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The silent problem with F1

NEWS STORY
14/03/2014

When the opening practice session of the season began in Melbourne this morning, Formula One whispered in a new turbo era. Fernando Alonso had the honour of becoming the first driver on track, his Ferrari murmuring its way out of the garage in near silence.

A few moments later Lewis Hamilton quietly emerged and trundled to the pit exit where he pulled to the right for a practice start. He engaged the clutch, raised the revs and accelerated away amongst a cacophony of screaming tyres, which were louder than anything from the exhaust.

You are now more likely to go deaf mowing your lawn than attending a Formula One race.

During opening practice at Albert Park the average background level trackside was observed at 80db, a comfortable volume one could be exposed to all day, peaking at about 100db as a Toro Rosso braked from peak RPM about 20 metres away.

And that is the fundamental problem with the all-new V6 turbocharged engines. Attending a Formula One event was always a full body experience; the momentary flash of colour preceded by a rumbling in the ground and a compression in the chest before an explosion of noise assaulted the eardrums.

Despite the best efforts of certain pundits, who should know better, all that is gone now, replaced with a rather dull sound which fails miserably to capture one’s imagination.

We’d suggest the sport has shot itself in the foot (again), only that would be louder.

Check out our Friday gallery, here.

Mat Coch

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by r11co, 14/03/2014 20:22

"Sky F1 HD's 'selling point' 5.1 surround sound is now a millstone if it means more of that muffled, farting drone engine noise in your living room. Truly awful and uninspiring."

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2. Posted by Paul C, 14/03/2014 12:54

"Should they fit all F1 cars with tuner car "mufflers"?"

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3. Posted by stoney, 14/03/2014 10:31

"I have to say, it is a different (read: "worse") sound on the straights, but the lift off sound coming into the corners sounds very nice and throaty. Yes, it's different - but I think we'll get used to it and learn to appreciate it for what it is in time.

"

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4. Posted by Malc, 14/03/2014 8:48

"If you want the best noise then they should mandate for 7 litre V8s with a 6000rpm rev limit"

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5. Posted by Malc, 14/03/2014 8:45

"I really cannot agree. I attended the young driver test at Silverstone last year and the noise was awful. Unbearable in the stands without ear protection and ear protection is damned uncomfortable. If it means we can watch without earplugs then I might even go to the British Grand Prix for the first time!"

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6. Posted by GoodPublicity, 14/03/2014 8:42

"What a contrast today's droning hybrids are from the 1980s turbo engines that bludgeoned their way through thick earplugs with impunity.

Today's sleep-inducing engines are to be expected from a governing body that thinks Formula E is the greatest innovation since the internal combustion engine.

The FIA emperors have no clothes!"

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7. Posted by stangelj, 14/03/2014 7:55

"They really sound terrible on TV during Australian GP practice. Best I can describe is a hovercraft lawnmower... "

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8. Posted by Simon in Adelaide, 14/03/2014 4:49

"Hell, if it gets any quieter you'll be able to hear the Victorian economists and politicians whinging about the costs :)

"

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9. Posted by cwilder3, 14/03/2014 4:46

"I run sound in my church and keep the dB level during worship at 95 to 97, and it's full of us older folks. What a joke. Hate to say it but Bernie was right on the engine note. Let's hope they can go the race distance. With the fuel restrictions and the tire management, not sure this is racing anymore..."

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