Daily #F1 News and Comment: Wednesday 29th January 2014

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Opinions divided about the sound of V6 powertrians (09:10)

Nissan: Small and powerful how hard can it be? (09:10)

McLaren appoints Boullier as Director of Racing (10:05)

The gavel man’s video evidence (11:15)

Opinions divided about the sound of V6 powertrians

Yesterday was a day of shock, horror and awe for the most Formula 1 fans. For months we have been hearing how ugly the new cars will look and how dreadful they will sound. Safe to say, very few actually imagined how bad it would get.

We have yet to see what the Marussia look like but from the evidence it is highly unlikely that it would be a stunner and talk is now turning to which car looks the best of the rest. Apart from the look there is the sound as well. Gone are the wailing V10 and V8 engines from the past and we are now ’embarrassing’ fuel efficient V6 ‘powertrains’.

Mr E we know is against the new engines. But what about the rest of the paddock? After yesterday’s limited running Britney said “It reminds me a bit of when I used to look at the videos from the ’80s, the old turbos, and it’s that same sound now – deep, with lots of power on the straight. So it really gave me a flashback to those videos I was watching.”

Toto Wolf said cars are still in shakedown mode so not running hard. Speaking to reporters he said, “You must not forget that what we are doing here is basically a system check and shakedown and once you hear a car on full revs and flat out and more cars, I think in a couple of months nobody is going to really speak about the old engines and old engine sound.”

The sentiment is not shared by either Nico Hulkenberg nor Vettel, both feel Formula 1 has taken a disappointing step backwards with the latter saying he would have preferred to “ go the other way, back to V10.”

Perhaps it is too early to judge though. Toro Rosso was open about their problems on the day. JEV said he could hear vibrations from the engine and that this limited the power he could use from his engine so he does not have a clear picture of how the engine would feel.

Toro Rosso’s woes adds weight to Wolf’s statement about shakedowns and not running to full capacity. Are we perhaps being too critical and should we welcome all the changes? After all, the engineers in Formula 1 are supposed to be the best in the world so why can they not build what is required of them?

The first day of testing was a damp squib yes but should we not celebrate the fact that for the first time in ages we are seeing teams really having to struggle to make their cars work properly?

Anyway, back to the sound of the V6, what do you think? Vote and provide a reason for your vote in the comments.


Nissan: Small and powerful how hard can it be?

For months Formula 1 engine manufacturers have been telling us how challenging it is to build a small and powerful engine. Renault Sport F1 released some guidance to the new engines yesterday.

Renault Formula 1 V6 TurboA few V6 stats:

  • 1.6l turbocharged V6 internal combustion engine
  • Direct injection
  • Max engine speed of 15,000rpm
  • Potent Energy Recovery Systems incorporating two motor generator units – the MGU-H, recovering energy from the exhaust and the MGU-K recovering energy from braking
  • Combined maximum power output of 760bhp, on a par with previous V8 generation

Not bad, 760bhp all in you may say… well maybe they have not tried hard enough.

ZEOD_EngineOver the water Nissan America has been doing some of their own development. They have produced a 1.5l, 3 cylinder turbo charged engine weighing 40kg (88lbs) and it produces 400bhp at 7,500 rpm with maximum torque 380 Nm. In the words of the marketing people at Nissan, “At a ratio of 10 horsepower per kilogram, the new engine actually has a better power-to-weight ratio than the new engines to be used in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship this year.”

Given the Nissan engine is more basic than the Formula 1 V6 engine however should Formula 1 not be looking around for ideas?


McLaren appoints Boullier as Director of Racing

McLaren has released a statement to say Eric Boullier will now be their Racing Director and work with JOnathan Neal and the rest of the senior management. Ultimately he will report into the Chief Executive Officer of McLaren Racing, a new role created in the team.

McLaren Press Release

When will we see the big bear enter…



The gavel man’s video evidence
Perhaps this evidence will sway your vote or not?


71 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Wednesday 29th January 2014

  1. Yesterday I watched the Sky show on the 1st testday…. The sounds just weren’t there…. I have this weird feeling this new V6 sound will not be loud enough to simply begin with. I mean, … I already saw it happening …. some corner at some race, people populate one particular corner at a certain track, at the beginning of the corner, in the corner and after the corner spread around the corner so to speak. (just imagine, ok… try to keep with me) and all these people standing around this ONE particular corner have this HORN. Ya know, the one with a can attached … and a V6 powered car comes towards the corner, and the people in the beginning of the corner start using they’re HORN, and then the people IN the corner start the HORN, and the one’s after the corner will use the HORN as well.

    Well… I am afraid, if one such setup is done, the car will NOT BE HEARD! The HORNS populating this corner, will win from the sound coming from the car. HELP! NOOOOO??

    What can be done? Yes, >> ban those horns. ok. damn. I dunno, and hope that if they will run at full speed and with more than one on the track maybe all together the sound could become louder, … I hope. We all hope. right?

    • Ha ha! I think you got something there Frans! Lets get airhorns and see if we can drown the sound out 🙂 In seriousness, I had a listen to the clip and it is a bit disappointing. Very ‘soft’ tone in my opinion.

      • I thought the Ferrari sounded the ‘meanest’ (just like the clip that circulated a month or so ago with a possible test mule) but that may be that they are already running a more agressive engine mode, where as many others are still on a shakedown. Who knows.

        I saw an article where JEV Saud he couldn’t put his foot down in the STR because he could feel vibrations. This I assume is partly why Renault powered teams have only got around 19laps of running combined in 2 days, where as Merc powered cars have got around 30 for each team, maybe more by now.

        Slightly off topic, what are people thoughts about the possible Renault cock up, go we think they will rectify it fully, or simply pull out of F1 if it proved to expensive to not only correct the problem, but to match the competitiveness of the other engine suppliers.

        Anyone got any ideas on this line of thought.

    • I was really disappointed at the sound as well. If I closed my eyes, I couldn’t tell whether I was watching Porsche SuperCup or F1. I only want to be an optimist and believe in what Wolff says. Let’s wait till the first GP when all engines fire up and people start running at full revs (…before they start running on economy mode mid-race because of the limitations in fuel consumption…whatever happened to real F1 racing, bring back 2008!)

      • If they run at full revs. We might see another year of teams telling the drivers to go slower every lap, this time for a different reason.

    • I remember the man on the grandstand in Hungary with a Horn on a gaz bottle as big as his leg. Big Horn also.
      Each time Barichello passed he blew that Horn and although I was hundreds of meters away and wore earprotection my ears itched each time after. The V10 still played its part – in the background though…

    • They are not running the v6’s at full power yet, thus it’s too early to judge them fully. But I have been pleasantly surprised by the sounds so far. If F1 wants to remain relevant at the top of Motorsport, it should be running experimental Energy recovery systems and trying to get as much power out of the fuel as they can. As for the Nissan engine ? They don’t have FIA technical regulations in the way to innovate as they please. Which makes the F1 V6’s far more interesting – set rules and see how the various engineers at Renault, Mercedes and Ferrari react to those rules and the solutions they create in response to the rules. With Honda to follow next season. If any of them of have made huge development mistakes ? It’ll make the racing more interesting. As much as I love the sound of the V8’s they were getting long in the tooth and reached their zenith under Newey’s designs of the last 4 years or so. Time for a fresh challenge. I’m willing to bet the drivers who win races won’t be complaining about the engines and the ones that don’t will be moaning until Bernie pats them on the head.

      Far too much negativity about these engines, when we have limited information to go on. It’s winter testing, not a Grand Prix weekend. We have been spoiled by overly reliable F1 engines and cars in the last decade or so, time to shake things up. F1 is at it’s best when there are massive technical hurdles to overcome and entirely stale when everything is relatively stable regulations wise aka Red Bull romping to both championships 4 years on the trot.

  2. I actually liked the sound I heard (through my computer audio) and really liked all the turbo-associated sounds and the whooshing and space-ship like stuff.

    Maybe it’s less nifty at the track and just sounds hollow or not sufficiently violent – idk. But I can imagine that the sound of the cars lining up for start and then charging to the first turn could be very complex, and very interesting.

    V10s would be great for the sound, but obviously that’s not even a fantasy anymore…

    • I like the swoosh too. Not sure about the throaty Turbo sound, though it will certainly noisy (and groundshaking!) in a race which should keep people happy.

      • Keep liking that swoosh – you’ll be hearing plenty of it when those scalectrix things show.

  3. Interesting that on their press release McLaren have Honda down as a partner but not Mercedes.

    Have I woke up in 2015?? Or is Matt Bishop acting the goat….

  4. What the heck in a racing director? So you have, Goss, Michael, Boullier, Oatley, and they will all report to a new CEO, right? So, no team principal any more. And the CEO will be reporting to our beloved Chairman Dennis? And what about this new CEO then, will he be a bit like a team principal, or more of a coordinator? Is that a model kind of resembling Merc’s? So confusing!

    • What is interesting about McLaren’s annoucement of Eric Boullier’s appointment as “Racing Director” is that it does not say what responsibility a “Racing Director” would have in a… umm, racing team. Only that he will be “…working alongside McLaren Racing’s other senior managers and directors, within a new operational structure, to bring about the changes that will deliver success.”

      I’m looking at McLaren’s team management web page at this moment, it seems unchanged from last year, Mr. Whitmarsh remains “Team Principle” here. But this page also allows us to view McLaren’s upper management as it was last year. It does not say to whom each of these gentlemen reported.

      But there we see this:

      Jonathan Neale, Managing Director, “manages overall technical and operational strategy…”

      Neil Oatley, Director of Design and Development Programmes, “…specification, design and build of each new… car.”

      Tim Goss, Technical Director, “…oversees all aspects of car specification, top-level target-setting and priority engineering projects.”

      Sam Michael, Sporting Director, “…primarily responsible for race, test… and driver programmes.”

      Simon Roberts, Operations Director, … (no actual description of responsibilities).

      John Cooper, Commercial & Financial Director, … (no actual description of responsibilities).

      David Redding, Team Manager, … (no actual description of responsibilities).

      The key is Boullier will work “alongside (McLaren’s)… other senior managers and directors within a new operational structure…” It appears that Ron will revert to the same hyper star model of management structure that he used for some seasons prior to his spy-gate debacle. Ron’s record of leading a modern F1 team is not strong. The last time that McLaren earned a Constructor’s championship was 1998. Ron had the talents of Adrian Newey starting in 1997 but failed to retain him. Newey fled McLaren after the 2005 season…

      It will be interesting to see watch.

  5. Clearly Lotus didn’t pay Boullier, allowing Boullier to rescind his contract and throw out garden leave restrictions. “You have not paid me, you cannot expect me to go unemployed when you breach the contract by not paying my wages and I’m forced to find other employment” type of reasoning is valid.

    The interval between the rumours and the announcement is in all likelihood due to a last control by McLaren’s new lawyers whether Lotus has any viable grounds to act against McLaren. Obvously they have found none and the new relationship can be made public.

  6. I really like the new engine sound, deep and throaty. Having actually been at Silverstone 2010 and 11, and Spain 2012, I never really liked the screaming ‘pimped lawnmover’ sound, the V6 sounds much more business like in my opinion, though of course it is extremely early days and the total volume is yet to become clear.

  7. Interestingly, judging merely on aero looks, Gary Anderson believes that RBR will be the team to beat again…argh!

        • Yes, a lot better than I expected 🙂
          By the way:
          Mercedes powered cars: 88 laps
          Ferrari powered cars: 86 laps
          Renault powered cars: 24 laps

          • well, so far today, Mercedes-powered cars have completed 123 laps; Ferrari 56 laps; Renault just 13 laps!…hehehe, fingers crossed for a new world champion.

    • The good news for you is GA and Scarbs are pretty impressed with what McLaren has done at the back end of their car.

      Scarbs review of these cars has been interesting in that tends to focus on rear downforce as the limiting factor… In other words a car that appears to have clever solutions for front df is a sign that a team may have succeeded in getting better rear df.

      For us spectators, focusing on the weird noses is probably looking at the wrong end of the vehicle, at least as far as performance is concerned…

    • Not to belittle his achievements, but I’d prefer someone from within motorsport to lead F1, not some outsider.

  8. I have one question, maybe silly and childish at this point of time but are there any rumours which engine is the most powerful (the best)? Thanks

  9. In all honesty, i have to state that anyone who out of hand ridiculed “pre-season” or dismisses the sounds having heard just a few installation runs at probably less than 50% max output… either doesnt understand the concepts of high performance turbo engines, or is a sufficient luddite that any change is a bad thingand we should never embrace progress.

    For a fact, while it may have been a far cry from an 18k rpm V*, my old Saab with its primative 2litre turbo and simple exhaust sounded epic at even ONE THIRD the revs these things will do.. let alone at revs and off throttle.

    From initial sounds after a few installation laps, these new units will be a fresh change from the mosquito screamers we have become used to


  10. Re the Nissan engine: yes, it’s impressive but let’s look at some of the restrictions F1 engine builders are operating under –

    1) Number of cylinders and V angle by regulation.
    2) Cylinder bore and spacing by regulation (hence stroke).
    3) Minimum weight by regulation.
    4) Rev limit by regulation.
    5) Fuel flow by regulation.
    6) Total fuel by regulation.
    7) Center of gravity by regulation.
    8) Materials by regulation.
    8) No variable valve timing, by regulation.
    9) No variable intake by regulation (although that goes away next year).
    10) Battery weight by regulation.
    11) etc. etc.

    I just wish the FIA would open this formula up and let some innovation in. Ford’s V-10 weighed in at 95 kg back in the day. Imagine what they could do now if allowed. Boring.

    • What’s really funny is that the engine Nissan developed is for a LeMans car, and the WEC has been a hotbed of getting new manufacturers involved and developing new, efficient and competitive technologies with real world applications and it is also sanctioned by the FIA. I don’t follow it too closely, and I’m sure true fans would also have plenty of complaints but I’m left wondering how they got it so much more right with WEC than with F1. Broken Clock, Monkeys typing Shakespeare? Don’t really know but you’d think they’d have a look at that when formulating F1 regs.

  11. Seems with all the Renault engine problems, Lotus have saved themselves a heap of money by no attending the test, as they wouldnt of been able to run anyway.

    • I agree. They can even do all the installation laps RBR and Caterham have done so far, within their factory walls.
      Even if these 3 Renault teams are able to run fully for the remaining 2 days, they won’t be so far ahead of Lotus as regards mileage.

  12. Jerez summary Day 2:
    Merc “Will it last?”
    McLaren “Will it go fast?”
    Ferrari “Will it look good?”
    Red Bull”@!%#$$%#%#$ Renault!!!!”

  13. Hmm…Renault engines not reliable, last time that was the case, they were allowed by the FIA to make some modifications to correct that, and used them to their full advantage.

    **takes off tinfoil hat**

    • I mentioned on a comment yesterday that the engines have now been homologated so changes may be hard to carry out without the rules having to be relaxed for other manufacturers too. They all had the same R&D time so it would be a little unfair on those who did a good job if Renault were the only people allowed to ‘redesign’ components during 2014. I did read that the engines for next year could be significantly different to these 1st generation power units. I would make Renault sweat it out for year at the back, but I’m sure the RedBull politicing will get the rules relaxed, especially if Renault threaten to withdraw and RedBull do the same, they will have the FIA /FOM eating from their hands……..as usual!

      • Unless the regulations have changed, there is a sliding/reducing scale or percentage of the engine/gearbox/turbo that can be modified each year, over the next 5 years, I think.
        This should benefit McLaren, as it gives Honda an extra year of development, and they can see where alterations are necessary. It must also benefit Honda as they are not restricted on any development caps or testing of their powertrain until 2015.

        • I understood that the engined are homologated for the season. Also any changes made, must be made to all customer engines too so as to eliminate the works teams getting an advantage.

        • Indeed that’s correct and is a major reason that Honda will benefit. Hopefully they have acquired a Dallara as a test mule. I wonder how many Honda people are circulating at McLaren even now.

      • Renault were probably hamstrung in their development waiting on the cheque from Lotus for engines supplied and used in seasons past.

      • Makes Horner’s comment about only half of the teams finishing the first race more interesting aka might there be more to Renault’s woes than they are letting on. As things stand, I’m guessing Ferrari and Mercedes will delay things quite a bit if Renault want to make changes. I think the engines become fixed on the 28th of February.

    • I thought all the engine manufacturers have some leeway from the FIA to modify these new designs for a few months, as needed.

      At the moment I can’t recall where I saw that, so perhaps I’m mistaken.

    • Enzo!!! you mean the French governing body which is based in Paris-France allowed the main French manufacturer time to redesign their engine so that they could compete with the others who are not French?
      Sacre Bleu!

    • enzo, any hints as to how Chrysler will be pronounced in the FIAT tie up, please?
      (I’m thinking it will be like it was pronounced during their Dime-ler period).

    • omfg! lmfao! FICA! FIGA! GNOCCA! PATATA! SORCA! MUSA! e TOPA! hehehe…i miss montecatini terme!!! genova and Pescia, too!

      🙁 now I’m sad. I really miss Pescia. It’s funny, even though the longest period I spent there (over a week) was in their hospital after my last race, i loved toscana so much, almost as much as Cuba!

      My heart aches thinking about those places…

    • That is funny… wonder if Bernie is suing them for using the name that FOCA used to be called before someone pointed out in the late 70’s what it actually meant in Italian… lol

    • Says Google Translate “We will beat the competition of the ox carts” LOL best thing ever, Google Translate…

  14. I think the sound is OK and certainly better than I expected. I just hope that in person you feel it in your chest the same as the V10s (IMO the best sound F1 ever created). And I also hope that the gear shift pop/backfire is as loud as it was with those V10s.

    Does anyone have a db meter reading comparison “in the field” trackside (not in the dyno) between the V8s and these V6s?

    Has that weak fluttery sound during upshifts has also become more prominent with these new powertrains? What causes it?

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