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The F1 sound debate: quieter vs artificial

Would you rather have quieter cars or an artificial noise?
Thursday, May 15, 2014

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May 15th 2014 (F1 Plus / Rosie Baillie) - On day two of the Barcelona test, Mercedes tested a megaphone style exhaust with a view to improving the noise this years cars are making.

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Reports from those at testing varied; some say it didn’t seem to make a difference and others said it sounded the same but louder.

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Nico Rosberg took to Twitter to share his thoughts, saying he didn’t really think it made a difference.

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just tried the new exhaust system. but didn't work out. didn't make it much louder. we r pushing for another solution’ he tweeted.

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Before new exhausts can be used on the cars, they will need to be tested and agreed upon by all teams.

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The noise of the new era’s cars has been a source of great debate for fans and even race promoters.

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After the Australian Grand Prix the race promoters said that the change in noise could be a violation of contract. Other race promoters have since come forward putting the sport under pressure to do something about the noise.

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The rule changes meant that the cars were always going to sound different and be quieter than GP2 and GP2 cars, but do we want the sound replacing with an artificial one?

Speaking to other journalists in Spain and some fans on Twitter, most of them were happy with the new sound, they didn’t think it was as good as the old sound but they didn’t want an artificial noise either.

The resounding comments were that noise isn’t the most important thing about Formula One and that there are more important things for teams to be worrying about, like costs.

During Friday’s team principal press conference, Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley said the quieter engines means the cars are running more efficiently.

“I think you should always remember that the increase in sound is just loss of power and I think that when you’re harnessing all the power and it means that the engines are quieter then you’re actually doing a more efficient job,” Fernley said.

“the show has been quite fantastic and I think that it would be very disappointing if we’re just judging Formula One purely on the fact that it makes a lot of noise.”

On the other hand, I understand why people are disappointed. It was the sound that grabbed my attention and got me hooked on Formula One. At three years old I probably didn’t know what was happening, but I loved the sound.

Standing at a track and hearing that gut-wrenching scream that sends shivers down your spine is an experience no fan who’s ever been to a race will forget. The thought of not hearing that sound again is sad. While it affects the overall experience it doesn’t affect the racing and that’s what we’re all interested in, right?

F1 is often considered the pinnacle of motorsport and it would be judged if it stood still and didn’t evolve. The sport has always gone through changes and it will continue to for as long as it exists.

When things change you are never going to please everyone. The most important thing about F1 is the racing, not the sound.

Last weekend I was sat in the media centre in Spain. There is no sound coming out of the TVs in the media centre but every pair of eyes was glued to those TVs during the last 10 laps of the Spanish Grand Prix.

All around the world people were on the edge of their seats as Rosberg closed in on Hamilton. Yes, 2014 F1 sounds different but it’s still the same beast.

Criticising the sound of F1 is like people criticising the stepped noses; it affects the presentation of the sport but it doesn't affect the racing.

What do you think: do you want the sound to remain untouched or would you prefer an artificial sound?

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