Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016

Engines still not loud enough – Vettel

2016 F1 season

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Sebastian Vettel says F1’s engine have got louder this year but believes they need to increase the volume further.

Changes to the exhaust configuration have been required by the rules in 2016 in an attempt to increase the noise produced by the current generation of V6 turbo hybrids.

“About the engine, I can say it is nice to have a bit more sound coming back,” said Vettel after the second day of testing. “It is still not as loud as it could or should be but it is a lot better than it was, now sounds a bit more like Formula One.”

Vettel revealed he had an off-track moment during today’s second session, in which he was fastest for the second day running. He said he was pleased with the feedback from the new SF16-H but added it is “crucial that Kimi [Raikkonen] has a similar impression” when his team mate drives the car for the first time tomorrow.

“We tried to understand how the car reacts, obviously we had an idea and certain expectation, but when you run the car on track it is always a bit different, you are then dealing with temperatures, cooling etc…”

“Sometimes you have to stop a bit longer than necessary or than you really want, just to check, other times the driver goes off track, like I did this morning. But these things happen. Overall we are happy, but we know that we need now a lot of mileage, so there is a lot of work ahead of us. ”

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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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33 comments on “Engines still not loud enough – Vettel”

  1. i’d rather the current quieter yet more powerful engines that have a lot of torque & actually challenge the drivers than those crappy v8s which while really loud produced next to no torque & gave drivers a much easier time when they put there foot on the gas.

    according to the engine guys these current engines are already more powerful than the crappy v8s & even the older v10s, the mercedes & ferrari’s are said to be over 900bhp & let us not forget that they are aiming at making 1,000bhp for next season.

    anyway i shall be at the test next week as i make my annual trip to spain to visit the wife’s family so i’ll be able to give a trackside opinion of how these wonderful bits of kit sound.

    1. I assume you have never attended a single Gran Prix during the old days. I recall Gran Prix of Hungary in Budapest in 2009. That was extremely awesome to hear 20 cars rushing to the first corner. I will never forget that experience.
      Sound is/was nearly a single reason why you would come to a track to watch the F1 race. You cannot get to drivers, you cannot talk to any team member. But you could listen to the great sound.
      Now, GP2 is louder than Formula 1, and that is really bad, because the top racing series must be at the top in every aspect. People always loved great sound, and current F1 has to improve on this.
      I like how the new engines brawl, they are very interesting, especially on down-shifting. But I hate watching an F1 race since I only hear commentators, not the race.
      As for the current sound, I get controversial information from different sources. Someone (British guy from Sky?) told there is no difference, but I have just read on f1i.com this

      Certains relevés font état de 108 décibels aux sorties d’échappements contre 96 en 2015, mais des études acoustiques laissent entendre que le gain pourrait atteindre 18 décibels.

      A gain 12 up to 18 dB is a good thing and it should be easily noticeable.

      1. @sviat i’ve attended hundreds of f1 races & test sessions going back to when i started following it in the mid 70s.

        1. @RogerA

          I must say I am astonished when I hear a phrase like ‘crappy V8’s……….Sure, the V8’s were not quite as good as the V10’s, and no match for the Ferrari V12, but compared with the strimmers we have now, they were awesome.

          1. In which regard? Look at the top speeds now and a few years ago. V8 was sh#t.

          2. @zomtec

            Ah, how simple this would be if this was only about top speed. We could just send 22 Veyrons around…….

          3. More powerful, more efficient, more usable powerband… Use less fuel.

            Excluding quali engines from 80s, these are the greatest engines motosport has ever seen.

          4. @jureo

            Until you visit a circuit and hear them………

          5. @paulguitar, it all depends who you ask – for example, the photographer Darren Heath, an individual who has spent most of his time in close proximity to the cars, is hugely in favour of the newer engines over the V8’s (to him, whilst the old V8’s might have been loud, it was a tuneless thrashing noise that was about as pleasant to listen to as white noise).

          6. @paulguitar

            Ah, how simple this would be if this was only about top speed. We could just send 22 Veyrons around…….

            But that’s a bit like saying that if one cared only about the sound one might as well go to a concert.

            Actually you get both at some races…..

          7. @davidnotcoulthard

            Fair enough, really I was making a response to @zomtec who had said that the V8’s were crap due to having a lower top speed than the hybrids, which seemed simplistic.

            @anon Yes, I suspect that quite a few people who work in the sport full-time feel the same way as Darren Heath. I am sure the current cars are a welcome relief if you have to be at every session, but most people who pay to visit I imagine do so no more than one or two races per year on average, and most who I chatted with at Barcelona on 2014, so far my only visit to a hybrid era race, were very disappointed in the lack of spectacle. It was a really dull race too, although Lewis won which cheered me up a bit….:)

      2. According to Pat Symonds calculations with the new waste gate exhaust regulations the engines will be about 12% louder which will equate to about one DB more in loudness. The loudness will only be heard when the engines are being used in “free load” mode, (waste gate/s open, exhaust gasses bypassing turbo, turbo in electric mode, MGU-H and MGU-K sharing ES power, for max possible HP output), that mode is mostly used in qualifying were fuel consumption is not a problem. In first day of testing Renault were running with one waste gate exhaust pipe, while red bull were running with two. These present engines are the most powerful formula one engine ever, more powerful than the three litre V10’S while using 100kg of fuel as against 170kg the V10’S used.

  2. The main problem (for those like me, who dislike the sound of the current PUs) is pitch, not volume.

    There’s just no fixing that issue with a six cylinder, relatively low revving engine with a giant muffler (also called a turbo) attached.

    1. Right, they don’t sound angry and never will. We could always replace the MGU-H with a traditional anti-lag system! :) Being serious though, I don’t think the ‘mild’ sound is a reason to rush and change the engine config again. These engines are the most high-tech and efficient F1 has ever seen, by a long long way.

      1. Well, we’ve got the whole rev limiter thing going, which has been coming down progressively since the V12 era. Is it even possible to get the 6 cyls revving to 20krpm? I’m sure that would make a significant and positive difference to the engine note if it were… NNNNNNNYYYYYYOOORMMMmmmmmm

        1. Keith, the practical rev limit on the current V6 engines (circa 12,500-13,000rpm) is not that far below what the V12’s from the 1990’s used to rev to – the manufacturers of most of those engines, such as Honda or Ferrari, mostly claimed rev limits around 13,000rpm in that era (though admittedly Ferrari did develop later versions of their V12 which had a claimed rev limit of around 14,500rpm).

          1. True, but at the same RPM, a twelve cylinder engine will have twice as many firing cycles per second as a six cylinder.

            Which is why, to most motoring ears, more cylinders sound better.

          2. This video was from years ago, and believed to be the V6 turbo tested in a LaFerrari prototype. Is it the V6 just revving up to 15/16k rpm? (best sound from 1:30)
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=od3H6Jxisfk

          3. If it wasn’t for the inclusion of the maximum rpm at which the maximum fuel flow rate could be used, these PU’S would have been designed to run the mandated maximum fuel flow rate at a much lower rpm, because the volume/quantity would have been greater at lower rpm and as the rules does not mandate a maximum boost pressure, a much higher boost pressure would have been able to be use, which despite the lower rpm would produce more power output. Remember that boost is only limited by the fuel flow and not by the rules directly. These PU’S and any engine for that matter, always runs at over what is called “max power speed” in today’s PU’S case the max power speed is 10500rpm, in the V8 era it was 17500rpm, above the max power speed no engine will produce any additional power.

    2. Yep.. Pitch – not volume, people!

      …Anything can be loud.

      The revving speed of the engine denotes the sophistication of the technology, the rarity of the experience (as most engines that volumus don’t rev that high) and the sheer untamed, animal-like aggression of the power delivery from 0-21k. Anyone hearing that can feel the rush.

      It’s not frikkin’ rocket science to why it’s so appealing… or how to keep that side of things in the formula for the future while maintaining cost and conservation values.

      … oh yeah and an audience.

      There, I said it.

    3. @tdog

      I agree with you. It is as much the lack of revs as the lack of actual sound. They just sound totally uninspiring…….

  3. Anyone knows how fast the engines are reving up now? Is it true that they are not reaching the max rev speed allowed because the power is delivered at lower rpm??

    1. @mijail To my knowledge 15,000 rpm rev limiter, but drivers over the last two years shift up at 12,000 rpm – due to the way the power is delivered, the fuel restrictions, and the engine life/reliability regulations. Though if the Codemasters F1 games are any sign, the noise benefit from those extra 3,000 revs isn’t really there.

      As @tdog said, pitch is the real problem. Though I’d honestly prefer F1 keep this engine formula and ditch chasing “proper” engine noise.

      1. in F1 racing drivers “shift-up” is done between the max power speed and max rpm, in a “NA” engine the difference was always 500 rpm, with a turbocharged engine that difference in rpm is always higher, normally double that of a “NA” engine. in both cases (turbocharged and NA engines) no more power is possible to produce beyond the max power speed, because in both cases the fuel/air ratio will start to run lean/lean-out, in the case of the turbocharged engine because of the max fuel flow restriction, and in the case of the NA engine because the max designed air flow will start to diminish.

    2. The regs specify a maximum of 15,000rpm. However, since the introduction of the hybrid PUs, the practical rev limit has been 12,500rpm. None of the manufacturers go beyond that limit. With a fuel flow limit of 100kg/hr it’s pointless revving any higher – you’re just increasing friction losses for no additional power.

  4. Rachel Brookes was saying they’re 128 decibels now (at 1 metre I’m guessing, and directly behind though she diidn’t say). That’s quite loud enough for me.

    The pitch is a taste thing I suppose, with a lot of it being about associations. Personally I find the old screaming sounds a bit stupid by comparison with the current sound.

    1. Ah 108 not 128.

  5. There’s more to F1 thank just the noise! It’s a different sound, get used to it and concentrate in the more serious problems, like the tyres, DRS and Aero packages.

  6. And the award for ‘Best Photograph to Accompany an Online News Article’ go too…………

    1. He’s supposed to be smiling, and why is he trying block the sound if he loves the high volume so much?
      Maybe the track could just put the sound of the cars passing the stadium onto a low power FM radio transmitter, then if someone really wants the sound levels that high while at the race track they can listen in to it with their smartphones, and they can have it at any level they like. There are ears that don’t have a choice about being there, and they might not actually enjoy the pain, nor appreciate the life long disability.

  7. Increase the revs and the fuel flow. Problem solved.

  8. I attend a lot of races from the sixties to 2010 and thinking back i liked the big vrooms (60-80) much beter then screeming sounds. (90-10) The sounds last year were different a bit during the first turbo era but silent if you understand what i mean.
    I understand they changed their pipes from one exit to two exit pipes that should give better sounds.

  9. To me they have slowly ruined formula 1! The v10 era was the best , those engines were as powerful as today’s v6 efforts and a lot lot cheaper the mind boggles!!!!

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