Lauda: I find it absurd that there are people who are upset about this new Formula 1

Formula One Testing, Day Three, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Friday 21 February 2014

Mercedes boss and triple world champion Niki Lauda has hit back at the critics who are slamming the revolutionary new V6 turbo Formula 1 era.

Ron Walker, the Australian Grand Prix chief who is a key Bernie Ecclestone ally, is leading the charge by threatening to sue the sport and switch to Indycar racing after hearing the sound of the new turbo V6 engines.

“It would be a drastic change to switch to Indycar but we cannot go on like this,” he told Formula 1 business journalist Christian Sylt in the Independent.

Walker blames the FIA for presiding over the changes in spite of Formula 1 Chief Executive Ecclestone’s opposition.


“We did a survey of the fans and they don’t really care about saving fuel,” he said. “They want to go and see gladiatorial drivers fighting each other and not worry about the fuel that they use.”

But the loss of the normally-aspirated engine scream, Walker argues, is the main problem.

“It is hard enough to sell tickets now but this is arrogance at the worst from Jean Todt,” he said.

Whilst admitting that the engine noise lacks the drama of the past, however, Formula 1 legend Lauda’s view about the all-new Formula 1 era could not be in starker contrast.

He insists that his approval has “nothing to do” with Mercedes’ dominance in Melbourne.

“It was a demonstration of a modern, contemporary Formula 1,” he said of the Albert Park event.

Formula One World Championship, Rd19, Brazilian Grand Prix, Race, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday 24 November 2013.

“I just cannot understand and I find it absurd that there are people who are upset about this new Formula 1 after this very good race,” Lauda told the German newspaper Welt.

“This is now a racing category that is totally in tune with the technology trends,” he insisted.

“We now have a new age; new road transport needs, environmental initiatives, the development of hybrid cars and thinking about the quality of life of people in a highly technological world with all of its challenges.

“The old eight-cylinder engines were no longer appropriate,” said Lauda. “The turbo technology gives us more power with less fuel and less noise and less environmental impact, with reduced carbon emissions.”

“For this reason Honda is coming into Formula 1 next year with Renault, Ferrari-Fiat and Mercedes, and perhaps other manufacturers will follow as well. So I see only advantages,” the Mercedes Team Chairman added.

Mercedes Australian GP Melbourne start

As for the opponents like Ecclestone, Lauda countered: “I have to clearly contradict Bernie. The Formula 1 attraction is not defined by the noise.

“It is defined by the sporting action and as exciting a competition as possible with highly demanding and contemporary technologies and drivers who know how to handle these cars at the highest level.

“Just talking about the noise is absurd and incomprehensible to me,” he insisted. “We forget that these cars – because of their technology – are faster [on the straights] than the outdated eight-cylinders.

“What noise the exhaust makes has nothing to do with it, and this supposedly important emotional aspect, I cannot see it,” said Lauda.

“The idea to make these cars now artificially loud is the wrong direction and bizarre.

“Formula 1 is completely on the right track,” he added, “and as is the law in Formula 1 we must go as fast as possible forwards, not backwards. Everything else makes no sense to me.” (GMM)

Subbed by AJN.

Content on by: staff & contributors, Reuters syndication, GMM service, Getty Images, Formula 1 teams, sponsors & organisations.

  • Jerry Holloway


  • Barlow

    That’s right Niki, you tell them. And next year because of the fact that “the turbo technology gives us more power with less fuel and less noise and less environmental impact, with reduced carbon emissions”, F1 is switching to all solar power and batteries like the sports car from Tesla, 0-60 in 4 seconds. Next year the cars won’t make ANY noise at all, and that will surly bring the environmental fans to F1 races by the thirties and forties!!

  • Scott

    After my 1st F1 race back in 1996 I came home telling all my friends about how you could feel the percussion from the engines ripping through your chest and the high pitched shrill actually being painful on your eardrums. We were laughing as we were in pain and on our way to buy expensive foam ear plugs at the track because while we were outside we thought we were man enough not to need them. Folks who have never experienced a live F1 race may have trouble understanding the uproar over the new sound but for me it was the epitome of racing and something that set it above and beyond nascar, indycar, and sports cars. This year in Montreal will be our 16th race up there, hoping it doesn’t disappoint like it does when watching on tv!

  • Boycottthebull

    And I find it absurd that Niki cant understand anyone else opinion other than his own. As you get older you dont like loud music any more but the fans that pay good money to go to live concerts still do.

  • Steve

    I can’t believe how petulant people are getting over the noise

  • Jerry Holloway

    Yes, people talking about boycotting is over the top. It’s not the end of the world, the sport isn’t being ruined. It is a problem, and there are things that can be done.

  • Krunksoft

    No, nothing can be done technically. Besides, these teams have spent way too much time and money into developing these new power units to change them now. There’s no need for a solution as the technical specifications for this formula was always going to lead to less noise. The one thing they might do is change the fuel flow regulation. The cars haven’t been revving at the full 15,000rpm probably to save fuel. These cars are much louder when they can run wide open but they don’t do it much right now. In the next few races after they’ve figured out how to manage all that hopefully we’ll see the drivers push even harder.

  • Michael Warr

    Sorry Niki, but you are completely wrong. I have followed F1 since 1958, when I rooted for my hero Stirling Moss to beat Mike Hawthorn, and we have arrived at an absurd and untenable place in F1 history. This is supposed to be the pinnacle of MOTOR sport, not Formula Prius. If you want to advance the cause of hybrids, then do it through Formula E or some alternative…………the current state of F1 is pathetic. Green technology, fuel saving, driving like grandma to save tyres and fuel. We need to go back to a displacement formula, any engine configuration, manual gearboxes and drivers who are allowed to drive the cars to the limit. The FIA need to be restrained and put back in their box……..they are too intrusive and interfering. Time for a BIG change or F1 as we have known it is finished.

  • KevinW

    I don’t care about the noise, turbos can be cool. I do care about the layering of restrictions that have transformed F1 from a creative sport to one of compliance with tighter and tighter regs that look more spec racer than Grand Prix racer. The layers of DRS/electric motor assist passing aides, layered with the fake, heavy and overly complex hybrid-like doo-daddery, layered with fake tire degradation by a single spec tire provider, layered with the constant increase in car weight, layered with a fuel flow limit acted upon live by race stewards – who can now disqualify a car for not following their instructions to turn power down during the race, layered with aero restrictions creating poor cornering performance, all layered with nanny-state safety regs resulting in questionable car designs. Just exactly how can this new, hyper restricted, hyper complex for no reason, fakery-filled formula be viewed as the right direction for the ultimate class of auto sport? Oh yes, Lauda needs to accept that with every change, there is a loss. There will be fans walk away from the sport, that is life. The question is, will these changes draw in enough new fans in to replace them, plus add any growth? That’s the real gamble in play.

  • Mitja Bonca

    Can agree more. Lauda – you are corrupted as FIA. Go OFF F1`s world. Sorry, but it seems that your time is up.

  • Pear Bear

    Sorry to tell you, Scott but you will be disappointed. I was at Melbourne and the only good sound was the whistle of the turbo as they slowed into the corners. But that was louder than the engines. Someone described the engine sound as sewing machines. I would probably lean more towards lawn mowers with a muffler.

  • hornfan27

    Just turn of the rev limiters and the 6’s will sound great.

  • Severn

    “I just cannot understand and I find it absurd that there are people who
    are upset about this new Formula 1 after this very good race for my team”, said Lauda.

    Fixed it for you.

  • bobmendon

    Old man yells at cloud! Nikki is still as much of a butt head as he was 30 years ago.

  • topkill

    1) Walker is Bernie’s butt-buddy and everything he says should be understood as Bernie’s hand up his arse and moving his lips for him. Both of you…retire.
    2) If you care so much about what fans think, then why did you shove the double points fiasco down our throats and ignore the uproar?

    Some of us actually like the sounds of the new engine. 99.9% of fans hear the race on TV and only hear what FOM chooses to feed them. FOM is TRYING to make this sound bad because that’s what Bernie wants. Bernie: JUST. GO. AWAY you disgusting, wrinkled, bitter little leprechaun. Your daughters have plenty of money to piss away so just stop for God’s sake.

  • topkill

    This is hilarious! You guys really take your censorship seriously.
    OK, let’s try this again: Walker is Bernie’s boy and anything he says should be interpreted as Bernie’s hand up Walker’s rear moving his lips for him.

  • Carbisc

    bobmendon your the armchair sitting BUTTHEAD have some respect for a world champ, your a CHUMP.

  • Bond James

    Excuse me it is defined by the noise and unleashed horsepower-this has what F-1 has been all about-If you think differently than go drive a Pierus or a hybred

  • Jerry Holloway

    The things you just mentioned are what I meant by “there are things that can be done”. The rev limit could also be raised in future seasons.

  • Jerry Holloway

    I don’t agree with your feelings about the current formula, but I would love to see the unrestricted rulebook you’re advocating!

  • Jerry Holloway

    I like the new regs overall but I agree with you about the gimmickry of it all. Wouldn’t it have been cool to have the new power units allowed as an option, instead of shoved down everyone’s throat? What would a field of mixed powerplants be like? Some teams with the turbo six hybrids, some with the shrieking V8s…sounds cool to me, kind of like when Supercross had two-strokes and four-strokes churning dirt at the same time.

  • pitwall

    I don’t see Nikki criticizing you… oh that’s right! Because he doesn’t even know you exist…

  • pitwall

    What a selfish reply. You’ve had a lifetime of burning fuel at enormous rates and now you want to continue that trend just so you can hear F1 with your diminishing hearing? Want to rant at the younger generations with their fancy cars? Tell em to go get stuffed? They can all live in a grey choking pollution filled world for all you care… You, Bernie, VJ and Ron Walker are all the same. Nikki is getting on in years but at least he’s still got some vision for the world, and not some bitter scorn for everything new…

  • Krunksoft

    They’ll get there eventually. I don’t know when they’ll feel comfortable enough in terms of reliability or fuel considerations but I would imagine they’ll get to the full 15,000 at some point…on some circuits.

  • Amos James

    Leave Bob alone! He is our resident crazy old man at grandprix247.