Walker on warpath over F1 sound but support not unanimous

Ron Walker

Ron Walker

According to the outspoken Australian Ron Walker, his fellow Formula 1 promoters will speak with an enormous voice next week in Bahrain.

Walker, fiercely critical of the quieter sound of the sport’s new turbo V6 engines, also heads a Formula 1 promoters’ alliance, and he has called a meeting ahead of the forthcoming grand prix in the island kingdom.

According to the Independent newspaper and Formula 1 business journalist Christian Sylt, he tips the promoters to tell “Bernie [Ecclestone], enough is enough. This is not what we bought’.”

However, one of Walker’s fellow promoters is unlikely to be joining the chorus.

Razlan Razali, the boss of the Malaysian Grand Prix venue at Sepang, is not among those who are denouncing the new sound, insisting that Formula 1 remains amazing.

“Even the quieter engines, which goes against what many have been expecting in motor sport previously, might not entirely be a bad thing,” he told the New Straits Times.

“Parents should now be less afraid of bringing their children to races with the reduced noise levels.”

Razali also said that Formula 1’s new technology, producing higher top speeds with less noise and fuel, is impressive.

“You see a small engine still able to produce 750 horse power and clock laptimes almost as fast as the V8s did last year, so it is just amazing how far technology has advanced,” he insisted.

Nonetheless, Ecclestone and even FIA president Jean Todt are reported to be making moves to spice up the sound.

Franck Montagny, an ex Formula 1 driver turned French television pundit, acknowledged the issue.

“For the public, when they go and see the GP2 cars race on the same weekend and they’re louder, it will seem like they are faster as well. So there is something wrong,” he is quoted by Le Figaro.

The Telegraph newspaper reports that the Ecclestone-run Formula 1 Management is already “looking at where they position the microphones” around the tracks “to optimise the sound for television”.

And some actual tweaks to the cars to make the engine note louder are also possible.

But Sam Collins, an editor of the Racecar Engineering magazine, is sceptical.

“The concept of these engines means it’s quite difficult to redesign them to make them louder because you have the turbo sucking all the noise out,” he is quoted by the Guardian.

“So you would have to go for a complete rulebook change and that would take two or three years to introduce and would be hugely expensive and basically teams would stamp their feet and say no,” Collins added.

Montagny disagrees, “I think there will be a change this season, technically, it is not even very difficult to do so.”

“There are already methods being used to allow electric cars to make more noise in order to avoid incidents with pedestrians.

“You could also intervene by putting in a second exhaust, but there will be no miracles,” he warned. “These engines are 1.6 litres – the era of the V10 and V8 is over.” (GMM)

Subbed by AJN.

  • Spartacus

    They’re going to do what the carmakers do; feed the sound (from strategically placed microphones around the track) to loudspeakers around grandstands.

  • Barlow

    You could try to put playing cards into the spokes of the wheels on the cars, just like my 8 year old grandson puts on his bike to make it sound louder!!

  • =El Presidente=

    more noise means less power. I really love the new sound, it is a much more ‘technical’ sound.. if i just want to have bleeding eardrums i can always go to my buddy who drives a Charger R/T (69) with a 440 mopar. more impressive and loud noise than F1 anyway. (i hated that high pitched sound)

    In my view the sound is perfect, it opens a lot of doors for new racetracks, like London for example, because noise is an important thing in city area’s.
    You can really hear the gearbox, and other mechanical parts doing their job, and we can hear the tires squealing and stuff like that.

    to put ‘speakers’ (as some new BMW’s have -new M3 i thought-) is totally retarded, and to put an artificial ‘soundpod’ behind the turbo is pretty lame and halfbaked. (because it is lame and halfbaked, this is a likely choice for the FIA)

    I also saw a video of the Formula-E yesterday (google ‘electric trulli train’) and even thogh it must be said, that the speed is nowhere near the F1, the sound is pretty cool. this whizzing really gives it a science-fiction effect, and the experience has to be awesome.. to go that fast, with that little noise.

    I also saw that some guy converted a LMP1 car to an EV. it still weighs less than 1ton (995Kg) reaches speeds above 200Mph , produces 850HP and a mindbending 4000Nm torque!! Of course this car can not even drive a full stint on Le Mans, but with battery technology growing hand over feet, this might soon be realistic.

    Im not a big fan of EV’s btw, but we have no friggin’ choice, all the governments are pushing for this electric crap, so we better get used to it, and try to make the best of it 😀

  • RBC

    Classic!