Three years and many millions of pounds to create the most efficient and advanced power units ever in F1 by some margin, with a side benefit being they’re much quieter too. Good news for all who work in F1 and value their hearing. But no, it’s too quiet so let’s go and stick a trumpet on the end. You couldn’t make it up.
you may be overly angst ridden about this, they gave it a try it didn’t work it will be gone, it wasn’t the finished article either. I think its just a proof of concept unit. it probably cost them pennies (relatively)
Excellent and sums up perfectly the stupid fuss about the noise. If there are people who wish to here proper noises, then let them go to historic meetings and listen to a 3-litre flat-12 Ferrari running at about 12,000 revs, or better still a V-16 BRM, the best noise ever.
Outside the few who want to be deafened by engines as a sign they are enjoying paying over the odds for the pleasure, the rest of the world is embracing quieter engines.
I think it is a a good thing for motor sport as it means more track days, as local councils are cracking down on the days tracks can run.
Of course, certain people would rather us moaning at this nonsense than look more closely at what they are doing…
According to Rosberg it didn’t make any real difference, but that’s just because it isn’t big enough. Once they get it up to about three foot diameter it will solve the problem. It will need to be a tuned length, but any suggestion of looking incongruous can be overcome by putting a 360 in there.
As it was deemed by all at the track as a failure to amp up the sound I will refer everyone to my comment earlier in the week prior to testing that it was a doomed concept. Although you can intensify the sound on one axis with a megaphone it is reduced elsewhere. Mercedes acoustic consultants had to know this. I suspect this was all an exercise to help F1 quietly forget about this non issue. We tried…. It is what it is, now on to Monoco.
(link grabbed from Wikipedia quickly, my German ability seems to be trace only right now, but you need none for their embedded audio of revving one from ignition. If you don’t click through, no, no exhaust valve tuning, just nasty nasty lovely power)
I agree Francois… this was not a serious attempt. It was more a PR stunt to show an apparent good will to the fans… The first thing that every young boy racer learns is that you cannot improve the sound of a car by adding an enlarged tip to a standard exhaust pipe… I believe this kind of modification falls under the category described as “Ricer”…
I think all teams should implement this type of system. If in fact they do enhance the sound or not is entirely irrelivent. What it does impart is something that is severely lacking in F1; a sense of humor. Different teams could experiment with different “bells”. Renault would obviously go with a “French Horn”, while Ferraris would be sporting the “Trombone”. Mercedes has obviously elected to go with the “Trumpet” while perhaps McLaren might go with a variation of such and go with a “Dizzy Gillespie” style variation. Williams may very well experiment with the “Coronet”. After all of this is underway, the next step will be to making the engines sound like their perspective horns. Imagine the excitement created as Alonso and Raikonen accelerate under full throttle in the tunnel in Monte Carlo, with their Ferrari’s trombones sounding like elephants in a 170mph stampede!!!! Or perhaps Hamilton and Rosberg tearing through Eu Rouge like a couple of jazz trumpeters jamming at Montmartre Jaz Hus in Copenhagen twenty years ago! The Renault powered Red Bulls are said to be having a bit of difficulty as Vettel looking for a solution to the French Horn exhaust was in the pits, first with his arm in the bell and when that didn’t work he stuck his head up his bell and became stuck. The current rumor has the new Honda engine going with a tuba, yet it is also stated that Mercedes is looking into a tuba style bell for te German GP, as they want an umpa band sound to strike a nationalistic furver in the home crowd. The current crowd complaints is that as of today the cars sound like double reed wood winds, such as an oboe or a bassoon and the crowds are harping for something more brassy.
People would be praising their ingenuity if it significantly increased the decibles. Apparently (at least according to a quote attributed to Nico Rosberg) it doesn’t so can we move on? I’m pretty used to the sound and I think the sport has bigger fish to fry.
Making it louder looses efficiency. Lets guess at the wattage output of the sound of an old engine at say 2000Watts that’s a bit over 2.6 horsepower lost.
Has anybody any sound pressure readings to offer ? If this is to be tackled in any sort of organised manner we need verified decibel readings at known distances from the old engines and the new, the difference in the amount of energy wasted in noise can then be calculated. When a figure is known it can be put to the teams as a question, “Do you want to drop this much power so that the engine sounds louder?”
Of course the different airflow at the rear will disperse the sound differently in any case, it is virtually straight back now, as opposed to shoved towards the floor and thoroughly scrambled before.
Merely sticking a cone on the end and seeing if it makes any difference is akin to a Scrapheap Challenge methodology!
Try as I may I cannot think of any witty way of working St James Infirmary Blues into the horn allusions above, nor the contents of High Society, one of Luis’s best films.
“Making it louder looses efficiency. Lets guess at the wattage output of the sound of an old engine at say 2000Watts that’s a bit over 2.6 horsepower lost.”
No, it does not work that way. All of these “quiet” engines have really hot exhaust pipes, pumping out energy-full exhaust gases. After the turbo has extracted energy, the waste gas still has lots of energy — enough to make noise through a trumpet. If you don’t believe me, put your hand on an F1 car exhaust pipes. It is not my fault when you get burned.
For the naturally aspirated engines last year, energy was consumed on the one third principle: one third to go fast, one third spent to the coolers, one third down the exhaust. Modern engines are more efficient than that, but the principle applies. Plus KERS was bolted on.
This years engines or power units are something different. They are pushing thermodynamic efficiency to 40% plus a bit. I quite like these quiet engines, and when I don’t like them I am amazed.
I’m sure this was designed on a high end CAD system and lovingly fabricated out of carbon fibre composite by a highly skilled technician but in my younger (and poorer) days I did many a running repair to a blowing exhaust with a handful of pop rivets and a patch/tube cut out of the side of an old Castol oil can – I can’t help thinking they could have asked me and saved a lot of money! All that’s missing is the Jubilee clip to hold the thing together …
I have a lot of experience in the music world dealing with sound engineers. Very often the ones who would insist to me that the music was too quiet were also the ones who were actually suffering gradual loss of hearing because they were always listening to loud music (some of them in their late 20s). I wonder whether the people that are complaining about the lack of noise really can’t hear these cars as well for a similar reason?
Sometimes quieter music can have much more emotional impact than loud.
Raw engine power which is understated can have that effect too.
I agree with this comment nick, however my beef is not with the volume of the noise, but the quality. Low revs and single exhaust make it sound like a superbike engine. Very flat and it doesn’t sing or sound particularly aggressive. Even modern Ferraris are relatively quiet but when revved sound amazing…
I can’t make any judgement about the actual sound of an F1 car until I hear one (Silverstone & Spa this year) – I’m just frustrated about overhearing people commenting who’ve heard them briefly on TV and have not been near a race-track.
Last time I took a “newbie” to see the testing at Silverstone a few years back, she spent most of the morning with her fingers in her ears complaining about the ear-splitting sound. Another friend couldn’t stand more than an hour of testing before we returned home; him with a migraine…
So if these things mean I won’t have to worry about my hearing, and I’ll even be able to hear what the commentator is saying, I’m all for it.
This is where people who like the new PU’s are getting it wrong. Those who like some noise like me, are not saying that it is great to have your ears bleeding, what we are saying is that we like differing noises and differing noise quality, from our racing cars. We like to hear V8s, V10s V12s etc, the old 1980’s turbos sounded different to the new ones, but better still the provided spectacle that the new ones do not. That was why we didn’t mind the turbo sound of that time, so much as of this time. It’s not about how much noise, it’s all abbout the type of noise!
Go to an airshow. An F-15 at full throttle (or a Spitfire for goodness sake!) sounds fantastic, the sound and FEELING the sound is part of the experience. Now a silent jet fighter would be real technological achievement, and would be a more effective machine too. But not as interesting to see.
My strongest memories of the Reno Air Races are the sounds, then the smells. Near silent race cars are missing something important.
Two years ago I was waiting for a classic saloon car race to start at Donington Park when a DC-3 approached for landing at East Midlands Airport. The DC-3 isn’t very loud (at that height) but its drone is sufficient to make you look at the sky. When the pack of Falcons, Mustangs, Cortinas, Minis et al was in front of my face, I couldn’t hear the DC-3. But after they passed, the sound of that DC-3 returned.
Once the pack separated, I could pick up the individual notes of different engines from the saloons. And until the DC-3 landed, it was part of the race.
Noise volume is an incomplete experience. When a field of F5000 or Can Am cars passes you, it is ridiculously noisy. All the same, you can identify sounds from an engine that differs from a Chevrolet V8, and pops and bangs signify cars that might have problems.
F1 cars last season did not provide that differentiation — excepting perhaps Red Bull’s blown exhaust. Sadly the new cars are forced to have almost identical IC engines but even from TV coverage you can hear them working differently. Quieter but different.
What about an amplifier and loudspeaker setup that plays screamy sounds and is linked in real time to the amount of throttle opening. Race control would have control of the volume so they could adjust if Charlie’s spotters notice elements of the crowd falling asleep. Gosh, then we could add in Bernie’s random track sprinklers, double points at all the races, quadruple points at Abu Dhabi of course. Then we could ban all media from the grid (they take up precious space) and pay models, singers, actors, business leaders, potentates and politicians to fill the space recently vacated by media.
Oh and while we are at it, how about a 10 place grid penalty if any driver is found saying anything disrespectful about the rules, the sport in general, the FIA or the Commercial Rights Holder or his extended family?
As 90% of the viewers watch on TV where the sound is talked over 99% of the time by the commentary team does it make any difference? Yes I do go to races but I am in the minority in terms of global audience.
Joe, do you think you could pass on the message to the F1 higher echelons, that a great deal of the viewing public, viewers of advertising, are non too concerned with the, lack of, noise. Indeed not one of my F1 following friends has complained about the noise, actually we are very happy that next time we go to a live race my little brothers ears won’t bleed and we can have a chat about what’s happening without ripping our vocal chords apart. It seems the only people moaning about this are Bernie and his sycophants and the struggling teams.
Doesn’t anyone remember all those British single cylinder bikes of the 1950’s. Almost all ran with megaphones and were ear splittingly loud even warming up in the paddock! I think the experiment could have worked with more development but why bother?
James, it’s far better. It’s somewhat louder than the telly but it adds a variety of related and sounds as the cars approach and leave corners. Watching from the hairpin preceding the pit straight in Sepang recently, one was fairly close to the shortish straight between turns 8 and 9. The FIA track guide says they reach 285 km/h in 6th gear towards the end of it and I must say, at high revs there was a reasonable harmonic audible.
On a broader note (no pun intended), I always found the 19,000 rpm screamers to be as subtle, and as agreeable, as a right cross from Mike Tyson. I recently attended an event in Adelaide in which, amongst other things, a Beatrice Lola, a March 741, a Williams FW07, a Lotus 12 and a Lago Talbot 26C raced on a cut down version of the Grand Prix track. I’m unaware of any complaints of the (lack of) decibels when these cars were current. There were certainly none on the day.
When I was a kid we poked a piece of cardboard through the spokes of the back wheel of our bikes and held it in place with a clothes peg. When the wheel went round it went brrrrrrrrrr. Problem solved, cheap too. Really, there is no problem