Vettel’s next victory will sound very different as F1’s new V6 turbo era dawns

Renault F1 Turbo engine unboxed

Renault F1 Turbo engine uncovered

Sebastian Vettel urged his Red Bull team to “enjoy this moment” as they celebrated his record ninth win in a row. The quadruple World Champion knew what he was talking about.

Formula 1 will look and sound very different when the 26-year-old German returns from his well-earned winter break in search of a 10th successive win and fifth consecutive Championship.

The glamour sport has seen many eras declared over and Sunday’s season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix was another such moment, even if Vettel is at the peak of his powers, with many years of racing ahead of him.

The 2.4 litre normally aspirated V8 engine has departed the scene, Red Bull’s joyfully revved into oblivion by Renault in the garage after the race, to be replaced by a 1.6 litre turbocharged V6 with energy recovery systems.

So radical is the change that the engine itself has become an outdated concept. In 2014, cars will be equipped with a ‘power unit’ with fuel economy and hybrid systems much more to the fore.

Renault and Red Bull have enjoyed a hugely successful partnership during the V8 engine era

Renault and Red Bull have enjoyed a hugely successful partnership during the V8 engine era

Who of the three remaining manufacturers – Renault, Mercedes and Ferrari following the departure of Cosworth and pending the arrival in 2015 of Honda – will have the best, is anyone’s guess at present.

“It’s a massive regulation change for next year and of course it’s the end of an era with the current car and beginning of a new era that pretty much starts tomorrow,” said Red Bull principal Christian Horner on Sunday evening.

As of Monday, Vettel has a new team mate in Australian Daniel Ricciardo moving up from Toro Rosso to replace departed compatriot Mark Webber but the same old urge to succeed remains as strong as ever.

“It’s almost like a drug,” said Horner. “It becomes addictive and you always want to do better, you’re always looking inwardly, you’re always trying to push harder.

“[Designer] Adrian [Newey] hasn’t attended this race, he’s been back with the factory, with all the guys and is pushing so hard for next year.”

Adrian Newey did not attend Brazil as he is hard at work on the RB10 for 2014

Adrian Newey did not attend Brazil as he is hard at work on the RB10 for 2014

One of the reasons why Vettel has enjoyed his most dominant season so much, with tyre-smoking ‘donuts’ for the crowd after his last few wins, is the knowledge that one day, sooner or later, it must stop.

Mercedes, second overall and with huge resources on the engine side, Ferrari and Lotus all won races this year and the first two at least will be throwing everything at 2014.

The only driver ever to win nine races in a row in a single season, the man who has equalled Michael Schumacher’s 2004 record of 13 victories in a year, Vettel takes nothing for granted.

“You never know what’s going to happen, next year is an unknown,” he had said after winning the penultimate race of the season in Texas.

“I’m sure we will push very, very hard and I’m sure we will fight a lot to maintain our position but there’s no guarantee that next year will be like this year.

Mercedes F1 turbo engine

Mercedes F1 turbo engine

“With the new regulations coming in, I think nobody really knows where he will stand. You will have the big teams in front but the question is who…”

Early reports have indicated that the cars will look different, with ‘droopy’ noses, and also sound quite unlike the screaming V8s introduced in 2006 when the V10 era ended. Just how different remains to be seen, with the only audio released so far being of engines in factory environments rather than out on the racetrack.

“We’re used to this linear rise of noise with rpm, whereas next year you’re going to have one motor doing 125,000 rpm, another electric motor doing 9,000 rpm, you’ve got the engine itself doing 10-15,000 rpm, turbos that are doing 100,000 rpm,” McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh told reporters last month.

“So you’ve got all sorts of noises coming and going and changing….it’ll be quite a strange cacophony of sounds and noises coming out of these cars next year, but in a way that increasingly we are seeing on road cars.”

Damon Hill, who won his 1996 championship at the wheel of a Williams with a 3.0 litre Renault V10 in the back, looks forward to it.

“It’s all about change, F1 moving forward,” said the Sky television commentator on Sunday. “I’m looking forward to hearing what the turbos will sound like. I think with the turbos we’re going to get a much deeper, satisfying growl.” (Reuters)

Subbed by AJN.

  • iceman 2.0

    Whatever is the sound and music we don’t really care … we fans only want that this Redbull juggernaut comes to an end or at least they are challenged seriously and the cars performing to their utmost limits.

  • Urko

    @ice, u’re forgetting there’s also Vettel. And among other drivers I see only Alonso capable of seriously challenging him. But Ferrari needs to build at least decent car.

  • Junior Johnson

    I think that prolly horner and his clown Newy will build the best engine again like they did for the last four years

  • Boycotthehaters

    Because the “Red Bull juggernaut” was not “challenged seriously” in 2010 and 2012. Or something. Whatever.

    And then there’s the clown who thinks that Newey and Red Bull make their own engines!

    Of all the sports fans in the world, F1 fans know the least about their sport.

  • ZombieJebus

    The 2014 regulations arre the worst I’ve seen implemented in 30 years of F1. The low rev’s and artificial turbo noise to drown out the engine tone alone is enough to push me away from F1.

    I wonder whose bright idea it was to try and make F1 “green”… that person should be drawn and quartered by four Priuses.

  • Ukwhite

    Four Priuses? Funny :)

    No, pushing away totally may not happen, that is a virus, but it may not be so exciting indeed, at least we get used to it or they do some sound upgrades ;)

  • matthew

    Anyone that can call newey, the best aero guy f1 has ever seen a clown must be a retard. Junior johnson, I assume you would be happier watching nascar, gtfo. red bull doesn’t make engines either, they use a engine built by a brand called renault… maybe you’ve heard of them? Now go back to your trailer and turn on nascar and leave the discussion about real race cars to people with an IQ over 55.

  • matthew

    @ zombie, have you really been watching f1 for 30 years? Thats amazing, What era did you like best and why?

  • Garth

    @ Junior Johnson

    Please, Please, don’t waste any more time, I already suggested you go play on a busy motorway, if that’s too far out the nearest rail line should suffice, failing that there must be an HGV or a bus passing by.