Mixed reactions to the new sound of Formula 1 V6 turbo engines

A beautiful noise?

A beautiful noise?

The sound of Formula 1’s new turbo-charged Power Units was a blast from the past for Nico Rosberg, son of 1982 champion Keke, but others were less sure after the 2014 cars made a quiet test debut on Tuesday.

“It reminds me a bit of when I used to look at the videos from the ’80s, the old turbos, and it’s that same sound now – deep, with lots of power on the straight,” the Rosberg told reporters.

“So it really gave me a flashback to those videos I was watching,” said the Mercedes driver.

The sport is undergoing a transformation this year, with the screaming, normally-aspirated V8 engines replaced by complicated V6 turbos with energy recovery systems incorporated into the units.

The sound has been a vexed question for many, with some fearing the 1.6 litre units could prove a turnoff for spectators accustomed to having their eardrums assaulted by a barrage of noise.

Nico Rosberg getting flashbacks at Jerez

Nico Rosberg getting flashbacks at Jerez

The sport’s commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone is no fan of the V6s, which have been introduced to help lend the sport a greener image and pioneer fuel-saving technology of relevance to ordinary road users.

With plenty of teething problems on Tuesday, it was a case of all quiet on the testing front with some teams failing to even get out of the garage and long periods of eerie silence – normally a sign of something amiss at a racetrack.

Those few cars that did put in laps did so mostly in isolation and it was hard to form a serious judgement of the sound from the evidence available.

Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff assured reporters that they would come to like what they hear, however.

Nico Hulkenberg not impressed

Nico Hulkenberg not impressed

“You must not forget that what we are doing here is basically a system check and shakedown and once you hear a car on full revs and flat out and more cars, I think in a couple of months nobody is going to really speak about the old engines and old engine sound,” he added.

Others were yet to be convinced.

“A bit disappointing, to be honest,” was German Nico Hulkenberg’s verdict. “It sounds a bit like a DTM (German Touring Car Championship) car. It’s not the same sound as a V8, it’s a lot quieter from what I’ve heard today.

“Let’s see, maybe there’s more to come…but it’s not the old screaming V8 and high rev engine sound.”

Red Bull’s quadruple World Champion Sebastian Vettel, a driver fascinated by the sport’s history, was clearly in Hulkenberg’s camp.

Asked for his opinion, Vettel smiled. “On the sound? I love V8s,” the 26-year-old German replied. “I would have loved to go the other way, back to V10.” (Reuters)

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  • WestMclarenMercedes

    For once I agree with vettel.

  • Kimi4WDC

    V10 with turbo, make it happen!

  • grimreaper

    I agree the sound is like listening to the local BOY RACERS going up and down the street. Very disappointed way too slow 8.3 seconds slower than 2013 and as feared slower than a GP2 car? GP2 is now the pinnacle of MOTORSPORT?

  • sarahsdadjeff

    10’s and 12’s BRIDGESTONE.

  • Dan

    i love the turbo sound. they were only reving them to 9500rpm yesterday so they wont sound “peaky” in rpm volumn. five them some time to sort out the bugs. im sure when they are up around 15000rpm they will shine.

  • Dan

    seriously people? do you really thunk they will take a brand new “un tested” car out on track and run full throttle on the first day? Have some brains for god sake. Give them some time to work the cars out.

  • Hany

    They ruined F1 car nose and sound, even made it slower, yet if this will make it unpredictable and a different winner each race will happen, I’m totally with that!

  • WestMclarenMercedes

    Agreed. No way they would take a completely new car with new PU with tons of torque and just go full throttle. That would just spell disaster. I have a feeling they will sound way better than the v8 once at 15,000 rpm rather than a indy car 9,000. No worries. After all, being 9 seconds slower and 6 than a gp2 car is not right so i doubt they are pushing it

  • grimreaper

    FIA (f****** Interfering A*******) @dan Kimi is already quoted as saying the 2014 V6 turbos are much slower than last year and that F1fans should not compare these cars and there lack of speed to previous seasons. The cars are even slower than last years AGP2 cars. How do you know that the Teams only ran at 60% of the engines revs 9,500 rather than 15,000? I would estimate that the Teams would run the cars to 80%-95% of the 15,000. These new engines have been developed for 2 years now with numerous henfh testing as well as Ferrari running theirs in a supercar at Marinello. The proof of the lack of pace and noise will be repeatedly shown over the next few days. 100kg of fuel is the major reason for the lack of pace 8.3seconds slower than last year’s is another nail in the coffin of F1.

  • Kimi4WDC

    On a side note, Nico Rosberg is a looker. I wish he kept his Williams haircut, Kimi looked pretty good with long hair too! :)

  • Jude Flores

    on the video it doesn’t sound good, unlike before with the V10 and V8, maybe on live race, it will sound better.. i hope!

  • Barlow

    This seems to be the mantra in this new century: If it’s not broken, fix it anyway. I’m an older surfer dude from Hawaii, and I have loved F1 since the ’60s, F1 is the only sport I care about anymore. The V-8s sounded very cool, screaming at over 18,000 rpms, and over 200 mph. I have always felt that in true F1, you give the drivers the best car, all the fuel, all the tires they need to race as fast and as hard as they can!! Just get out of the way and let them go!! Now it seems, we have politically correct F1, slower cars, quieter engines, less fuel, less tires. What happens if the GP2 cars are faster than the F1 cars, then GP2 becomes the pinnacle of motor racing?? I really hope not, Aloha!!

  • Stewart Dixon

    Why are they trying to make f1 greener, I’ve never heard anyone say I don’t like f1 but would if it was greener, all I hear is the cars need to be driven faster every lap

  • Stevie Speed

    @Stewart Dixon – It’s to make it more relevant to road cars and therefore encourages greater interest from car manufacturers. Why do you think Honda are coming back?

    I think we’ll also see rapid development of these cars. I would expect them to be getting faster and faster every race over the coming years.

    I do agree that V10 and V8’s are more exciting but I also understand the need to make F1 relevant to the rest of the world, albeit at the pinnacle.

    I would also add that if everyone ultimately agrees that the new rules are sh*te and are ruining the sport then changes willl be made. For instance, I can imagine the rules re: car noses to be amended to prevent cars like the Toro Rosso and Force India looking as embarressing as they do!

  • Formula Future

    The concept behind the new engines has a lot of meaning, turbo is good, energy recovery as well but I find the good part is limited to that.

    Limiting rules are producing ugly cars and engineers are obliged to become “rule loop hole-rs ” instead of having the chance to express their real genius for producing real innovative designs.

    On top of that we have plenty of world champions in today F1, who really wants to see them cursing around the race track for half (or more) of the GP?? (because this is what is going to happen)
    Make them race I/we say ! Cars became super-safe in the last years, so what’s the point on limiting their speed further?

    I start to think, and I hope I’m wrong, that someone inside the FIA is purposively trying to ruin F1. Can’t you rule maker guys see that what fans and the sport want is flat-out racing. F1 is about super fast cars and great drivers. Make them race before it’s too late!

    Just give the size of the car, maximum speed they can reach (I’d say 390 km) and may the real best win.

    We definitely need also a stop to the Tilke monopoly when it comes to design new race tracks. It’s not fair other talents cannot contribute, besides Tilke arguably produced very calculated circuits without really considering what show they would produce.

    Please wake up!

  • nicollo

    the V6 sounds great, but I prefer the V8 engine more.. the V6 doesn’t have a ‘jet’ feeling when it growls

  • quixpeed

    @Kimi4WDC: V10 with Turbo, in F1 industry may produce 2k plus HP. which is literally insane power to control.

    i cannot imagine the sound and the rush that goes in it.

  • the fan

    its like listening to a boy band this year after listening to a great rock n roll band last year

  • StevetheGreat

    Sounds awful to any real f1 fan.


  • Sir James

    Hope it was just my poor speakers! Turbos just suck the sound out of the exhaust by taking some of that energy. We will see about the speed as the season begins. Don’t believe GP cars will be faster.

  • Sad F1 Fan

    For me the sound is a major part of the show, F1 should be the loudest fastest form of Motorsport. You talk to anyone that has been to a GP for the first time and it’s the sound that they rave about, now you are getting no more than you can here at any local race meeting for a few pounds not hundreds of pounds.
    I have followed F1 for many years,attending a couple of races a year, but from what I am now hearing not alone seeing (noses-a joke) I just do not think that I am going to get the same great experience. It’s a real pity, so I hope Bernie thinks the same and save this once great sport.

  • MC Mosh

    I’ve come to get used to the rule changes they are making quite often now, but I feel as though this time, the sport has been violated. So many things have gone amiss.

    The sound of the F1 cars is gone. So they aren’t running them at full revs, but these cars are muted even at full revs and the sound is nowhere as loud.

    The cars are ugly, ugly to the point that this time, we are not going to get used to it. F1 is about glamour, not cars with strap-ons at the front.

    The cars are slow. This is the pinnacle of motorsport, but only a vague shadow of what the pinnacle used to be. With the shitty tyres, drivers are forced to conserve tyres most of the race, instead of driving all-out. When Shumi came back to F1, he said that nobody is driving to the limit anymore, because tyres have to be conserved.

    Now the question arises – do we really want to watch a lesson on how to save money and be economic, or do we want cars driving as fast as they can with a loud noise to accompany?

    If they really want to save the environment, the teams shouldn’t fly all around the world with 40 truckloads of equipment. Tracks should be build around mass transit routes, so that race attendants don’t take their own cars.

    F1 is not about saving the environment, not the racing itself.

  • csaba

    Sound awful such a turnoff. What the fuck were they thinking

  • csaba

    I could not say it better. !!!
    It is not the same anymore !!!
    I visited a race in Canada in 2013 for a first time I was at a race I loved it , I’m glad I did because I would not go after this changes anymore
    Like you said its about noise and ,speed ,…..not anymore sadly

  • Lee

    Yep. They sound terrible now. What a let down. I’m here in Melbourne watching the practice in the main straight grandstands. Not at all what F1 should sound like.

  • Lee

    And now someone stalled.

  • Ruben

    The whole point of F1 is that it DOESN’T resemble ordinary cars on ordinary roads, that’s the appeal! Just finished watching qualifying and it was awful.

  • F1 lost the plot

    I don’t see why they can’t still run v8’s or better still v10’s or v12’s and develop new technology and then let the car companies adapt it to smaller crapy engines. I’ve been to at least 30 GPs and l was at the track on Friday and l couldn’t believe what has happened to the cars. Walking to the track sometimes when I was running a bit late and as soon as you could hear the cars on the track, the hair on my neck would stand up and I couldn’t get there fast enough and would remember why I like F1 cars and forget all the politics of F1. This time walking around the inside of the track, we didn’t even know the car’s were on track until we saw a TV screen! Unbelievable! Standing right next to the track on the straight at top speed, l could still talk to my mate’s. I can’t feel these cars any more. Last race I go to.

  • Sergey Vetoshkin


  • Sergey Vetoshkin

    #ReturnTheSoundsToFormulaOne !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Sergey Vetoshkin