Mercedes to help fix F1 noise issue after Hamilton wins again
Dominant German team prepares to test new exhaust 'magaphone' to keep crowds happy
LEWIS HAMILTON won his fourth straight Grand Prix in Spain on Sunday as Mercedes tightened their stranglehold on new-look Formula 1. The British driver's victory saw him overtake team-mate Nico Rosberg in the driver's championship and the pair seem destined to slug it out for the rest of the season. Hamilton started from pole position and held off the challenge of Rosberg in the final laps to secure the win. Mercedes have won every Grand Prix this season and have also started every race from pole, and even before the latest triumph in Barcelona, Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso was predicting that the German team could win every race this season. Afterwards Mercedes boss Niki Lauda declared Hamilton to be "unbeatable" and said that he was "comfortable" with the idea of Rosberg and Hamilton battling it out for the rest of the season. "If there is no third driver in championship contention then I’m completely relaxed," he said. "Then they can drive over each other, and whoever is surviving is the world champion." Such is the dominance of the Mercedes team that they have even found time to try and help F1 sort out its biggest marketing problem this season: the issue of engine noise, or lack of it. The new quiet V6 hybrid engines have outraged many fans of the sport, including ringleader Bernie Ecclestone, who preferred the louder but less efficient V8 petrol engines. As The Times notes, F1 faces a "philosophical dilemma because advanced technology means that road cars are using smaller, more economical and quieter engines, while Ecclestone and millions of fans are demanding technology and noise that many believe belongs to a bygone era." But there could be a solution, and this week Mercedes will "play the role of guinea pig" as it tests an exhaust "megaphone", says the Daily Telegraph. The device alters the shape of the exhaust and increases the amount of noise it makes. "Providing the noise level is acceptable, and crucially the level of the car's performance is not compromised, it is almost certain to be introduced in the short term," says the paper. The BBC describes the device as "a trumpet cone shape added to the end of the exhaust", and says it could allay the fears of race promoters who are concerned that the lack of noise at this year's Grands Prix could put off fans and lead to reduced ticket sales.