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New exhaust rules to increase noise in 2016

2016 F1 season

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The FIA has changed the rules regarding car exhaust in a bid to make the current generation of cars louder.

The World Motor Sport Council approved the changes to tail pipes which will come into effect next year having determined they will not reduce the performance or efficiency of the current V6 hybrid turbo power units.

“For 2016, all cars must have a separate exhaust wastegate tailpipe through which all and only wastegate exhaust gases must pass,” noted the FIA. “This measure has been undertaken to increase the noise of the cars and will not have any significant effect on power or emissions.”

Further detail changes to the regulations were also approved. Penalties for power unit and gearbox changes, which were also amended earlier this year, will now “be applied based on the time of use”, it stated. “For changes made after qualifying, preference will be given to the driver whose team first informed the technical delegate that a change will occur.”

Drivers will be required to start the race from the pit lane if they cause an aborted start, regardless of whether they are subsequently capable of starting from their grid position.

“For 2017, on board cameras on stalks on the nose of cars will be prohibited,” the FIA added.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 92 comments on “New exhaust rules to increase noise in 2016”

    1. The World Motor Sport Council approved the changes to tail pipes which will come into effect next year having determined they will not reduce the performance or efficiency of the current V6 hybrid turbo power units.

      If true, then good news.

      1. What about the emmisions though ;)

        1. Todo list:
          a) read articles properly.
          b) learn to spell.
          c) apologise.

        2. ColdFly F1 - @coldfly (@)
          30th September 2015, 20:55

          will not have any significant effect on power or emissions.

          The clearest indication that VW will enter F1 ;-)

          1. Love this!

            1. Why don’t they increase the loudspeakers on the track – that’ll make it noisier.
              I’ve never heard anything so ridiculous as putting up the noise of a car – is F1 afraid that Formula-E is becoming a competitor?
              Stupid – if noise is such a deciding factor on F1 becoming more popular – then put the old V8 engines back in and go back to the past.
              Now then – IF F1 became noisier because of NEW technology – then I wouldn’t mind – but just for the sake of it – is absolutely RIDICULOUS!!!!!!!!!!!

      2. Further proof there is no replacement for displacement.

        Can’t wait until this stupid era of weak and stupidly expensive engines finally ends.

        1. Weak? Clearly there is a replacement for displacement when a 1.6L V6 with two electric motors can produce the same horsepower as the previous gen V8…

          As far as I can tell the only reason the FIA is making this change is because of whiners who cant watch the race without making a fuss about something that doesnt effect the performance of the cars or the race itself.

          1. So according to the fan survey then about 90% of fans are “whiners”. Maybe it is the V6 cars that are doing most of the whining. Of course, the 10% don’t understand what the rest are whining about.

    2. “For 2017, on board cameras on stalks on the nose of cars will be prohibited,” the FIA added.

      What is the purpose of this?

      1. @amail To ban the camera mounts such as the ones used by Mercedes and Ferrari, I guess

      2. To stop them being used for aerodynamic purposes.

    3. Did they just ban selfie sticks?

      1. That’s a funny way of looking at it. :D

    4. It’s not going to make any difference though.

      1. I agree. I remember the waste gate exhaust putting out a ‘whoot’ sound, not a great contribution to the audio.

        I think if the waste gate does let out pressure then the engineers did a poor job with the energy recovery from the turbo.

        Not only are the rpm’s lower and denying us the screaming engines of old, this waste gate idea is also limited due to efficiency goals.

        1. You’re thinking dump valves mate…

    5. Where do wastegate gasses go at the moment, anyone know? They don’t go through the turbine obviously, so how is this separate pipe noisier? I daresay there’s an answer, just wondering what it is.

      1. they could either just dump to atmosphere or in to the current exhaust pipe.

        Likely in to the exhaust pipe because they dont want that super hot air around electronics and the body if they can help it.

      2. If you can find some photos of the car with exposed engine you’ll notice an arch shape pipe welded to exhaust pipe. Waste gate is usually used to control turbo boost by letting some exhaust gases bypass the turbine. Whole exhaust ends up in the tailpipe eventually. Another ingenious rule by FIA. Do they get payed for this?

      3. Sorry, I didn’t explain why is it noisier. The reason is simple. It bypasses the turbine which has an effect that can be likened to muffler. If you separate this pipe you can get a little bit more noise.

        1. The wastegate bypasses the turbine agreed, okay into the main exhaust at the moment downstream of the turbine, but it’s an open exhaust, so how is it any quieter than this new separate pipe? @memorablec @boomerang?

          1. @lockup the gasses exiting the wastegate are coming out at a different velocity and at a different frequency to the gasses exiting the turbo. When you dump them both into the same pipe, the gasses mingle and you get one sound exiting the tailpipe. If you use a separate pipe off the wastegate, this tends to be louder than dumping it through the exhaust.

            It’s a common thing on modded cars. Do a search for videos of ‘screamer pipes’ and you’ll hear the difference.

            1. Ah OK, thanks @mazdachris

        2. I reckon they should put a whistle in it.

          1. Yeah, that’s good one. It’s about diameter of the pipe as well ;-) This way you can have two smaller exhaust pipes instead of one. That’s definitely noisier :-)

          2. ColdFly F1 - @coldfly (@)
            1st October 2015, 7:26

            Or a pipe organ.
            And maybe bagpipes on Coulthard’s birthday.

    6. I don’t think louder noises will make the sport more appealing. For me, the lower pitch because of the lower rpm is what makes me miss the scream of the old V8s and V10s compared to the soft noise generated by the current formula.

      1. That was my first thought too… Better but its not the same as the screaming V8’s, current engines don’t appeal to me and (while its not the only reason but a significant enough one) I can’t see myself going back to a GP again

      2. Agreed. I’m sure there are some people who actually want more sheer noise, but I suspect that for most people who miss the old engine noise, it’s more the tone of the noise than the volume of it that they miss. Noise certainly has no effect on either the overall quality of the racing or on how advanced the cars themselves are, and I would assume that one or both of those is what most people actually care about the most.

        Myself, I hope that if this does go through it doesn’t increase the volume more than a few decibels, because I do prefer my ears not being in pain — and being able to hear the sound as more than just a wall of noise — when watching a race.

        1. I miss volume, actually. F1, for me, must produce a frightening noise, wich is produced by volume.

          1. Actually, it is not volyme (sound pressure level) that makes a sound frightening, but its frequency content. Here’s a thorough answer by someone far smarter than me.

          2. They should tune the exhausts to the Brown Note.

      3. I do miss the scream, but i also enjoy the much more complex noise of the current formula

        1. I like the weird electric noises they make at low speed/decelerating, but then I liked the blown diffusers so I guess I’m just weird.

        2. I am in Mexico and young so i have only ever listened to F1 cars in roadshows (2007 with renault, 2015 redbull and ferrari) all of them V8, i still remember how you could hear that R26 accelerating being 3 roundabouts away and that was the sound i fall in love with. Now i am worried that the new PUs wont be able to stand up to that memory, maybe its only a sentimental thing as i appreciate how this generation of PUs are a triumph in engineering but i welcome any change made with espectators (even casual ones as myself) in mind.

      4. I really miss the V10s, and the V8s were okay but neutered when the RPM limits were imposed; I think the V*s were reliability to 20k but were capped at 18k I believe in their final season. Really is a shame since those engines were true screamers.

        1. It wasn’t just the high ‘almost 20k rpm’ thing that made them exciting. They were coming out of corners at 9k rpm and they changed so dramatically so quickly….and you knew the driver was really committed. If a driver backs off the throttle a little, you heard it a lot.

          Now the engines just go from 5k rpm to 11k rpm, if a driver is fuel saving or saving tyres it can be ‘hidden’ because the engine makes the same sound as going at the car’s/driver’s limits. If they lift you might not notice in a high speed corner.

          1. Good point!

      5. Agreed. Plus it is the number of firings per second which used to make the screaming noise- hence why the V10s sounded so appealing and drew people’s attention. More valves + more speed = higher pitched noise. Current regulations don’t have any spectacular appeal to anyone.

    7. Increase the noise to make up for the lack of cars on the grid, genius!!

      Nobody cares about the noise, different engines sound different, it’s not rocket science.

      1. “Nobody cares about the noise”? Oh yeah, apart from those 90% of fans in the large-scale survey. And many, many commenters on here. And the circuit promoters. But yes, clearly “nobody” cares. There is more to F1 than just good racing you know.

    8. And by limiting the power of the sportscars to under 1000bhp (in other news), they’ve made F1 cars even faster (relatively)

      1. Yeah, now limit F1 engine to 1000hp…

    9. Insipid and useless, this change is. No fan quits a sport because it does not sound right and frankly, if there any we, especially on a site of dedidcated F1 fans, should be grateful for having lost them.

      I am just waiting for the first time these things cause a retirement or something akin to it.

      1. Agreed. If all people want is loud cars there are plenty of other racing catagories for them to watch. An artificial increase is ridiculous.

    10. Can’t wait for the next season! We’ll have Mercedes and Ferrari battling for the championship, of course not on TV screens as they won’t have given engines to Red Bulls, but we will definitely hear them while watching celebrities who are watching themselves on screens. FIA really knows how to improve F1. Maybe they will even make the celebrities dance in 2017. For 2018 more drastic changes will be needed, I guess they will do something like the car from Mad Max with massive amount of speakers and flame-throwing guitarist on it. But no closed cockpits. Not yet.

    11. I’m a new fan of F1, following since only the beginning of this season. I was the potential new, young fan everyone is hand-wringing about. All year long, all I’ve heard is people moaning about how the lack of noise makes the sport less appealing. I never even knew this was something that should be unappealing to me until the sport became appealing to me.

      I’m assuming the only people who care — or know to care — about the lack of noise are the ones who don’t need to be convinced that F1 is entertaining.

      1. You make a very good point. It’s hard to picture somebody (even somebody who really loves loud things for the sake of volume) just getting into F1 showing up and being disappointed by a lack of noise, since really, it is still quite loud — just not as loud as it used to be. I’m also sure there are some new fans who wouldn’t have attended a race if the engines were still as loud as they once were. I think that, on the whole, more people are likely to be turned away from something by it being unbearably loud than by it being not quite as loud as they’d like.

        And yes, all the complaining one sees aside, I doubt that anbody who already likes F1 is going to stop following it simply because of the engines being quieter. That would imply that the engine noise was all they cared about to begin with, and I can’t see somebody being even a casual fan solely for that reason.

    12. Yessssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

    13. The World Motor Sport Council approved the changes to tail pipes which will come into effect next year having determined they will not reduce the performance or efficiency of the current V6 hybrid turbo power units.

      That means they’ve managed to create energy. The noise energy (Plus some thermal energy) is the amount of energy which is not converted into ‘useful’ energy by the engine (e.g movement/kinetic energy). If there is more noise energy coming from the exhaust, then this energy must either come from the thermal energy (which the solution makes no reference to), or the actual kinetic energy that the engine is creating. Therefore to creat the same amount of energy as before, the engine will need more fuel. This therefore decreases efficiency.

      All of this for a rule change to make the cars ‘sound better’. Surely they should focus on the racing or the prize money before worrying about the sound. Especially as the solution proposed here will either not make a difference, or negate the entire point about making F1 more efficient in the first place.

      Bad move, F1, bad move.

      1. @keeleyobsessed This isn’t quite correct, though I do understand your thinking. This isn’t a case of shifting more air out of the exhaust, it’s a change in the velocity and the pitch/frequency. In the same way that you can blow air out of your mouth with your lips wide apart and make no sound, or with your lips pursed and make a whistling noise. The energy going into the air you’re blowing is still the same, it’s just the sound frequency which is changed.

    14. too little, too late.

    15. Wait, Im confused.
      I was under the understanding that the MGU-H works as a generator to control the speed of the turbocharger by slowing it down in place of a wastegate or accelerating it to compensate for turbo lag. They do have a wastegate, but its only there in case the MGU-H fails. Or at least that was my understanding.
      I am unsure how they plan to separate the exhaust gasses into a screamer pipe (thats what we call in where I am from) when there really is no wastegate. I must be missing something.

      1. Right, I’m confused too. If it is going around the turbine then it can’t be used for boost or generation. I guessed waste gate use would be minimized, and limited to certain conditions, likely high rpm.

        It seems to me this would create dramatic spikes in volume.

        Somebody want to explain how this is gonna work?

      2. Add me to the list if confused people, I had the same understanding. This all looks like some 80’s mechanic with limited knowledge of the current systems told Bernie, ‘there’s your problem’ and the old guy fell for it. Surely controlling the boost with the MGU-H is the most efficient way to extract electrical charge in which case even if a wastegate was attatched as per regulations in theory it would be not even used unless the MGU-H failed. So no louder car, just some extra piping and weight in the exhaust system?? Or alternatively, louder crs, but only when their MGU-H fails??? Strange…

      3. The most primitive component of these PUs is a waste gate. However, because of limitations imposed by tech regulations you cannot run these engines efficiently without wastegate. I see no point in introducing this change ’cause most of the time wastegate will be closed. But, they know better. They, I mean FIA, probably consulted PU manufacturers to see what they think.

    16. Glad to see the FIA has not lost their knack at being useless when it comes to rulemaking.

      1. No, they still have the edge. They were quiet for some time though. Probably fell asleep. Quiet engines woke them up, I guess…

    17. I think the feelings F1 won’t be better yet.

    18. If the FIA really wanted to make F1 cars sound better they would have re-routed the exhaust forward into new 50 element calliope front wings. That way the drivers could pick from a set of different calliope sounds while racing to reflect their mood and personality. They could play the trumpeting “CHARGE” sound when passing and a sad noise after they spin out. This would also serve to counterbalance the turbulent air coming off the car in front of them by blowing calliope turbulence at their opponent in front of them. This could be called CTS – Calliope Turbulence System and would be used on the parts of the track where DRS is not allowed. They could blow their competition away and make it more fun for the fans too! This would exclude the need for other more obvious and logical solutions to make better racing in F1.

    19. ‘Penalties for power unit and gearbox changes, which were also amended earlier this year, will now “be applied based on the time of use”’

      can someone please explain this change?

      1. @sato113 They are just changing the rules on penalty applications, for which anyone would likely need a degree in ‘penalty application management’ to fully understand.

        1. so the first car to use a new gearbox during a weekend will be penalised first basically? the next car to change will have a penalty applied after the first car has been demoted on the grid. ala Japan 2009.

    20. The sound has improved this year. More close racing amongst the leaders is what we want actually.

      1. Nice videos, shows how the sounds is louder than how the TV broadcasters turn it down to speak over it.

      2. Mmm…..Still sounds pants though, I mean, do you remember how they used to sound?

    21. A new level of silly from F1. The low level of noise makes it possible to hear the car, brakes and tires work. Instead we apparently want an utterly useless sound to drown it all out.

      This is a step backwards.

      1. Not according to some of the fans who think the louder the car the faster the car. I witnessed my first F1 race here in Austin in 2012. The sound was beyond awesome and I loved it but it was loud. The next years came the new package and you’re right, it still was loud but we could now here the braking and tires. Sound doesn’t make a car fast…

    22. A key part of this change is also that it gives Honda free reign to change their turbo, as they can’t make the exhaust and waste-gate two separate exit pipes. So, they are allowed a token-less change, which means they can spend the rest of their tokens on fixing the ERS.

      They should be able to achieve a 2014-2015 Ferrari type jump at the very least; lets hope they don’t look this gift-horse in the mouth and get it right..

    23. This measure has been undertaken to increase the noise of the cars

      I think this is totally unnecessary. There are a lot of unprotected ears near a race track, e.g. spectators, wildlife, pets, fish, etc. While it is easy for some animals, e.g. birds, to relocate, for others it isn’t possible, so they have to endure three days of agony.
      At the last GP some commentators commented how much more pleasurable it was to attend a race with the lower noise levels, and that the spectators could actually hear messages on the PA. I really don’t see how this can be considered safe for the drivers and people that have to stand close to the track, wouldn’t this cause some sort of hearing impediment? I would have thought the teams had to comply with some standardised Health and Safety regulations of some sort or other, but they seem to have an exemption for excessively loud noise. How are people in the pitlane supposed to communicate in an emergency?

      1. digitalrurouni
        2nd October 2015, 20:06

        +1 I am ok with the sound actually. SO much better than last years. Not only because of the volume or whatever they did but it’s just better overall.

    24. This editorial line

      having determined they will not reduce the performance

      doesn’t match with the actual quote given

      will not have any significant effect on power


      The quote says there will be a minor effect on power. The editorial says there will be zero effect on performance. My opinion: noise is wasted energy therefore there will be a very small effect on power/performance.

    25. The current engines sound great to me! Complex, deep with a high pitched finish and completely whacky, a bit like pod racer meets kitchen blender. I well remember my last F1 visit to Silverstone in the V8 era. Two hours of banshee buzz saws was enough for me and I suffered a headcache for days afterwards it was so relentless. I cannot imagine anyone enjoying being subjected to that for long periods – the sound had absolutely no dimension, the engines all sounded the same compared to an early Cosworth DFV rev limited to around 12,000 rpm which was far more ‘musical..’

      In my humble opinion, naturally!

    26. I really don’t get it, I feel it is a very unnecessary change.
      The noise is more than ok, and allows to hear track commentary and exchange some words about the race with your wife and kids.
      Noisier cars means ear protections and spending the race alone, so what’s the point?

    27. This wouldn’t be necessary if the broadcasters would actually make the cars audible. It’s been almost two years and the commentators still drown out the engines.

    28. I often see comments about the volume between what FOM produce & what the broadcasters end up playing out to us once the commentary has been mixed in & all that.

      I have uploaded some stuff from the highlights feed that FOM send out (But that most broadcasters sadly don’t take) which includes the raw audio track:

      Thanks to a certain website I have also been able to download some of the sessions from the raw satellite feeds that are coming directly from FOM & will say that the audio volume & quality is a lot better on those compared to what i’ve heard on Sky & the BBC once there commentary tracks have been mixed onto them.

      1. Thanks for these

    29. digitalrurouni
      1st October 2015, 19:10

      I really don’t have any problem with the current sound. What i have a problem with is all the heat management and tire management and the stupid 4 engine rule. I have a problem with drivers having to turn the engines down during the race and having to ask “Mommy can I use the overtake button?” I hate the eggshell crap tires that overheat like crazy and have these stupid PSI rules for the tires. Have 1 engine for 2 races, bring on wider, fatter, grippier tires, up the fuel flow rate change the aero to make the cars not be so aero dependent. Make the cars wider, make the rear wing lower and wider. Keep the DRS, keep the energy recovery etc etc up the fuel flow a bit more so that they can still finish the race on a 100 kilos of fuel. I understand that fuel efficiency is not really a concern anymore since other than McLaren every car can finish the race. I don’t see as much fuel saving going on this year as it was last year.

      1. Keep the DRS

        I was with you on everything up until that.

        DRS would be the 1st thing I got rid of because its done nothing but generate easy, boring highway passes & devalued the art of overtaking to the point where overtakes means practically nothing in F1 anymore. Worse still its spreading like a cancer down to the lower categories.

        Additionally poll’s & fan survey’s show the majority of fans are against its use & you see after races that fans don’t like the highway passes the artificial gimmick produces…. It has no place in F1 or anywhere else!

        1. digitalrurouni
          2nd October 2015, 20:03

          yeah DRS is a bit of a hot topic. But I don’t mind it because of my experience in playing the F1 video games hehe it’s kind of a challenge tactically to have a large enough gap or maybe save the energy for deployment and then deploy it fully on the straight but that also means it’s harder to defend the rest of the track cause I used up all my energy. But yeah DRS passing is easier no doubt.

    30. I’m not understanding how so many people are now opposed to them getting us (closer) to the old good engine sounds we all enjoyed in the past? The muffled space age vacuum cleaner sound of these past two years is horrifically bad not only to longer term fans such as myself but all the masses that we want to be attracted to motorsports. I’ve not heard any casual fan say they like this current engine sound better than the good old days. This is a good step in my opinion and I’m glad they listened to the vast majority of the fan base which wanted the noise back in F1.

    31. I think this has been done to enable Honda to change their turbo design without using any tokens!!!!!!

    32. Sounds to me like the FIA have found a way to enable Honda and Renault to catch up. i.e. all engine manufacturers are allowed to change turbo without any tokens used!!!!! So the tokens all teams have for 2016 can be used for things other than turbo changes.
      Nice one FIA.

    33. I was drawn to motor racing by the sounds and smells….I can still hear the sound the Ferrari V-12’s made exiting Tertre Rouge onto the 3. 5 mile Mulsanne Straight. Each up shift echoing off the trees….WHHHAAAA – WHHAAA – whhaaaa….that was 1964.

      Ten years from now, let alone 50 +, will anyone recall with any degree of delight the lower tonal scale duck farting SPLAT made by today’s F 1 engines?

      Probably, the same people at Disney who after announcing they had signed Johnny Depp (the actor women of all ages think is gorgeous) to star in “The Lone Ranger and Tonto”, proceeded to cover his entire face in white and black stripes and stuck a dead bird on top of his head for good measure.

      Is there any truth to the rumor that the collective brain trust at McLaren / Honda already pitched a similar tech “up grade” to Alonso and Button?

    34. Surely the easiest way to increase the exhaust noise is to allow two exhaust tailpipes rather than the mandated one?

    35. I believe the main reason that the noise change has gone for the wastegate change is so that Honda and Renault can have a free turbo redesign and then they can use their tokens on other areas that they desperately need. Honda need a complete turbo redesign, a new energy store, and a better MGU-K not to mention the IC changes they need.

    36. Louder is definitely not better.. Horrible is not less horrible if it is louder!! Can not make a turbo anything sound sweet like a natural aspirated 8 or 10 or 12!! I can not decide if this rule(?) is more absurd or less absurd than the helmet rule!!!!! Thanks, Norris

    37. I wish there could have been any better way to say this but this is simply retarded.

      F1 cars, the pinnacle of Motorsport engineering, are faking noise…

      what’s next? putting loudspeakers on them and play sound from the V10 era?

    38. Ridiculous. What’s next? Sparkling rims?

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