What do the new Formula 1 V6 engines sound like? Video
Drivers not impressed by quieter F1 engines, but some fans think they sound better
WITH F1 winter testing underway at Jerez and the teams slowly coming to terms with the new rules and regulations governing the sport, the big question facing petrol heads this year is what will the 2014 season sound like?
This year the old V8 engines have been replaced by V6 turbos, armed with energy recovery systems, designed to give the sport a greener tinge.
"The noise - or lack of it - remains open for debate," wrote Kevin Eason in The Times on Tuesday. "Some think the 1.6-litre engines with their whistling turbos sounded futuristic while others judged the noise to be more like a scooter engine played down a drainpipe."
Even the drivers are having their say. "It reminds me a bit of when I used to look at the videos from the 80s, the old turbos, and it's that same sound now - deep, with lots of power on the straight," commented Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg, son of 1982 champion Keke.
German driver Nico Hulkenberg of Force India was more frank. "A bit disappointing, to be honest," was his verdict after practice. "It's not the same sound as a V8... Let's see, maybe there's more to come...but it's not the old screaming V8 and high rev engine sound."
World champion Sebastian Vettel said he would have preferred to make the engines bigger. "I would have loved to go the other way, back to V10," he said.
It is a touch less noisy, says ESPN F1 blog The Inside Line. "The noise signature has certainly changed, with the bassline hum now accompanied by a gurgle, not a scream, but different doesn't necessarily mean worse. It's a bit quieter, a bit less abrasive, but still a throaty roar."
Like some of the drivers, Bernie Ecclestone, the F1 ringleader, is not a fan of the sound of the V6. He likes his cars loud and believes the new engines "could prove a turnoff for spectators accustomed to having their eardrums assaulted by a barrage of noise," says Reuters.
But auto website Jalopnik seems to be in favour of the new engines. "First of all, the V8 was never as good a wailer as the older V10s, and second of all, this turbo engine sounds a lot more musical than those naturally aspirated eights," it says.
Fans unable to get to Jerez this week have no shortage of audio and visual aids to make their minds up. But no matter what you hear on TV, "no video camera or microphone can capture how they sound or feel, ringing in your ears," adds the website.