only way that you can get the trust to get to that position is to go to as many races as possible and prove to the people in the know that you are a proper journalist. If you try to build relationships by phone, it just does not work because the chances of you getting through to the people you need is close to zero. There are a core of F1 journalists who have built up networks and there are an awful lot of people who try to con the world that they have these kind of connections. They are frauds. David Tremayne (note the spelling) and I have both been to every race for 26 years. Kevin Garside is a very good journalist who used to be a fulltime F1 reporter until about five years ago. In recent times he has done only a few. The other person you mention is not seen at F1 races and never has been. I remember one occasion about 10 years ago when he may have been in a paddock. He does not get passes.

                      Now I am not saying that amateurs cannot get access to Company House data and write stories about what they find, but it needs a good accountant to translate these snapshots into realities. The only other way that one can get access is if someone decides to supply you with information. And why would anyone in F1 do that if you have no credentials? The only answer I can think of is to manipulate you.

                    2. Rick,

                      To ascertain the quality of the journalism being produced, it’s useful to gain some insight into the sources that inform the journalist writing the prose.

                      Long time readers of this blog (and other F1 sites) are aware that Mr Sylt appears to enjoy a very close relationship with Bernie Ecclestone, to the exclusion of all others (barring acolytes of Bernie). This is reflected in his articles, which tend to provide direct quotes Ecclestone, and those who follow what might be termed ‘the party line’; Horner, Ron Walker, etc.

                      He rarely provides a direct quotes or insights from other people within the F1 world as he seems to lack the contacts, and much of the rest of his reporting seems to be based around reading documents filed at Companies House.

                      When he’s not hawking stories around newspapers cheap enough to buy them, he also contributes to an F1 website (I will not dignify it by providing the address here), where is ‘journalism’ takes on an even more partisan stance. He also has a history of making assertions about things that will definitely happen (i.e. ‘the float of F1 will not be held up by Bernie’s German difficulties’), which seem laughable when you look back on them.

                      I hope this helps to explain the widespread skepticism you will encounter here about his reporting.

                  2. I still don’t understand what you mean by reading the comments. The Syle guy has clearly got connections as he has spoken to Walker but that’s where accuracy comes in. What if the quotes from Walker aren’t accurate? What if they were said about something different (like V6 road cars)? Now to be clear Im not dissing Sylte or the Independent what Im saying is that when Im faced with quotes from someone in a paper my top worry is whether they were really. Thats where the credibility of the publication comes in.

                    Joe you have got your feet on the ground in an F1 padock so I trust you but how do I know if quotes in a paper are credible? The way to do it is first check how long the writer has been there because he could be a flash in the pan. But the real big one is to filter out the trashy papers!! Thats why I like the Independent. Its not sensationalist but not too highbrow. The more credible the paper the more readers they have got anyway so the more people there are all over the country who read them.

                    This is what I dont understand because Sylte and Treymane have been at the Independent for years and Ive now seen on Google that Garside used to be at the Telegraph which is a posh read so will have high standards. They all plug each others work and they are all writing in the sports pages so I dont know what all this talk about different desks and comments means. As I said I could do with a ‘confused’ smily here!!

                    I dont buy any talk that the Independent doesnt vet or stand by anyone who has been writing for them for seven years like these guys have and the same goes for the Telegraph which also takes Syltes stuff as I saw when I did that Google search you suggested. Anyway, why are you giving his work publicity here if you’re saying he isn’t worth it? Another confused smily here please 🙂

                    1. I am afraid that your last paragraph sums up a touching innocence. Would that we lived in a world where newspapers cared…

  50. Dear Joe,

    There are a lot of separate points to be discussed in your latest piece, all of them being relevant elements with regard to the (short and long term) future of F1.

    Why is Ron Walker banging the “F1 noise” drum, that is for you to tell us…

    As far as “the federation and the teams (working) together in Melbourne and (giving) the media a positive story about how efficient the new engines are and what amazing effects the technology will potentially have on road cars.” I think Carl Sagan’s oeuvre is closer to materialization than this hypothesis.

    But regarding the late-generation turbos being really more exciting to watch than their predecessors? You wrote it yourself: “one HP per cubic centimeter”. How daunting is that prospect?

    Most importantly, this is now a moot point. How smart and sustainable is it to promote a “sport” which is based on waste?

    Do not get me wrong. I grew up on petrol. I drove motorbikes from age 5 and raced as a hobby many years. My father owned car dealerships and I was at liberty to drive pretty much anything I wanted during my youth and adult life. I could walk into a gorgeous garage and create a customized ride any way I pleased.

    Truth is, I’ve been driving a hybrid for the last decade. Would I rather drive something with screaming V12 underneath the bonnet? Of course! Would I truly feel comfortable doing it? Nope. It would feel rather cheesy…

    Formula One has, for better or worse, entered a new era where it needs to remain relevant but also respectable. Long gone are the days where drivers died and the season went on with no regulation changes or safety improvements. This is no longer acceptable. Well the same should apply to energy waste. Burning tons of fossil fuel for entertainment will soon appear unacceptable as well.

    Furthermore, we all know that F1 cars’ consumption is but a small portion of what the F1 circus actually generates in terms of greenhouse gases. Helicopters for TV, VIP’s, private jets, chartered jumbo cargo jets… etc, etc.

    It seems it might be preferable for F1 to make a voluntary move towards the future than to see said future disappear altogether. I am therefore rather glad to read of your support for the new technologies involved in F1.

    Cheers,

    Mario

  51. With regard to the noise of the new V6’s, firstly in my opinion they sound nice and deep and throaty, and I was pleasantly surprised. Secondly, from watching the Australian GP coverage on the television, I was able to hear all new sounds which had previously been the reserve of those watching trackside – screeching tyres under heavy braking, wheel spin leaving the pits, the roar of the crowd (especially when Ricciardo set his Q3 time) . To me, as a TV observer, it was MUCH more atmospheric and exciting. Let’s leave the screaming V12, V10 and V8’s for happy rose tinted memories. F1 has evolved, as it always has. Embrace and enjoy it!!

    1. I agree completely: the soundscape of the Melbourne event was so much more textured and interesting than just a bunch of screaming engines.

  52. Are there any hints in the ether about what advantage, if any, RB and Ferrari got for signing up first to the new F1. I never heard.

  53. Whilst a little more engine noise would be welcomed I personally am enjoying hearing the tire squeal and the futuristic whoosh sounds emanating from the new breed of F1 cars. Plus let us not forget the F1 is now technically relevant to the automobile industry again which can only be good for future Manufacturer involvement and for quality of the the cars we drive everyday.

  54. So, hearing tire squeal is a good reason to attend an F1 event, but hearing loud engine noise is not? Sure am glad that I won’t be forking out $2000 to hear tire squeals.
    And to think that all these years I’ve been watching RACING to see great on- track action and experience sensory excitement. ( most of what went on in Australia, will be dialed out of the cars by mid-season.)
    I should have been watching RACING for the benefit of my fellow man, and his ability to drive a new breed of car.
    ( still scratching my head on that one)

  55. Which Joe is why I don’t read anything about F1 in the papers, I barely read paper’s. Your reports tell us what you have found out and are reporting, usually without fear or favour.

  56. I almost always agree with everything Joe writes and we all know his blog is the best out there! I do happen to disagree with the apologists of the noise is ok or even better camp. Listen people lets get real about this.
    The notion that F1 is somehow ‘green’ is absolute nonsense. How much fuel is used and carbon emissions in doing so to transport this show across the globe? What about the resources and expense of fielding two cars for just 20 odd races? it is absolute rubbish to suggest that the new regulations make this any more green than before. What has been lost though is a MAJOR part of the the on track spectacle and mystique. The USP if you like, intrinsic value has now gone. F1 is a show, full stop. It has no resemblance to road cars or green credentials. It’s fantasy motoring and entertainment of gladiators racing around the circuit a million miles an hour with loud, expensive unobtainable automobiles. This idea that it must survive into the future by changing the ‘sex appeal’ is nonsense. if anything the core values of the on track spectacle should be preserved. Case in point? Remember ‘New Coke’ a multi billion dollar failure. sure the brown stuff is full of sugar and bad for you, no doubt but it is what it is and people love it, just the same as F1. It serves no useful purpose other than fizz and good times. Get with the program.

  57. listen people lets get real about this.
    The notion that F1 is somehow ‘green’ is absolute nonsense. How much fuel is used and carbon emissions in doing so to transport this show across the globe? What about the resources and expense of fielding two cars for just 20 odd races? it is absolute rubbish to suggest that the new reg make this any more green than before. What has been lost though is a MAJOR part of the the on track spectacle and mystique. The USP if you like, intrinsic value has now gone. F1 is a show, full stop. It has no resemblance to road cars or green credentials. It’s fantasy motoring and entertainment of gladiators. This idea that it mus survive into the future by changing the ‘sex appeal’ is nonsense. if anything the core values of on track spectacle should be preserved. Case in point? Remember ‘New Coke’ a multi billion dollar failure. sure the brown stuff is full of sugar and bad for you, no doubt but it is what it is and people love it, just the same as F1. It serves no useful purpose other than fizz and good times. Get with the program.

  58. Arrogantly presumptuous at times – after all, one race weekend is hardly enough to issue blanket statments concering the 2014 season – but otherwise a very article from what I consider the “opposition”.

    That said I refer you to several past seasons of F1 in the past decade that produced epic storylines and close battles for the the title! 2014 so far hasn’t impressed me at all except it’s nice hearing the word “Pirelli” even two seconds. F1/FIA introduced the DRS and it’s been WWF ever since but now more than ever. From a lifelong, money spending superfan to someone who hopes for change and voices for change while maintaining the core of what makes F1 F1 and the true pinnacle of motorsport – and that includes the audio (note to author Q: : has there ever been a F1 car you couldn’t hear the gear changes? A: no)!!! to becoming someone who now has seen F1 grow to mediocrity and a sport that is arrogant it literally choses to brush aside it’s established audience! Now I really think I’m only watching to try and see the appeal… Like seeing a car wreck -i want to look away but can’t help myself.

    -deeply unimpressed with 2014 reg’s and why isn’t snyone talking about how much extra all this costs????

  59. I may be late to this conversation but the quiet engines have put me off coming back next year. I spoke to plenty of people in the stands during the Melbourne GP and not one was impressed with the new engines sounds. The V8 and Porsches sound louder and much better. Who wants to go watch a practice session when the cars rev to 12,000rpm max and you can’t even hear them coming?

    It was telling that when the 2011 Red Bull came out for a speed comparison, everyone rushed towards the barriers to see what was making such a noise.

    All I’ve seen everywhere is F1 apologist websites claiming that the new noise isn’t that bad and everyone should just get over it. They say the cars are more twitchy and difficult to handle thus provide more entertainment than the old engines. It won’t be long until the F1 boffins have these things on rails again.

    Fact of the matter is these are by far the ugliest and most dull sounding F1 cars in the history of the sport. F1 websites all have vested interests to keep eyes glued to the sport. They can’t see the wood from the trees.

    1. It is true indeed “that F1 websites all have vested interests to keep eyes glued to the sport”… but they’re not the only ones. I have an interest in keeping my eyes glued to the sport… it’s due to my love/hate relationship with it. I hate the things about it that are downright idiotic, and I love the things that are special and worthwhile.

      I won’t waste time right now going on about the things that are idiotic… but I will say how glad I am to see racing where the drivers once again have to cope with lots of power and limited grip, just like God (and Mario Andretti) thinks it should be…

  60. I think the noise is important but it is part of a bunch of things that get people interested. One of those things is being in awe of the cars and drivers, the noise from the cars certainly plays into this, it makes them seem monstrous, something that you wouldn’t be able to drive yourself, like watching Senna onboard at Monaco, you just see you couldn’t do that. So the new noise doesn’t help as it doesn’t sound intimidating at all. However they do appear harder to drive with the increased torque which makes them more exciting to watch and challenging for the drivers to drive. It sounds like the engines just don’t have enough revs, I know this would cost more (but clearly this wasn’t on the agenda when introducing a new engine format).

    Overall I don’t think the formula is better, it’s shaken things up (good) but the V8 or V10s (and V12s!) were much more of a spectacle which got people excited about it. It does have potential, increase the noise (and ditch the noses) and we’d be doing better 🙂

    Oh and one last thing, isn’t there something like this every year with the Oz GP threatening to pull out?

  61. Joe, what’s your take on Vettel moaning about the sounds of the engines? Has Bernie got to him? Or is he already starting to build some excuses if his performance drops off? Or is Renault trying to push the formula back to the old ways (v8)?

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