How do the new engines sound at the track?

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    I’m looking to get some feedback on the sound of the new engines from fans who’ve seen this year’s cars in action for a forthcoming feature.

    If you’ve been to an F1 race or test session this year, please share your views on the sound of the new engines below if you have any.

    How do the new cars compare to other generations of F1 cars you’ve heard? Has it altered what else you can hear at the track – tyre noise, track announcers and so on? Has it had any effect on whether you’ll go to F1 events in the future?

    Let us know which tracks you’ve been to this year and what you think of the new sound of F1. I’m notifying the following users about this thread as I believe they are among those who have been to races this year:

    @smitsy @99redballoons @angiem @dealgan @dave-s @henry-2 @lmellings @dinalli @overshadowed @davids @scottie @mwyndo7 @orbital2005 @plushpile @Garns @mpj1994 @girlf1fan @commonmonsoon @aus_steve @jonnylonny @funkyf1 @jenkins @cubby @thebladerunner @pravesh @jevo @f1madmatt @t-man @toolmansteve99 @gregkingston @mclarentastic @gregwtravels @darthsaku @lak @kbrbabe @olpeculier @merven @adityafakhri @toby


    I was at Melbourne, and yes, the sound is much quieter than previous years. However I honestly prefer it, theres no need for earplugs because they aren’t at deafening screaming levels and even more better because the engines are quieter you can hear the tyres and in my opinion actually get more enjoyment because its not all overrun by the engines, you can hear everything else as well. And yes, you can hear the announcers, obviously not when cars are right at your point on the track, but unlike previous years

    Also, I prefer the engine note this year as it sounds more like a proper engine, you can hear the revs change as they are accelerating and breaking. Last year it was just an increase in the pitch of the scream.

    Obviously others will disagree but overall I think they sound better, especially live.

    Andy Donnelly

    I was lucky enough to attend the first race of the season at Melbourne.

    Eager to hear the noise of the new engines, first thing you noticed was they were a lot quieter, however the next thing you noticed was you could hear the sound of the crowd, the tyres and the sound of the braking.

    My first impression of the sound is it sounded less like the v8s and more like a very sporty road car. I did notice all hell was breaking loose over the sound on social media back home.

    Having watched the TV feed back, I thought they didn’t do the new sound justice at all, I still think the TV companies have yet to find the right sound levels for the TV Feed.

    I really don’t mind the sound of the new engines trackside at all. Different yes. But thats progress.

    Its made no difference to me booking to go to races this year at all.


    You are observant Keith!

    I went to the 2014 Australian Grand Prix (going again in 2015, just booked my tickets last night).

    I had never been to a Grand Prix before (being from interstate means a visit to the Grand Prix in Australia involves flights, accommodation and a couple of days), so this was my first. I decided to go this year primarily because of the novelty of the new engines (at the stage when the decision was made to go, not even a test bed recording).

    I did get to hear a V8 and a V10 for comparison though. The V8 I heard in a Red Bull demo car that does one of those comparison laps between a road car, a V8 Supercar and a Formula 1 car. The V10 I heard was the two seater promo car that does hot laps around the track. Only those in the vicinity of the track early in the morning could hear that one (my hotel was across the road, where the Sky Sports team were staying, and apparently Damon Hill).

    My impressions:
    The V8 is violently loud. Despite the very high pitched top note of the V8 which we all know from TV, there was a very loud bass note that the car was putting out. Standing close, you can sense the air actually being shifted by the noise, as the sound resonates through your body. It’s a very visceral feeling, that makes you know that you are seeing it in person, and not on TV.

    The Turbo V6 doesn’t have that. Although it is overall a lower pitched sound, the bass isn’t there. It’s still loud enough in my opinion (ear plugs do make watching the race more comfortable), but the violence has been replaced by sophistication.

    The sound of the Turbo V6 is much more finessed than the V8. There’s the sound of turbo whistle, a little bit of transmission, and the sound changes depending on the revs and throttle load. The corners I saw F1 cars at were not really conducive to hearing tyre squeal, as they weren’t really a combination of high corner load and part throttle. Only when a car spun or locked a brake did I hear that sound.

    The sound of the new engines doesn’t carry across the track. Only a faint noise can be heard of cars elsewhere on the track over the din of constant helicopters. Watching the cars come along the main straight during the race was like watching a fighter jet about to pass by at supersonic speed. I saw the cars come around the last corner, but for the few seconds I saw them approaching at enormous speed, they appeared silent. The lone V8 of the demo run was heard from much further away.

    Do I like the sound?

    I think too much importance is placed on their being a ear shatteringly loud Formula 1. While some of the spectacle has been taken away, I think that almost all other forms of motorsport have brutally loud engines. The opportunity to feel the vibration of a race car pass by is not lost. V8 Supercars (in Australia) has it, Carrera Cup spec series has it, NASCAR has it in spades, Drag racing is more brutally loud than anything else (a 7 litre engine producing 7000hp which basically tears itself apart after a couple of seconds is going to sound louder than a 2.4L V8 producing a 10% of the power, and will last for hours).

    Formula 1 is about technological sophistication, I think the loss of that visceral sensation of the sound of a car shaking your body isn’t that much of a loss when weighed up against some of the benefits the new engines have.

    Ultimately, the question is what part of the sport do you like? The spectacle or the technology. In terms of spectacle, the V8 wins. But if you appreciate technology, the Turbo V6 is amazing, and while the sound may not be as spectacular, it is the sound of technological progress.

    Forgive me, I’m not a writer. I tend to waffle on a bit.


    I was at Melbourne 2014 too. The noise is intriguing, complex and fascinating to listen to with all the different components, engine, turbo, etc. And the new tyre squeal is good too. I started following F1 in the original turbo era so super noisy cars are not the default. For me the 90s high revving 3.5 and 3.0 v8/v10/v12 period was fantastic and the subsequent v10 and 2.4 v8 eras were less interesting. I don’t miss the 2.4 v8s. I do miss the bigger v10s and v12s. The 2.4 v8s are loud, but they’re also flat and tinny and one-dimensional. The 1995 Renault v10? That was LOUD.

    Daniel Patchett

    In 2013, I travelled to Melbourne from Sydney to attend the Grand Prix alone. It was the first I’d ever been to and I had no one to go with but didn’t want to miss my last chance to hear the V8’s in person at the track. It was the greatest experience of my life and I’m glad I went because after attending the Malaysian Grand Prix this year, the difference is significant.

    I feel that a certain part of the spectacle has been lost with the V8’s. They were massively impressive, especially at the end of long straights going from high pitched full revs to deep growling on the overrun and down the gearbox. However I think the fact that we can now hear the track commentary as well as lock ups etc, and have a conversation with the person next to you during the race is excellent. So we’ve lost in one way but gained in another.

    I disagree with the claim that they are too quiet. I was surprised by how loud they were when I heard them in Malaysia this year, given all the complaints about it. You can have a conversation with the person next to you, but you still have to shout to be heard! Plus the sound now is also more intriguing to listen too with the whistling of the turbo and the squeal of energy recovery under breaking. It sounds a bit monotonous from onboard cameras on TV but at the track it’s fascinating. It also means the most impressive place to listens to cars is now through corners, as that’s when all the power unit components are in action, rather than on straights at full revs.

    It hasn’t negatively affected my love of Formula 1 at all. The racing this year has been great and I can’t wait to go to another race.

    Steve Mumford

    I may have been one of the first to hear the new cars when I attended Day one of the Jerez test.

    Yes they sound different but why would you expect anything else? But they sound absolutely fine. The tone is much deeper rather than a high pitched wail but as a consequence you can hear the other sounds from the tyres and in some cases the jet turbine-like sound of the turbos.

    Most people’s experience will be through the television where it has never been the case that you can hear what they sound like in real life even with the old engines.

    But the sound of the cars is almost irrelevant because I think most go to SEE the cars in action and these engines produce more power/torque than the tyres and aerodynamics can handle so they are much,much better to watch. You can see the drivers using their driving skills to tame the beast.

    And surely that is the whole point, isn’t it?


    I was at the Monaco Grand Prix this year, and I also visited the Italian GP at Monza two years ago. I agree there’s clearly less sound from the cars now, but I do not think this is a problem that needs treatment. F1 is still a fascinating sport, and it’s not silent.

    Reduced noise has its advantages. Now, for example, you can hear the voice from the PA system. And you can communicate with the person sitting next to you in the grandstand. You still cannot talk to each other but it’s possible to shout some words in each others ear. This wasn’t possible before, because the engine noise was so high but also because everyone had to wear earplugs.

    The only complaint I have about the sound from this years engines is the noise they make when running on the rev limiter in the pit lane. That’s really bad! It reminds me of the sound they made when the traction control kicked in ten years ago.

    Formula 1 is all about using the most modern technology. In this case, modern technology means that more of the energy is used, and this also includes the exhaust. Thus, it also makes less noise.

    I have no trouble with the sound of the new engines at all. It’s different. Adapt and carry on. I will still go to F1 races whenever possible.

    By the way, nothing suggests that people are in need of screaming engines, because when the GP2 race started in Monaco the majority of the crowd left the grandstands :-)


    How does the new sound compare to the ’80s turbo era?


    Bang on analysis right here. Not a writer? You should think of dabbing a little bit!


    Hey @keithcollantine
    Just sat through P1 in Montreal. @DavidS has a really nice analysis of the differences, I won’t go into too much detail about that. But my opinion is that I don’t like the new exhaust note compared to previous years.

    I don’t know about many fans, but I come to the race expecting my ears to bleed standing next to the track without earplugs. I’ll admit I used to to wear earplugs during the race in Montreal (Senna corner). All the cars bunched up for 2 hours was too much. But with earplugs you still felt that sense of resonance from the V10’s and the V8’s. The tingling of your whole body as they drove by is what makes fans come back. The sheer violence demonstrated and proved that formula 1 was the pinnacle auto racing.

    I’m watching the Ferrari challenge as I’m writing this and they are just as loud. The new V6’s rev higher which give it that edge. At the same RPM I’d call it a draw. I’m not talking any softer to my brother sitting next to me.

    I don’t hear the tires squeal under lock up that much, and honestly I could care less to hear more of that. I can see the trail of smoke, that’s good enough for me.

    The turbos spooling is a nice touch, although you can only really hear the Renaults. And ultimately only in mid-corner off throttle scenarios.

    I miss the days of loud. I don’t mind the new formula. I think it’s good to spice it up. I enjoyed listening to the difference of the three manufacturers, trying to guess which car passed by. But formula 1 for me, like many others I spoke to, was about the sound. That angry engine note is now lost and I think the spectacle has lost that edge.

    Joachim Ong

    Went to the race at Sepang this year. Writing from the perspective of a relatively young teenage fan hence have only heard the V8s and V6s.
    Overall impressions: I very much prefer the new sound which as many others have mentioned, is more “wholesome” sounding like that of sports cars and I really like hearing the hissing sound from the power units which was very distinct at least in Sepang. My only greatest regret is also the decrease in volume as the V8 F1 engines made a huge impression and gave me a distinct “F1 feeling” every time I stood trackside. The way the exhaust notes reverberated of my rib cage was a surreal experience but it is a bit of a let down to not be able to hear it now as it was exactly that which set F1 apart from all other forms of motorsport for me.
    For me the perfect solution would be to raise the volume to be able to experience that again but yet still retain the sportscar-like engine notes.


    Not sure I am adding anything new here, but I’ll post something I wrote to a friend of mine after attending the Spanish GP.

    The cars sound very different. No where near as loud as before. You can hear the turbo whine, and distinctly hear them when they switch gears. I didn’t wear ear plugs all weekend, and you could actually speak comfortably to the person beside you except if multiple cars were passing all at once. There isn’t the tat-tat-tat of the backfiring as they slow down, either. You don’t feel the noise, either, like you did with the old engines – where it would rattle your chest when they passed.

    I didn’t mind it, but it is quite different. I could understand if people really liked the noise and vibration, they may be disappointed.


    Ryan Williams

    I went to the Jerez test in January.

    Whilst the new engines are quieter than the screaming V8s and V10s of old, they are far less harsh on the ears, meaning you can stand closer to the track without feeling like your eardrums are bleeding, which is great for people like me who nerd-out over mid-corner vehicle dynamics, and also enjoy snapping F1 cars in action!

    What’s also nice is that (at least at Jerez), the 3 different engines all had a distinct sound, with the Mercedes-powered cars offering a gruntier, high-volume note, the Ferrari, a more subdued, 80’s-esque sound, and the Renault with its whistling turbo as the drivers picked up the throttle [The turbo sound is much more apparent on the Renault-powered cars].

    As mentioned above, you now get a whole bunch of extra sounds to enjoy too. Tyre squeal, gear changes etc… (Can’t comment on crowd noise as there wasn’t much cheering at a test day!)

    A quick note on the “TV” sound: I don’t think F1 Broadcasting has yet found the sweet spot for capturing the sound of these cars, although the cars sounded much better on TV in Spain/Monaco, than they did in Australia.

    Personally, I like the new sound of the F1 cars, although, as I’ve said before:

    “If the racing’s good, who cares about the noise?”


    Malaysian Grand Prix for me.

    I hate to sound like everybody else, but the noise was pretty disappointing. In 2013 you could hear one car from the other side of the track. This year you needed to be on the same stretch of road as the car to be able to hear it. For example, at the quick sweeping corners in the final sector at Sepang you could hear the car coming from the straight on the back area of the track. You could hear it accelerating down the straight, braking into the 90 degree left-hander and accelerating through the next corner until it flew past you. This year you needed to be able to see the car to be able to hear it. There’s no scream and the noise just doesn’t carry itself anywhere. I’d go again (I do every year!) but I won’t say it wasn’t disappointing. No chills-up-your-spin stuff anymore.

    For those interested I have an audio clip taken using a professional grade audio recorder on my blog. It might give you an idea of what a race start sounds like.

    You can find that here:


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