#F1 Features: #F1 monkey off the back

It’s probably a good thing in F1 that controversy is never far from boiling over and becoming bigger than the actual racing we want to watch. With only 19 races this year – probably 18 should the EU and the USA continue on its path of isolating Russia – there’s only so much technical and strategic analysis we can conjure up from 305 kilometres of racing.

untitledF1 started 2014 with one very large monkey on its back – a positive giant Mandrill even – and that was the fact that after 8 years of screaming 18,000rpm V8’s we were returning to a turbo era with smaller engines. NOISE! This had been the concern for everyone. Would the experience of F1 through our sense of hearing be diminished?

Of course, the F1 ringmaster has been upping the anti for years stating he was against changing the V8’s and has banged the drum over rallying the troops to revolt against a diminished noise experience for quite some time.

Razlan Razali, promoter of the Malaysian race and billionaire son of the former prime minister – has made contradictory comments on the topic of the reduced noise. Earlier in the week he suggested more families may attend the race due to them being less concerned about damage to their children’s ears.

Today he is quoted as suggesting it may affect the race atmosphere, however, he demonstrated that the design of the grandstand roof had considered noise amplification when constructed and this should mitigate the reduction in sound levels.

untitledThe big news is – that for the first time in 2014, Mr. Ecclestone bothered to turn up and listen in person to the new breed of F1 cars, and he commented on more than one occasion that “it’s better than I thought”. When pressed whether it should be even louder, Bernie shrugged and suggested, “a little bit”. Though he did reveal that he’d been informed by engineers increasing the volume via exhaust tuning would not work.

So there we have it. The engines are officially “loud”, but could be a little louder to be optimum.

Having listened to the popular media which includes the BBC for the past 2 weeks, it has been a source of dismay the oxygen they have given to this topic. An ageing and retiring Ron Walker spits his dummy out and makes ridiculous claims about suing F1 and all we hear about this new fantastic technical formula is noise, noise, noise… or lack of.

It was clear to TJ13 within a day of the Melbourne race, that the TV experience was significantly misrepresentative of that felt by fans attending and hearing the cars for the first time in Melbourne. A casual glance at twitter also reveals this to be the case – that there is a disconnect between the trackside experience and for those watching on TV.

Even Ecclestone admitted, “we need to sort out the TV – get it turned up a little”, so the conspiracy theories suggesting Ecclestone had deliberately instructed FOM TV to reduce the trackside sound in the final mix, may have been rather premature. However, the lack of foresight of FOM TV to anticipate this problem and devise new sound recording solutions requires the introduction of ‘Madame Guillotine’.

Last year, a number of the broadcasters persistently moaned and complained about tyres to the point of exasperation, however even the likes of David Croft and Martin Brundle who are not known to see the glass half full, are making it clear the new V6 sound is definitely adding to the experience of attending an F1 circuit.

Brundle described the Mercedes as “soulfull”, and today at the final hairpin, the number of times we could hear the tyre squeal as the drivers overcooked their approach – was fantastic.

TJ13 has been running a poll, and we say a huge thank you to all who participated. It has featured the biggest number of votes yet. So far 607 votes have revealed the following.

The sound of the new F1 engines is

Votes cast so far….607
Very Good       16%
Good               35%
Average           18%
Bad                  17%
Very Bad          11%
No Opinion     3%

It is definitely the case that a majority of you will have never heard one of the new F1 cars in the flesh, however, those making a positive vote represent 50% of the total.

Those voting negatively, represent a smaller but still sizeable 28% of the total.

We even have Ecclestone intimating he’ll cease his “ya boo, told you so” antics and hopefully kick some FOM TV butt at the same time.

I did notice that during the night time hours when more TJ13 readers from the America’s would be voting, the negative opinions were much stronger. Let’s hope the Canadian, US and other broadcasters of that region sort out their issues and bring you a more representative engine sound soon, because F1 needs the fans of the America’s. TJ13 also recognises you are around 30% of our readership.

Sebastian Vettel appears to have once again misjudged the general mood of the F1 fans when he rather crassly described the new F1 engine sound as “shit”, adding, “and where do batteries belong? – in a mobile phone”.

TJ13 recommends Seb checks out what the latest supercar manufacturers are producing and maybe as quadruple F1 champion he should get with the times.

untitledSo – one Mandrill slain, and in a few races hopefully the shallow and sensationalist British media, predominantly the written press, will realise they are wrong and refuse to give the ‘reduced noise’ minority lobby any oxygen of publicity.

All we need is the fuel sensor flow rate matter to be put to bed, and we can focus more on watching the drivers battle with their torque wrenched beasts and appreciate the skill of the engineers as they seek to tune them from without and within. Most importantly, it appears as though the racing this year may be very interesting indeed.


48 responses to “#F1 Features: #F1 monkey off the back

  1. Can’t you even write an article about bloody noise without somehow contriving a dig at Vettel or Red Bull in the process? You already wrote that in the news. What does it add to the content of the article that he thinks the sound is shit? Do you really think he’s going to change his opinion because you told him so? Get over it, godammit! And besides, there’s still a 31% percent portion of readers, who agree with him.

    *stomps off*

    • ….because Red Bull and Vettel continually decide to put themselves in the forefront of the news… and its pertinent to this story that Vettel is even now out of line with his uncle Bernie…

      ….no other driver has described F1 as ‘shit’ – its irresponsible and not becoming of a quadruple world champion and someone who has just won the coveted Laureus global award presented annually to just a single sports person from the whole of planet earth.

      Further ‘shit’ would be more likely “very bad” which is just 11% – and most of them have heard rubbish TV broadcasts.

      • First of all, you conveniently omitted, that Mr. E, although he said it is louder than he had thought, still says that it ‘sounds terrible’. Just a thought. There’s more to the sound than decibels.

        Second. Vettel didn’t describe F1 as shit, but the sound and To say that he doesn’t like the fact that they now have PU’s which are overly complicated and break down if you look at them cross-eyed is called a ‘valid opinion’. So only because he was WDC is he now required to sing the praises of F1 no matter what he thinks personally?

        We’ve often complained that drivers toe the corporate party line and are too streamlined. But dare one of them offers his opinion. Ridiculous!

        • …as noted in the piece – this is the new F1 – agreed by the engine manufacturers and the nigh on $1bn investment in the ERS dependant engines is not going away – so Mr.V needs to stop moaning and get with the programme.

          Clearly such young global champs have too little life experience to understand what is and what is not important – and what not to say… when

          Riding high on the crest of x consecutive wins, I suspect Seb wishes he hadn’t made the comments about his competitors chillin’ with their ‘balls in the pool’ – another ill advised and childish statement – because it could be suggested that Red Bull’s success may have in fact made them complacent…

          • That sort of drivel is what tells me you’re blinded by your hatred. First of all – if RB have become complacent, you should fear the day they put their mind to the task. Last thing I heard was that just about every competitor said their car is the best. The one thing they don’t build – the PU – seems to be the tricky bit.

            Who says Vettel moans so that the engines get changed back. He expressed his displeasure and I tend to agree. The current F1 is a complete clusterfuck. Everything seems to be dominated by wonky sensors, FIA Viruses uploaded to ECU’s and on top of it, it all sounds like the all-state endurance hovering championship on TV. I can moan or bitch about it all I want; Russia won’t give Crimea back to Ukraine. But I am allowed to say that, aren’t I? The same should apply to a F1 driver no matter how often he won the title. Had Kimi said the cars sound shit we’d all be hailing his no-nonsense straight-talking approach.

          • …’hatred’ lol…. your rhetoric suggests only one of us is suffering from extreme emotions….. mud too hot today?

            As to being a ‘clusterf%^k’, F1 has far less to consider than the new WEC – which I may add is where a certain Mark Webber is heading…. I digress..

            One fan commented on twitter earlier, “In LMP1 there is 2wd & 4wd, energy storage by flywheel, capacitor and battery, V4, V6 and V8 motors, turbos and atmos. F1, sort yourself out”.

            Maybe its the case that F1 doesn’t even have the best engineers in world motor sport anymore?

            Then again – only 1 team is publicly ‘wailing and gnashing their teeth’.

          • “Who’s the more foolish: the fool, or the fool who follows him?”

            OBI-WAN KENOBI, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

          • Had Kimi said the cars sound shit we’d all be hailing his no-nonsense straight-talking approach.

            No, ‘we’ wouldn’t.

            Anyway, didn’t you *stomp* off ?

            (& btw, as for the egregious Ecclestone, I submit that the opinions of octogenarians are not particularly useful when it comes to judging noise levels…)

          • TJ13, you complain of Vettel’s frankness but today during the press conference the fat wet one’s favorite toad (Saward) accused teams of blocking drivers from speaking honestly. I’ve heard and read of this grievance elsewhere. Perhaps it would be best to return to chambers for further consideration.

          • Not against Seb expressing his opinion, however, “shit” is hardly a considered or particularly enlightening position to take… It also reveals Vettel’s utter contempt, upon which I have commented is rather a crass attitude.

          • Am I the only one who thinks that Danilo’s/Hippo’s style of writing has become more and more…how should I say it kindly…disruptive? Unpleasant tone of writing? Not constructive and a bit aggressive at times? Not enjoyable maybe?

  2. “2-D pie charts are terrible. That makes 3-D pie charts terrible to the 3/2
    — Frank Harrell
    R-help (April 2006)”

    Please NEVER use 3-D pie charts. A simple bar graph would suffice, and be more intuitive.

  3. A far better poll to run would be one that asked if you had actually ever heard a F1 engine, from any era, running at or near its rev limit ,on the track. I would suspect that the answer most people would give is no. So they are complaining about something they actually haven’t heard. If TV did give a realistic sense of the loudness and intensity, certainly for the last 10 years, you’d be wearing earplugs while watching a race at home.

    • I’m going to Silverstone again this year, and the thing I am looking forward to, is perhaps being able to chat to my brother and my dad about the race, as opposed to 2008, when after the race, my mate turned to me and said… ‘hey listen, there was commentary on the loudspeakers apparently’ lol, O.K we weren’t close to them, but it was still a bit antisocial.

    • I’ve heard v12, v10 and v8 in real life. As far as formula one goes…Never heard the v6 live (yet). That’s why I voted average. Because it sounded average on tv. The only way I could compare it… so did my buddy. And he was disappointed he got up in the morning for Australia. (I’m a bit more hardcore, I’m never disappointed when it comes to f1). And im old enough to remember there was controversy everytime the engines changed. But i do know that nothing ever baffled me more than a v10 with some 20,000 RPM. That shit was crazy!

    • I have heard the V8’s live, once at Singapore and once at Spa. Both times I had to have horrible bits of plastic/rubber (what are they made with?) stuffed in my ears. For me, that detracted somewhat from my enjoyment of the overall sensation of being there, live, in the flesh and experiencing F1 with almost all my senses. I mean, it’s like having sex with a condom on – sure it’s safer but it just doesn’t feel as good.

      The new engines/sound is probably the only reason I’m considering going back to the Sg race this year. If they stuff around with the sound I may reconsider.

      • I work with earplugs. Custom made, so the experience isn’t as horrible. (They let certain sounds trough, and they sit comfortably) but just like your condom example. They make you last longer and the choice to use em is up to you…

        • I disagree that there is a “choice” to use them. I agree that there are other types of protection that can be used, but my point is, that without protection most people experienced physical pain and almost certain damage to their eardrums with the V8 engines.

          I note that people in the garages and on pit wall are still using some form of protection this year, so the engibes certainly can’t be as “quiet/soft” as some would have us believe.

          • Or was your use of the word “choice” referring to condoms and not earplugs? (I was going to say something “clever” here but kept changing my mind on exactly what for want of offending anyone).

  4. One suggestion I have to improve the viewing experience is to use the unidirectional parabolic microphones as used in other sports.

    I’ve seen it on NFL.

    Maybe Mattp55 or other American’s can help with examples of other sports it’s used in ?

    It really makes a difference in collecting and isolating the sound on the field of play over the stadium / crowd noise.

    And crowd noise in NFL stadiums can reach 108 dB …… !

    Also the parabolic reflector is transparent plastic – so it wouldn’t intrude into a drivers line of sight.

    • I want to hear what I see on tv. So if there’s this cameraspot at a hairpin, I want to hear the audience around it and the cars approaching and accelarating off. Not cars driving in the background – which is the current modus for F1. So incredibly much to do for proper sound engineers and directors!

      • ” Not cars driving in the background … ”

        totally agree.

        You could see in free practice they’d just bolted some microphones onto the Armco. Seemingly at random too, to record the sound.

        Bloody useless …… 🙁

  5. Here is a video comparing the engine sound as heard in the stands at Melbourne on lap1, 2013 vs 2014

      • I did watch/listen to those.

        This one compares race day action with engines and cars in race trim, plus all of them going past in a few seconds.

        • …but was the same equipment used in each year? etc etc….

          And there is a lot of other things to hear too, tyre squeal is actually quite impressive and that’s been masked for years… and the dancing cars are a joy to watch – watching cars cornering as though they are on rails is not as exciting

          • The difference in sound between Jerez and the Oz GP and today is quite dramatic.

            I was listening to the Jerez test on Sky F1 – and the clarity and level of the sound was great.

            In Melbourne and now Sepang – it sounds like the cars have been recorded under water ….

            I’m sure there’s some shennanigans going on !

        • I reside in the States.
          I watch Sky F1 on the ‘puter hooked into some “semi-decent” amplified speakers.
          I listened to the sounds posted by your Honor from testing.
          those sounds were REALLY “shitty” – like Aunt Gerty having too much cabbage, beans and beer 🙂
          sound “quality” from Australia and this w/e are much more sophisticated and pleasant as the software engineers, teams and drivers become more familiar with the beasts.
          I have played around some with the EQ and environmental settings to gain a wee bit of a better experience at home.
          I have NO idea whether there are nefarious forces at play within the FOM feed or Sky broadcast; nor if there is gross ineptitude involved.

          have attended races since the ’50’s through this AM St Pete Indycar GP practice 1. spent a number of years participating in carts, Solo II, time trials, hillclimbs, track days, and SCCA club racing – even did a few drag races – in anything from carts to street cars thru Formula Atlantic. spectated and/or worked corners or timing and scoring at local amatuer dirt tracks, WoO, 5 and 24 hr bike enduros, flat track dirt bike and motocross, 6 hr FIA Enduros, Trans-Am, F5000, Can Am, Indy Cars, Funny Car drags, and many US and Canadian F1 races. (prolly attended too many live rock concerts too 🙂 hearing is still pretty much intact at 66 and I never wore hearing protection…

          I am not saying the sound level needs to be ear splitting. far from it. I gave up a year long SCCA ride after 3 laps due to bleeding ears and eyes and overall body pain inflicted by a 300+ Mazda RX2 at 12,000 rpm+ with the header dumping under the floorpan! if only they had run a SS pipe to the back… it was pretty sweet…

          having said all that:
          I find it ludicrous and massively moronic and unforgiveably stupid that the “power unit” sound levels {as broadcasts by Sky F1} were nearly drowned out once by an overhead helicopter and once by the gravel hitting LH’s car as he navigated the gravel trap.

          unacceptible and totally representative of “shitty”, regardless of who says it…

          that is why I voted very bad on the poll!

          • BTW, that 72 ci rotary was WAY more extruciating in its pain level than the Lockeed SR-71 Blackbird which lit the afterburners and shattered every window glass in every hanger at Mt Home AFB in Idaho in 1972 🙂

    • 2013 sounds like real, familiar F1
      2014 sounds like Star Wars spacecrafts, not as good
      Will have to wait till Silverstone to make up my mind in person

  6. re. ” … however, he demonstrated that the design of the grandstand roof had considered noise amplification when constructed and this should mitigate the reduction in sound levels. .. ”

    Did Bernie say that before or after Tan Sri Dato’ Seri. Ahmad Razlan bin Ahmad Razali the Chief Executive Officer of Sepang International Circuit?

    At about 1min50sec in the interview here,
    the Singapore race organiser and Bernie claim that the canopy design at Sepang reflects the sound to the grandstand.

    • The Singapore F1 organiser is “OBS” – Ong Beng Seng :
      “Ong Beng Seng (b. 1944, Sabah, Malaysia – ) is a Malaysian hotel and property tycoon based in Singapore. Ong and his Singaporean wife, Christina Ong were ranked seventh on Forbes magazine’s 2011 list of Singapore’s richest people with an estimated net worth of S$1.9 billion. He is managing director of public-listed Hotel Properties Limited (HPL), which is involved in hotel investment and management, property development and retail. Ong played a key role in bringing the Formula One (F1) race to Singapore and owns the rights to the Singapore Grand Prix.”

  7. “One suggestion I have to improve the viewing experience is to use the unidirectional parabolic microphones as used in other sports.
    I’ve seen it on NFL.”

    Rarely used during live action in the NFL- almost exclusively for replays. They are usually linked in the control room to a one or two cameras that are used for close ups.

  8. 1was enjoying reading insightful Fl titbits that don’t turn up elsewhere but the Judge is talking utter nonsense and making up Vettels character as he goes along. He was asked his opinion of the sound and he thought it was shit and went on to make a full and understandable explanation based on going to gp as a kid and the excitement of the noise. All you have to do is stop making things up .. Opinion is fine if it is based on some verifiable evidence and at least in part balanced. Having some anti red bull apostles in your corner is quite meaningless. I hope you focus on insight which is your strength.

    • ….. and last year when it was Lewis in the spotlight…. I was anti Lewis, then anti Ferrari when Luca and Alonso were at war…. anti Charlie W when race stewarding was called into question…. anti Kimi when I questioned him bringing his non-payment into the public domain… anti Boullier, Lopez, Mallya, Whitmarsh, Button… etc etc

      If you’re new to TJ13 – we have a healthy but skeptical view of the “snake pit of vipers” as Niki describes the paddock and its folk…..

      Insight, opinion, rumour, gossip, tech analysis, comment – we do it all……

    • …F1 is actually in dire straights in many ways, listening to the same voices each year complaining about whatever they think is disadvantaging them is tiresome… F1 needs advocates, positive voices… and the world champion ought to be one of those.

      After all the direction for the next several years is set and irreversible, so as I wrote, raging against the new ‘F1’ and ERS and batteries is futile… it does demonstrate a flawed short termism in Vettel’s thinking because at present he feels disadvantaged – had Renault and RB come out of the blocks ahead of the rest – would the complaining be the same?

      But it is good Vettel says what he feels – because it gives us insights into his character deficiencies.

      • hopefully, your Honor is not alluding that Senna, Prost, Shummi, etc. did NOT have massive character deficiencies???

      • Wouldnt it be better to be rarely accused of being anti anyone, ie telling it straight? .. You seem to imprint a made up view of Vettel onto his words.. Is he complaining? Like Real world complaining? Was he jumping up and down saying make it change or else, How do you know how strongly he really feels about it. Alonso recently said they have to programme them like computers, so where is his slating. Cynicism is fine I am first to suspect red cars trying to weasle some extra points somehow, but unfortunately the opinion writing is just fluff and playing to the rb are evil bandwagon kid/numpty crowd. So (not said for effect or that I expect it to bother you in any way) I regretfully reverse out of here as seems the party host and his guests fit the straight line proportional graph that is y axis: how much you hate rb/Vettel, x axis: numpty quotient. ( runs away fearing pitchforks!! )

  9. i hope crofty turns the volume down at the start, ruined the lights out experience for me

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