F1 aiming to bring back the noise?


According to Stefano Domenicali, those annoying 'sound up' messages during broadcasts will soon become a thing of the past as F1 targets louder engines under new rules.

While those fans won over by Drive to Survive continue to discover F1, fans of a certain vintage remember when the sport was not so much about personalities and chicanery but rather the sight, the fury and the sound.

From the moment the hybrid era was introduced, fans, drivers even the (then) F1 supremo, lamented the lack of that spine-tingling sound that, for many, was the essence of the sport.

As many lamented the stark difference between the sound of the 2.4-litre V8 to its 1.6-litre V6 successor, many of us were still in mourning for the V10, V12, V8... H16.

Such was the outcry over the lack of audible grunt in 2014 the sport sought out a means to artificially improve the sound, while broadcasters took to the infuriating 'sound up' moment, which saw fans treated to the 'pure' sound of the V6 with all extraneous noise filtered out. However, few remained convinced.

Aware that the sound is integral to the sport, F1 CEO, Stefano Domenicali - in a rare moment of recalling why he first fell in love with the sport - has revealed that the new engine formula to be introduced in 2026 will feature louder engines.

Asked if the new formula will see even quieter engines, the Italian told Australian radio station 3AW: "No, very clearly, no.

"We need to have a different sound," he added. "It's music for my ears.

"It's true that we had the 12 cylinders, it was a different frequency, very loud. And then 10, eight, six... it's not going again down.

"It's just the situation is different," he continued. "Of course we need to be hybrid, we're going to be hybrid for the future. But the intention is to make sure in the new regulation the engine noise itself will be higher because that's part of our emotion. It is really what our fans want to hear and that's the duty for us to commit to that."

In terms of the engine rules, it is the increasing electrification of the power units that is attracting the likes of Audi to the sport, however, asked if he envisages a time when F1 might be fully electric, Domenicali - who in many ways appears to have followed Liberty Media's quest to focus on the sound of the cash register - insists that this will not be the case.

"I don't think so," he said. "Formula 1 is not electric. As you know, there is another series that has taken that direction. Electrification is a choice of mobility that has to go in that direction.

"But the mobility world and the mobility landscape will follow different directions. We have taken the direction of using for the future sustainable fuels with hybrid engines. That's where we believe we're going to stay for many, many years."

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Published: 26/06/2023
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