How do the new engines sound at the track?

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    I went to the Melbourne GP this year and had no issues at all with the noise.

    The only thing I really missed was the sound at the start. I was seated at T1 and in past years, you’ve been able to hear the cars coming, building up the atmosphere to when they all appear in a flurry of noise, colour and possibly crashes. This year though, There was no real sound to get the hair on the back on your neck to stand up as they approached.

    Beyond that, I really like the sound. No massive noise means you hear so many other noises from the car. I love the mechanical sound of the turbo you hear, and it’s the first time since the late 90’s that I’ve actually heard a lock-up! I could tell the engines apart better and it was better for the family sitting next to me, as their kid wasn’t screaming from the noise :)

    I like them, beyond the noise, the cars move around a whole lot more, which makes them a whole lot more enjoyable to watch.


    I was in Melbourne at the start of the year. It was my first Grand Prix so I can’t really compare the V6’s againts the V8’s (with the exception of the single V8 demo car).

    As a whole I did like the sound. I have attended numerous V8 Supercar events and the volume of the F1 compared to the V8 Supercars was noticibly lower, although the sound was much more interesting to listen to; you can hear different elements of the engine working, plus tyre noise and cars running over curbs. I found that the same car passing the same section of track would make a different sound each time it went past, presumably because of the different power settings the driver is playing around with.

    As a whole, I do like the sound of the engines. It probably could do with being a touch louder to keep the ‘Wow’ factor that so many have described, however the actual noise itself is great.

    Tom C

    I was in Jerez for day 4. Now, this was my first time ever witnessing F1 cars live, so I cannot compare to previous times, but I am in a sense “fresh”.

    You can get really close to the track during testing – which I did – and I really enjoyed the sound. It sounds monstrous on power/traction out of slow corners, pure mechanical grunt. It is loud enough, and I was completely taken in by the cars. Magnussen had an almighty lockup into turn 1 and ran through the gravel mid afternoon and you heard every second of it. It was scary, almost. The sound doesn’t travel particularly well, which seems to be a key issue, but I came away from Jerez feeling altogether invigorated. I loved every second of it.

    I can still hear the cars in my mind now, 100% memorable.

    A few clips – http://youtu.be/cWXsrk9Jdu8

    Gilberto Hingel

    I went to the Spanish GP. Actually, I found the sound of the new engines very nice. Quieter then the V8, of course, but still nice to hear.

    Liked the turbo whistle, the noise of the brakes, etc., but feel like missing something, something more emotional, brutal. More sophistication, less passion.

    Interesting to note that the three engines sounds absolutely different. The Mercedes are louder, lower pitch, the Renaults are quieter, Ferraris between then.


    You must have a good memory Keith, like a few that have already contributed, I was at the first round in Melbourne.

    I’ve been to Albert Park every year for the past 5 or so, and before that a few times (1999 for the race and other years for practice sessions), plus a few years at Adelaide that I was probably too young to really remember (93 and 95). So I’ve been fortunate enough to see V12s, V10s, V8s and V6 Turbos in action.

    My impressions of the engines were that the quality of the sound was good, even if the volume was significantly quieter. I was actually walking to my viewing position when I heard the first cars doing their outlaps and I thought it wasn’t an F1 car but rather a motorbike doing show runs.

    I liked quite a few aspects of the new engines:
    I didn’t need earplugs
    It was easy to distinguish between the different engine manufacturers
    The engine note was now multi-dimensional – no longer just a high pitched scream there is now different sounds on corner entry and exit.
    I could actually hear the circuit announcer (ever the anorak I normally have a pocket raio, but everyone else can hear it now too) – Neil Crompton did a pretty good job of building up the tension with Ricciardo holding 2nd on the road.

    I normally watch the race from the hill overlooking T9 which is directly across the lake from the pit straight – and this was my only major issue with the engines; there was no crescendo at the moment the lights were about to go out.

    The other thing I found interesting was I was there with some relatively F1 neutral friends, who were there just because they got free tickets. Their normal motorsport fix is drifting, so they loved the sound of the new engines. The lower volume was a really good aspect in this regard too, as during the race I could explain what was happening to them.

    Compared to the V8s, that were just shrill in timbre the V6 Turbos are much more pleasing to the ear – a *slight* volume increase wouldn’t go astray, in their Melbourne guise F1 engines were quieter than some of the support categories (V8 Supercars & Carera Cup).


    I took a video at the Montreal Grand Prix that shows the different in Honda civics from the CTCC and the F1 cars from turn 2.
    The civics and the mini’s actually were louder than the F1 cars. I had to talk louder to my neighbours when they were on compared to the F1 cars http://youtu.be/fTs7ApmT0M8

    Greg Kingston

    I went to testing in Jerez this year and then to Barcelona a couple of weeks back. I am conflicted on the new engines.

    Firstly, they’re pretty much unchanged from testing in Jerez to now. They’re certainly using more of the engine range now but they sound the same and they’re no louder than before.

    Looking back at the V8 era, I went to the last Istanbual grand prix a few years back. I took my fiancee and it was her first experience of F1. Getting off the bus about 1 km from the circuit during the middle of FP1, her eyes widened at the sound of the engines (even though it was a wet track). We walked up behind the main grandstand, the noise grew, and her reaction was amazing. Then, going trackside, she had the full V8 experience. The V8s were intimidating – you don’t hear them, you feel them, using more than one sense. The noise and sheer demonstration of power is awe-inspiring. You’re left with no doubt that you’re at a serious motorsport event. However, by the Sunday and 5 laps into the race, we were both reaching for the ear plugs – it just gets too much.

    Fast forward to Jerez testing and things were very different. We parked up less than 200 metres away from circuit entrance B and it was silent. Getting to the gates and we could hear something. Onto the track and, as others have said, you can stand just metres away, and the experience is very different. The V6 noise is rich, but they clearly don’t have the same engine rev range and there’s no wall of noise. You do get to hear other interesting mechanical sounds though.

    Moving on to Barcelona, and the noise was the same as Jerez. Completely bearable with the whole grid going past at once (we were at turn 1). You can hear the turbo spinning under power and under breaking, and the mechanical sounds of gear changes are now audible. As others have observed, you can hear the tyres squeal too, and when the drivers run over the kerbs (Ricciardo was the only driver in Barcelona to consistently run wide onto the kerb before entering turn 1) you can hear the buzz of the vibration.

    Early on in the Barcelona race weekend, I made my mind up that I preferred the new V6 sounds. Interesting noises, loud for sure but not deafening, and a good note although it would be nice if they revved higher. However, then a support race came on (I forget which, but using V8s). They were louder, revved more, and suddenly it felt like the F1 cars that had just left the track no longer represented the pinnacle of motorsport. Suddenly they seemed rather underwhelming, to the point where I really struggle to make my mind on what I prefer.

    My final observation is that the V6 engines and exhaust produce a very one-directional sound. If you’re not facing the exhaust, they’re pretty much silent. On the V8s, it didn’t matter where you were – they were just loud.

    If pushed to choose I would take the V6s. There are plus points for race days, notably that you can hold a conversation at the track during the race rather than sit there dumbly for 2 hours with ear plugs in. But I miss feeling the sound of the power as well as hearing it.


    I was at Barcelona and I am still depressed at how terrible the cars sound. It is not just that they are so quiet, I totally disagree that the sound is in any way particularly interesting. To me they sounded rather like a domestic appliance, what springs to mind is a combination of a strimmer crossed with a kitchen waste-disposal unit.

    The old feeling of approaching the track and getting butterflies from hearing the cars from a distance has gone completely. Now you don’t even know if the cars are out until there is one right in front of you, so pathetic is the sound.


    I HATE the new sound. I really feel like it’s awful & sounds too much like a Touring car. The noise is not exciting, it’s not an other worldly sound & it has no presence or violence in the noise. The magic we had before is gone & definitely does not have anywhere near the impact for newcomers to the track as before. Maybe it would be better if they raised the revs to closer to 20k?

    This past weekend during FP1, I was in my seats at Senna Curve & was looking in my back for food & I looked up I thought to myself “Oh, there’s an F1 car entering turn 2”.

    I’m not sure if I’m going to watch races live anymore. Same with many other people at the track.

    It seems no matter what nonsense F1 does with rules & regulations. It seems like the fans will accept & “get used to” everything. If another series had this exact engine & sound, I wonder if people would still say they enjoy it as much.

    -Double Points
    -Pirelli tires that cause races to be a time trial except for pit stop phase


    I love the new sound. I liked it from the videos I had seen, but in person they sound great. You can hear the turbine noise, you can hear the tires working and floors scraping. The Renault engine has the most turbine noise, and the saubers sound sickly off throttle. It is undoubtably quieter, and there is no denying that the civics and minis from CTCC were louder. If pure volume is all you want, then F1 is no longer for you, but the civics and minis were basicly as loud as the old F1 cars so they were not quiet.

    My vid from the side of the track leaving the hairpin.

    From Grandstand 33

    These miss all of the turbine noise as it is too high pitched.


    Pure volume is certainly not ‘all we want’, but F1 needs to be special, and these 2014 cars are blown into the weeds by GP2 cars, which is just plain wrong. I really hope that we will one day return to a sound that is more in keeping with all that F1 has traditionally been known for. Until then, for me, it will be a case of hearing ‘real’ F1 at Goodwood and watching ‘F1 light’ on TV.


    We had booked Sepang for this year so a lucky win to Melbourne one week before the race meant I done the first two races back to back. Being in Melbourne was great, as commented earlier in the post they do the ‘speed challenge’ so we have the 2011 Red Bull V8 on track probably 45mins before the new V6, so you could make an easy comparison I guess to those who just hear the new car this year without an old car on circuit over the race meet. . The difference is immense comparing outright noise and also the pitch of the engine. I loved the sound of the old engine and was definitely preferred to the V6. You could hear David Coulthard ring that thing all around the track, where with the new car you didn’t really hear until the 2-3 corners before maybe. So a vote for the V8.

    I was in Suzuka in 2012 above the pits just over Red Bull/McLaren/Ferarri, which was the point where the drivers would approach the exit, hit the clutch and rev them flat throttle to get the heat up. It was my wife’s first to see an F1 car in anger and at this point they were probably the loudest, it pretty well scared her LOL. I love that old loudness and it quite literally makes the rib cage and heart vibrate at that range- not for all of course but I would think “this is F1 at its best” – it was a shattering sound!! Perhaps too much for some, as pointed out you certainly cant have a chat to your fellow race goer or hear the commentary- like going to the movies, you sit next to someone, but don’t talk to them.

    In Melbourne this this we had tickets on the last corner (Prost) and had mates on T1 (Jones) so we did a swap in FP3. This was really good as at Prost you see them out of the 2nd last turn, past the pit entry and wind up into pit straight. You can really hear the turbo kick in, which I think sounds great when it really ramps up. You also hear the tyres squeal, the under tray touch the track and really know the driver are actually driving. Jones at T1 was great to compare as they were under hard breaking. Again you got the tyres going, but they sound really good under breaking I think, where before it was all just engine and no other car reaction as its was so much louder (back in the days of traction control, break assist, active suspension, the car cooks you breaky :), you could wonder if it was Kit from Knightrider- now you know the driver is working from his dough. So hearing the cars sound and not just a loud engine a vote for the V6.

    I saw F1 in Adelaide from 1986 to 1994 so that was a mix of turbo and normally aspirated from 1989 (I Think) but also you have different engines on the grid- I think one year (maybe 1988) you had V8, V10 & V12 all in one year. It was a much more open Formula back then reg wise, also had 2 tyre choices in Goodyear and Michelin. I think back then you could hear the car sounds more than just the engine more so than last year, but you certainly could pick the Ferrari approaching back then- a REAL squeal to it!!

    I didn’t get to Melbourne live until 2012 so can comment on the V10 era.

    We were guests of Red Bull in Sepang this year and met Dan Ric in the garage on the morning of race day, one question he asked was “what do you think on the new sound?” My reply was “we will get used to it” meaning “I don’t like it” but its actually growing on me. On TV they sound worse than live, so maybe a put off for the TV audience and your not so hard core viewer.

    This is an issue for F1 in the future as TV rights are a massive part of our sport and BE knows that and that why he is against it this year. But the issue with the new power unit is for those like Renault who gave RBR an engine that won championships yet no technology (or say, not too much) that lead to their on road car, and therefore sales and shareholder profits. These manufacturers don’t race for free do they?!

    So in answer I love and miss the old sounds for sure, a car that can literally make your body tremor is something in awe, as car you hear just as it comes around the corner certainly is not! To go to a race and hear people talk and the commentators so you know who just went out is a GREAT bonus, so we don’t all get on a train on the way home and say “what happened to so n so??”

    There are pro’s and con’s of each, but to be honest an engine sound somewhere in the middle would be great for me- I want to know I am at an F1 event but talk to those I go to once in a while as well! A few cons would be those who make ear plugs and Seb’s excuse for a Multi-21 debacle :) (He may not need one this year LOL)

    Would it ever make me turn off or not attend a race?? NEVER!! The double points looked like a deal breaker…………… but that didn’t work either!!


    Sorry a few typo’s there- main one was the ‘old power unit’ for Renault (not ‘new’) there were winning in an engine they didn’t sell to their market, which as a business, is bad marketing.

    Alex green

    Ive been to sepan/bahrain/barca and now montreal and the sound has grown on me
    Initially at sepang i went up by the pits on the friday and i was saying they sounded like dyson hoovers but over the w/end it grew on me and a week later at bahrain i actually turned to my girlfriend and said “is it just me or do they sound louder this week” and she agreed
    What i do like about the new sound is that you can hear the tyre squeal but it will put earplug sellers out of business lol


    Even though that’s not strictly trackside-F1 related, it is an interesting thing I noticed, while watching this year’s Le Mans 24 hour race on Eurosport. Rolex, F1’s and WEC’s official timekeeper, aired a commercial with a short scene with an onboard shot from Valtteri Bottas’ car from this year’s Australian GP, with V8 engine sound superimposed on it. I’m currently browsing the internet looking for that specific spot.

    That tells quite a lot about the new sound of F1. It seems that even the official timekeeper doesn’t want to include it in its TV commercials.

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