There has been a constant hissing and moaning about the forced retirement of the naturally aspirated engines in F1 (see also: "Would somebody think of the old ones??!!", also: "BRINGZ BAKK THE VEEEAAAIIGHT!!") let me address the problem by starting with this clip:

Now that we established that the V8s of the past sounded lame compared to the beautiful tone of this V12, we can take a closer look at what has become better with the V6-T engines.


As a tone, the new sound of F1 has become somewhat restrained and low-key. You may not like it, but it is what it is and will stay for probably about a decade or so, so you'll have enough time to get used to it.

Watching FP2 and Qualifying on TV I noticed a few things:

  • The turbo is clearly audible, especially at downshifts. If you like that sort of whooshing sound, you'll love it.
  • Due to the lower frequency of sound and the fact that the turbo eliminates the majority of high pitched peaks (as a muffler would on a road car), the soundtrack almost disappears in the TV feed as it resides much closer to the human voice register than ever, which means it mixes a lot with the voices of the commentators. Very difficult to hear the engines in a voiceover.
  • On the upside - because the engines are so much quieter - you can hear much more atmospheric detail even in the TV feed: the booming tone of running over kerbs (which could mostly be heard in some onboard shots before), tyre-screeching, the shifting mechanism, bumps, crashes, and most of all - crowd noise (with probably less booing and more cheering this year) that will add a lot more "being there" sense than ever.
  • Looking at some comments on the Internet the live experience improved for some, as the baby-friendly engines enable more socializing - it is possible to have a conversation in the grandstands whereas it was just the piercing sound of the N/A engines before. Which is fun for about ten minutes, but can be really tiring and annoying for some people and can cause a headache (even with earplugs) due to the volume and frequency-range of the sound, basically enabling only sitting next to each other. This may be a good thing for some, especially e.g. Monaco, where the walls just shoot back all that sound.
  • Finally, you might want to hold back your rant up until you watch the first broadcast of Formula E for a balanced comparison between no sound and the V12s. Because - let's face it - the internal combustion engines are all about to make a dramatic turn in the future.

How do you like the new soundtrack?

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