Vuvuzela style F1 exhaust tested by Mercedes is a flop

The unsightly vuvuzela style exhaust bolted on to Nico Rosberg's Mercedes W05 during Barcelona testing

The unsightly vuvuzela style exhaust bolted on to Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes W05 during Barcelona testing

A vuvuzela style megaphone exhaust tested by Formula One leaders Mercedes in Spain on Wednesday failed to make the quieter new cars sound any louder, race driver Nico Rosberg said on Wednesday.

“It wasn’t a great solution,” the German said in a video posted on Instagram after he had lapped Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya with what looked like a shiny vuvuzela – the trumpet made famous at the football 2010 World Cup in South Africa - at the back of the car.

“It just didn’t work. It didn’t make it much louder. So we’ll just have to look for another solution.”

The season’s dominant team, runaway winners of all five races so far, had agreed to try out the trumpet-like device to try and pump up the volume after complaints that the new V6 turbo hybrid cars were too quiet compared to the old V8 screamers.

Rosberg was not alone in his early perception of the unsightly device as RTL reported, “So far no good news concerning the sound.”

Nico Rosberg not impressed

Nico Rosberg not impressed

BBC correspondent Andrew Benson agreed that the initial reaction from fans was “almost totally negative”.

German journalist Bianca Garloff opined: “In my view, the new sound is even worse”, while Sky’s Rachel Brookes reported that she heard “no audible difference”.

The quieter cars provided an immediate controversy when the season started in Australia in March with some race promoters, who met in Barcelona on Saturday, fearing a ticket sales fall off if fans were alienated by the changed sound.

Others in favour of the quieter new era argue that increasing the noise goes against the greener spirit of the regulation changes, which reduce wasted energy from the exhaust and brakes and harness it to improve fuel economy.

“It’s an interesting moment in time for Formula One,” Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff said last weekend. “Traditionally you would have said…that Formula One needs to be loud to be spectacular. Maybe now that’s changing.” (Reuters-GMM)

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