Louder engines could lead to return of exhaust-blowing next year

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In the round-up: Exhaust-blown diffusers could return in 2016 due to plans intended to make F1 engines louder.


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Comment of the day

Should technological development in F1 be constrained to make the sport more of a contest between drivers? @Drmouse says no:

I, for one, want to see both on-track racing and technological development, both at the highest standard.

If people want to see pure driver-on-driver racing, they need to be watching a spec series. F1 is a team sport, and the engineers (at the track and back in the factory) are just as important as the drivers. While F1 allows (in fact, forces) teams to develop their own cars, there will always be an ebb and flow between driver and car importance, and there will always be the possibility for one car to make a significant breakthrough.

Now, I am not saying there are no problems with the rules as they stand. But saying “people want to see drivers racing” is an argument for making F1 a spec or almost-spec (severely limited, even more than it is today) series. This would lose my interest pretty quickly.

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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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62 comments on “Louder engines could lead to return of exhaust-blowing next year”

  1. Has the FIA abandoned F1 in a vain attempt to pursue road safety? Where is Jean Todt?
    If this were still Max then he’d be everywhere.

    I do think nothing will be achieved in this meeting since Mercedes can veto everything.

    1. “Where is Jean” busy working on his “Legion of Honor”, or maybe it’s the Nobel prize or sainthood, probably all of the above.

      1. Yes, I think people forget the FIA has more things to do than just F1.

        1. And some people seem to forget that road safety is not up to the FIA and they can’t really change or influence anything outside their jurisdiction.

      2. Jean Todt is using the Fia for his own promotion and interest.
        Too many problems in F1. Getting involved can damage his image.
        His engineers should be fired for having done this nonsense of regulations.

    2. ColdFly F1 (@)
      14th October 2015, 8:25

      Not trying to defend Todd, as he hardly deserves that.
      But calling out some hypocrisy from our side. First many say that F1 should not be a slave to Russian propaganda, and when Todd does exactly what many hoped, then we say he should have done the opposite!

      1. +1.

        Todd is right, if I could I’d avoid Putin too.

        1. Putin put Russia on the Formula 1 map. Whether we agree or disagree on his political standpoints or actions is not the point. Sadly, many seem to let political feelings get in the way. He has embraced Formula 1 with open arms (whatever be his reasons for it) and Sochi is a fine, fine venue for racing. I truly enjoyed the race and Putin welcoming the top three drivers was extraordinary.

          Formula 1 is neither a slave to Russian propaganda nor a slave to American or European propaganda. Formula 1 is about racing. Period! Whoever does a good job at hosting a race must be applauded, unless of course he is Hitler, Pol Pot or Idi Amin!

  2. So in order to stop Bernie wingeing on endlessly about the reduced decibels of the turbo-hybrid, they are now going to mandate a separate exhaust pipe for the wastegate, said wastegate is well named, any gas being expelled through the wastegate is energy wasted, energy that could have been harvested by the mgu-h, so in theory extra piping is being required to make noise from gas that should not be generated in the 1st.place. Now on top of this pointlessness, it has been suggested that this theoretical gas can be used to “blow” the diffuser, ridiculous or not all the teams are now going to have to research this possibility and try to decide whether the “waste” energy would be more beneficially used driving the mgu-h or the diffuser. Meanwhile Bernie accuses the teams of being able to budget properly.

    1. OOps,…. being unable to budget.

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        14th October 2015, 8:34

        Isn’t this the best solution short of solving famine in Africa.
        Finally FIA proposes a use of these ‘wasted’ gasses.
        Combusting fuel can now: 1) drive crankshaft; 2) spin turbo; 3) drive MGU-H; and 4) ‘blow’ diffuser.

        PS: we have the waste-gate already in the current PU, but routed through the main exhaust!

    2. If they try to exploit that very limited scope of effect it will be quickly discovered how useless/expensive it is. This rule seems to have a sole purpose to reduce the size of main exhaust pipe – ( if you ask me I would do them in concentric shape). After two years of new PU regulations and over sized exhaust pipe I still wonder why is no one using it to blow monkey wing, to improve cooling of the car ( I think Ferrari is on verge of that idea ) , hence reducing the size of sidepods and overall drag. However, common application today follows USB principle ( Upper surface blowing – inverted in this case ).
      When I saw it for the first time I thought of one airplane, experimental though: YC-14. Many well documented studies where made about USB and it never yielded desired effect. Flow separation when flaps down was the main reason. I’m sure it happens with monkey seat at high revs as well. When aviation abandons a concept, with a good reason, in my opinion it has no purpose tu put it on F1 car. I think that F1 is over regulated already. One more silly rule has the only purpose to extend that. Hence blowing away more spectators from the sport.

      1. I’m sure the position of the monkey seat allows it to benefit from some blowing, but teams can’t blow exhaust gases off throttle like they could back in 2011. I remember Vettel’s monkey seat melted in Sinagapore 2014, perhaps due to exhaust heat.

    3. There is a wastegate currently too @hohum just its fed back into the single exhaust pipe (a late change to the regulations that had originally planned on having a seperate wastegate outlet). And i am not too sure it will really do a lot for extra noise.

      All in all, I am not too sure many teams are going to use this to blow off engery to a great amount, altough its sure that some of them will try and use it for qualifying. For the race, the fuel limit would prevent extensive use on most tracks.

      But you are right that it will have everyone trying to route their wastegate somewhere to get that miniscule advantage it might bring, just as they are currently using exhaust gasses to help the rear wing. Another good one for cost saving, and leveling the playing field, isn’t it.

      1. All in all, I am not too sure many teams are going to use this to blow off engery to a great amount

        This will depend entirely on the rules regarding positioning, and what aero advantage they can gain.

        If it is found that they can make a significant aero gain through dumping more through the wastegate, they will do so. They will have more control over this than previous blown designs, too, especially as they could still keep the turbo running using battery power through the MGU-H.

        Depending on how the can exploit it, it could give them a very useful system.

        1. … and use it like a switch, why not indeed. Blownon the diffuser in the corners, and MGU-H -harvested in the straights.

    4. Firstly, Giorgio doesn’t actually go as far to say that the diffuser may be blown “some exhaust-blowing effect into the car’s rear aerodynamic structures”. He’s being deliberately provocative… but it does beg the question where will the exhaust be placed? I actually took a look at this myself just after the WMSC made the changes: http://www.somersf1.co.uk/2015/10/a-gateway-to-more-noise.html

      The problem is that Giorgio (and everyone else) is speculating without actually seeing the reworded regulations. I firmly believe that the wastegate/screamer outlet will actually have to reside along the cars centreline just like the current setup (and the interim draft of the regulations before they were changed to a singular outlet).

      This will undoubtedly have aero implications but not as vast as any that would arise from a carte blance placement. I suspect we’ll see a rise in the teams approach to winglets mounted to the crash structure (like Mercedes and Ferrari already have and to some degree the wedge winglet Red Bull ran in 2014), whilst the crash structure shape itself will also come under scrutiny.

      1. On on that note I’ve just noticed a new set of regulations were prescribed yesterday.

        They may now have one exhaust outlet and upto 2 wastegates outlets. Most critically though, the placement remains on the cars centreline (no more than 100mm from it) and between 350 and 550mm above the reference plane.

  3. Completely agree with the COTD and I don’t know why people say that drivers are becoming less important, if that was the case then at the end of each year the drivers points would be neatly distributed in pairs according to the constructors positions but we always see a couple of them stand out compared to their teammates and beat others with supposedly better machinery.

    1. Me too, it is the technical development that makes F1 the pinnacle of motorsport.

    2. @mantresx @hohum I’m with you guys. Anyone that knows me, knows that I’m all for the unique F1 model, where teams build their own chassis. It adds a special dimension, where we can see Red Bull fighting near the front at Singapore this year because their car suited that particular track, imagine if everyone ran the same chassis, that race would have been a continued Mercedes domination as everyone else would have suffered the same issues as the Mercs did with tyres or whatever BS they were blaming for that track.

  4. I doubt the teams would want to do much exhaust blowing because woudl I be right in thinking that it would see them use a bit more fuel?

    I also think i’d be right in thinking that it would be wasted energy that they could be putting back into the hybrid system & I believe the energy they can harvest from the turbo system is also unrestricted.

    1. The article is quite vague.

      What it could do, however, is open the door to the return of some exhaust-blowing effect into the car’s rear aerodynamic structures

      Is the rear aero structure the diffuser, or do they just mean that the exhaust can be used to energise the air moving over the rear wing ?
      I think you’re probably right about the fuel issue, if they’re saving fuel at some races I’m not sure they’d want or be able to carry more fuel.

      It would be ironic if a rule intended to improve the sound lead to the return of off throttle blowing, it’s possibly the worst noise an F1 car could make (under normal operating conditions).

      1. Ouuuh yes please! Blown Diffusers always worked so well for VET, think that could help him next year! :D

  5. I had no idea Anthony Hamilton was a Jedi Master.

    More seriously, just lolz. Seriously. Maybe they should try dumping ‘The Hype’ down the rear diffuser, probably realize better gains. Sigh.

  6. The comment of the day is right on, I feel. Drivers are important, but so is the technological aspect, and if you remove that you change the very nature of F1. Certainly I like racing, and I would probably still watch it, but removing the constructors’ side of things would remove a huge part of what makes it more interesting to me than other series.

  7. But saying “people want to see drivers racing” is an
    argument for making F1 a spec or almost-spec (severely limited, even more than it is today) series. This would lose my interest pretty quickly.

    Frankly I dont agree with this in the COTD. drivers dont have to be in the same cars to race! and in the same breath the engineers and designers shouldnt be restricted in their pursuit of technological advancements.

    1. Frankly I dont agree with this in the COTD. drivers dont have to be in the same cars to race!

      I agree. However, if we focus too much on the on track racing (something which many are doing), the natural reaction of the powers that be will be for a harsh swing toward spec (implementing even more restrictions, maybe introducing standardised designs). This is what I have seen with most other areas of F1 recently: “People are complaining, quick, do something!”, followed by a badly thought out sticking plaster solution.

      1. *Sorry, that was I agree that drivers don’t have to be in the same car to race.

        1. Absolutely right @drmouse there are too many comments from people demanding an instant fix for the wrong problems, I suspect that for many of them the 2.4L V8s are the good old days.

  8. Why not just ease the current fuel regulations so the teams can afford to rev the engines higher?

    1. That would be way to easy why would F1 ever wanna go for the smart way of doing things?

      1. More fuel or bigger engines are indeed the easy way, but there is no value to a manufacturer in designing engines that simply burn more fuel or are just bigger, the justification for a manufacturer to invest part of it’s R&D budget in F1 is all about developing smaller, more powerful and fuel efficient powertrains that have technologies useful in their core products ie. roadcars, MB certainly seem to have the best turbocharged engines (easily eclipsing BMW) available on the road at the moment and I think it is highly unlikely that no useful information has passed from the race-engine team to the road-engine team.

        1. That’s a very good point. My goodness, how things have changed.

        2. @hohum – The advantage comes in being able to carry less fuel which translates into lower lap times so there is still a value to making the engine more efficient even in the absence of fuel limits. There are also two fuel limits; getting rid of the flow rate limit may lead to more interesting racing as it would allow more freedom to choose when to use most power form the PU.

          1. getting rid of the flow rate limit may lead to more interesting racing as it would allow more freedom to choose when to use most power form the PU

            Getting rid of the fuel flow rate limit would cause manufacturers to use much more boost, and we would see much more powerful engines. I’m not saying this is necessarily a bad thing, but it is there as an equivalent to the rev limit in a naturally aspirated engine*.

            There may be a better way to do it, for example continuing the fuel limit “slope” upwards further, limitting boost, or just setting a blanket fuel flow limit.

            * In a natasp, the amount of air is limited by the size of the cylinder and the revs, and the amount of fuel is limited by the amount of air. In a turbo, the amount of air is increased by the turbo boost pressure, which increases the amount of fuel which can be burned. If we accept the premise of a rev limit being necessary, which was accepted in the V8 days by many, we must also accept that we need some type of limit on air flow. At the moment, this is accomplished by the fuel flow limit, but we would need an alternative without this.

      2. it wouldn’t be very smart for Mercedes to allow more fuel/revs. Merc has the rest of the fish in a barrel right now. The barrel is the rule book.

    2. An easier route to get more noise (and probably more efficient and less costly) would be to install speakers that play engine sounds like BMW do in some of their higher performance cars @mangyblacksheep, @pcxmerc, @hohum.

      As for putting more fuel in the cars, I am not sure that would change much apart from qualifying. Teams are already underfuelling where possible to save weight that slows down the car.

      1. Theres a difference between putting more fuel in the car and allowing a higher fuel flow.

        1. Especially with the OFF THROTTLE blowing that proved to be so powerfull in recent years fuel flow would not be an issue at all @rethla, because its used when the flow would otherwise be almost 0 already.

          Blowing while on throttle is hindered mostly by the energy that is used by the turbo. The teams currently use what they get in flow already to enhance the rear wing and winglets around the exhaust. With extra outlets they can play around a bit with it, but it will still be limited from placement and total amount of fuel they can waste on this.

      2. ColdFly F1 (@)
        14th October 2015, 8:40

        install speakers

        Why not replace the earplugs fans were using until 2013 with headphones which plays engine sounds?

        1. nah, then you would have to give them ear plugs for free to make sure they hear it @coldfly

  9. I don’t believe there are sufficient benefits in having louder exhausts to warrant their return. Surely the reduced loudness is safer and a bit more comfortable for the ears in close proximity to the race track.

    1. @drycrust That’s far too logical and sensible for F1 to accept! It just doesn’t work with Bernie’s view of ‘the show’ needing artificial rain, joker laps and double points races.
      Sometimes I think the best way to make the sound louder is to employ teams of actors with microphones shouting “Eeeeeeyow!” at various points around the track; it makes as much sense as anything else. Maybe that’s what Mateshitz has in mind for his ex-employees.

    2. Have you been to a track to watch a race?

      I watched this years Melbourne GP with no ear plugs in and yes the comfort and being able to talk to my fellow fans was nice. But I’d trade all of that for the wail of a V10. I can be comfortable in bed and talk to friends after the race.

      Sound isn’t the be-all-and-end-all of F1, but it does add to the experience.

      1. Exactly…..

        The current noiseless F1 means nearly all the atmosphere and soul is lost at the track. The safety cay makes a better noise and is actually louder, which is just embarrassing. I realize these cars are an engineering marvel, but they are viscerally lacking, in a very big way.

        And this business some folks bring up of noise being ‘wasted energy’ is just ridiculous. It is ALL ‘wasted energy’! It’s a sport, it is supposed to be entertainment. All of it is ‘wasted’, traveling to the race, wasted energy, spraying Champagne, wasted energy!

  10. F1 need not be a spec series, but the current format is horrible. Other engines should be allowed to improve, same chance should be given to merc to improve aswell. however i think manufactures should be totally banned from owning a team… we should have manufacturing companies supplies engines to private owned teams… around 3 to 4 teams per manufacturing co. & add engine manufacturing title to constructors & drivers titles, motivating engine makers to supply same spec engines to all team so they can earn their titles.

    1. So bye bye Ferrari.

    2. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      14th October 2015, 9:19

      I disagree. I think the solution is to distribute revenue separately for manufacturers and teams, such that if Merc won the title, they get the team payments and the manufacturer payment, but were Williams to win, they would get the team payment, but Merc would still get paid for being the winning manufacturer.
      A distibution program along these lines would keep manufacturers invested in the success of their customer teams, and less inclined to dump everything on the works team and hold everything back from the necessary-evil customer teams, as it would cost them revenue.

      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        14th October 2015, 9:26


        The fundemental problem with F1, is that it can’t decide if it is a maunfacturers championship or an independent teams championship, so we have both types of team at loggerheads, with one wanting to develop like crazy, and the other wanting massive cost restrictions, and FOM caught in the middle trying to please everyone (or having to side with manufacturers as they hold more sway).

        Splitting the revenue along the lines described above I feel could solve this issue, perhaps I’m being naive and oversimplifying, what do you guys think?

        1. The problem is always the same. The ones with money can start spending like crazy and win just by money sakes. This limits the competition and the candidates of entering F1 since very few will be willing to throw such money.

  11. “You either are or you’re not. I’m not there yet. That’s what my Dad would always say. You either do or you don’t and I don’t yet.”

    Yoda, not papa Hamilton.

  12. Kimi Räikkönen, my hero, The 2007 Formula 1 World Champion is now a Ferrari test driver.

  13. ColdFly F1 (@)
    14th October 2015, 8:51

    James Allen reviews the options open to RBR (link)
    I put my money on RBR-Renault next year, and Bernie/Todd opening up the equalization trick box!

  14. Thank you for the COTD @keithcollantine! Never expected it for that comment.

    For the rest, I do hope the restrictions on engine development can be lifted, or at least relaxed, next year. I believe this is the best, fairest way to allow the other mfrs to catch up with Merc. Most other potential solutions which have been proposed would amount to a sticking plaster approach, and would be unfair (in my eyes). Allow them enough freedom to catch up: Merc will experience diminishing returns from their engine development efforts, and they will always be looking for the most performance they can get from their budget.

  15. All this, when, to increase noise, they could have simply allowed teams to increase the RPMs, and carry/burn a little bit more fuel.

    1. Would make the cars faster and bring laptimes down at the same time as well. All that with just one simple solution, but in F1 style, they are going to bring in 10 overcomplicated rules, which will have added 100 undesired side-effects, which they will then try to mitigate with another 10 ovecomplicated rules. That’s how the clowns at FIA do things.

  16. I don’t like these ideas.

  17. I’m just tired of things being banned and re-introduced and the rules keeping on twisting and turning. I just can’t figure out what’s wrong with the present engines. And extra exhaust just for making the sound? Sounds extremely gimmicky to me…When will these rules ever stabilize? And now EBD (exhaust blown diffusers) could be back again?

    Also read on Autosport that they want to reduce the tyre width by 25mm from the ones they originally proposed for 2017. That would take some aggressiveness away from the looks though the tyres would still be wider than now. They make exciting suggestions and then they backtrack on them. Tiring indeed to be a fan now…

  18. I like the idea of proper noisy racing engines, but increasing the level of what we have now is akin to polishing a turd. There is no point and it is not pleasant. As has been stated about, more revs will help though.

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