Organisers of the Australian Grand Prix are less than happy with the new sound of F1, to the point of seeking legal action.
After months of anticipation, yesterday the litmus test for the sport, the first time the sound off all twenty-two new era engines were heard blasting away from the grid - well, nineteen actually, three cars needed to start from the pitlane.
With little to judge based on pre-season testing, fans only really got their first 'taste' of the new sound of the sport on Friday, when the opening practice sessiosn got underway. Despite the best efforts of broadcasters and team bosses insisting that it was great and the fans would get used to it, the fans - aka the paying public - were largely unimpressed.
Granted, on Saturday it afforded TV viewers the opportunity to enjoy the pantomime style reactions of the crowd as - above the sound of the engines - could be heard the jeering of Vettel, the roar as Ricciardo took provisional pole and the subsequent sigh of despair as Hamilton went quicker.
However, the sight of broadcasters interviewing various inhabitants of Planet Paddock during the sessions without the need to shout over the top of the engines, the experience of hearing (trackside commentator) Bob Constanduros keeping the crowd up to date, almost drowning out the V6s, fulfilled our worst fears.
Bernie Ecclestone was never a fan of the new formula, fearing it would turn off fans, indeed, he even stalled its introduction. At the same time, a group of circuit owners, led by his close friend, and head of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC), Ron Walker formed the Formula One Promoters Association in readiness for just such an occasion.
Speaking to Fairfax radio the day after the race, AGPC CEO Andrew Westacott made it clear that he is not happy, far from it.
"One aspect of it was just a little bit duller than it's ever been before and that's part of the mix and the chemistry that they're going to have to get right," he said. "Ron spoke to Ecclestone after the race and said the fans don't like it in the venue.
"We pay for a product, we've got contracts in place," he continued, "we are looking at those very, very seriously because we reckon there has probably been some breaches."
Organisers are already under pressure in the Victoria state due to the ever increasing amounts of tax payer money that is being pumped into the event, and while the noise - or lack of it - will please those who complain about the disruption the ‘aural pollution’ the event brings to the city, others will fear that the lack of aural spectacle will drive away the fans and increase the losses.
The fact that the current contract runs out next year gives the AGPC a little bargaining power but in all honesty it is hard to see what can be done.
On the other hand, the crowd went home happy, having seen Vettel retire just a few laps into the race and his new teammate, Australian Daniel Ricciardo take second on his debut with the world championship winning team.
However, six hours later....
As a side note, many hours after the race, whilst enjoying a well-deserved pint of Abbot Ale, a certain F1 website editor received the following email for an old school-friend.
"I want to say this from a fans point of view of the Melbourne race," wrote Peter M. "I think I am at the end of my tether with F1. Remember it all started with me you and John P getting a Green Line bus to Brands Hatch in god knows what year. At which point I became hooked by the noise of the McLaren for a lifetime..."
Indeed, though the sport has gone through many changes since those days (very early 70s), but it always had that certain sound.