Text: Eric Tipan / Photos: | posted March 18, 2014 11:01
Organizers say that the aural change is a breach of contract.
The new F1 season opened with big changes, including a new team for some drivers, car number but the most notable is the new 1.6L turbocharged V6 engine.
Since Practice Day, spectators at Albert Park were flooding social media with comments about the ‘quieter’ engines. Some saying it’s quite unusual to stay in a hotel near the racetrack and yet not hear the cars at all.
Drivers too were unaccustomed to the radical change and didn’t mince their words.
Current World Champion Sebastien Vettel, who had to retire because of engine problems, compared the sound to a "a vacuum cleaner than a racing car.”
"Oh my God I miss that. It sounded amazing. Those were great years for the sound of the engine, but that is no more," said Jenson Button after hearing a demo car powered by a V10 engine hit the track.
Even NASCAR drivers had something to say, "Maybe TV is not doing them justice. Are they even shifting?" said driver Michael McDowell.
But perhaps the most adverse reaction was from the organizers of the Australian Grand Prix. They are so furious with the lack of engine noise that they had to call ‘breach of contract’.
Their utmost concern is to satisfy the expectation of spectators Australian Grand Prix. Along with the sights to see is the famous sound of F1 cars, which was clearly missing last weekend.
"We pay for a product, we've got contracts in place, we are looking at those very, very seriously because we reckon there has probably been some breaches. We are resolving that with Bernie. It's clearly in breach of our contract. I was talking to him last night (Sunday) and it's not what we paid for. It's going to change,” said Australian Grand Prix corporation chief executive Andrew Westacott.
Even former three-time champion Niki Lauda is disappoint but wouldn’t go as far as tweaking the engine just to make a noisier sound. "Everyone wants to do something about it, but you can't just change the exhaust pipe, you'd have to redevelop the whole engine and the mapping," he said. "That's just way too expensive. Please do not change the engines just to make a bit more noise," said Lauda.
"I was not horrified by the noise, I was horrified by the lack of it. And I was sorry to be proved right with what I've said all along; these cars don't sound like racing cars. I’ve been speaking with Jean Todt (president of the FIA) this afternoon and what I’ve said is that we need to see whether there is some way of making them sound like racing cars. I don’t know whether it’s possible but we should investigate. I think let’s get the first few races out of the way and then maybe look to do something. We can’t wait all season. It could be too late by then,” said Bernie Ecclestone.