Jean Todt, 2017

Todt acknowledges calls for louder F1 engines

2018 F1 season

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FIA president Jean Todt says he is happy with how F1 engines sound at the moment but is willing to increase the noise in response to public opinion.

“If you ask me, I don’t need the noise,” Todt told a media briefing at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last year. “I’m quite happy with that. I don’t think we don’t need noise, but I’m quite happy with the noise we have now.”

Honda RA617H power unit, 2017
What F1 spectators say about the engine noise debate
“The only problem is that it seems there are a lot of complaints about the noise. I’m sure, if you are here with 20, 25 people, we will have different opinions about the noise. So, if we can please people by giving more noise, I’m not against that at all, so we simply need to see how to give more noise.”

Changes to the engine formula for 2021 are under discussion. Todt admitted there are other shortcomings to the current formula which need to be addressed but doesn’t expect the next engine formula to be radically different.

“We are talking, it has started already months ago, with actual engine manufacturers, with potential engine suppliers, with the commercial rights holder, what should be a good engine.”

“If you ask me what I feel about the actual engine, it has been one interesting exercise. I think it’s too complicated, I think it’s too expensive, but it’s probably a very good first step to go to a next generation of engine, which will be… an evolution of what we have now.”

“I am against starting on a completely new development of engine, but I think we should take the upmost from what we have understood from this engine and allow the actual manufacturers who have been investing heavily to be able to enjoy what they have been investing for the next generation of engine, and also encouraging newcomers to come.”

Read Dieter Rencken’s new column later today on F1 Fanatic. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 41 comments on “Todt acknowledges calls for louder F1 engines”

    1. Louder doesn’t matter. It matters that they sound BETTER.

      1. Because that definitely isn’t a completely subjective category …
        I personally love the current engines and how they sound, never been happier in that respect in over 20 years.

        1. I’m very glad for you.
          And yes, it’s a subjective category. That doesn’t make a difference. It’s also a subjective category whether louder is an improvement.

      2. @rahnarlsmenves are you talking about TV or on-track noise? Because on-track the sound is beautiful and growling IMO. And you don’t need autistic earplugs so you can exchange views with your friends yay! Bring a sound engineer and TV sound is fixed so that we can pay attention to the real problems.

        1. @spoutnik – +1 to this. I remember seeing fan videos from the 2016 Brazilian GP had these cars snarling, while the FOM feed had the typical wimpy sound.

        2. Travis Oreali (@)
          17th January 2018, 10:49

          Exactly. I can take my 7yo daughter to the races and she doesn’t need oversized ear muffs.

        3. Tell me about how autistic those earplugs. I’d like to learn more about this mental illness you speak of.

          1. @rahnarlsmenves what’s the point having a sound so scorching you have to protect your ears of? Have you already spent two hours sit on a chair watching a race with your wife just next to you and not being able to exchange a few words without lots of discomfort? You end up with barely talking or not at all. Now it sounds great, with lots of differences between the cars and you can even predict from which team is a car that’s approaching. But tv sound is not great though. There are areas of improvements.

            1. You may want to look up the word “autistic” to understand @rahnarlsmenves comment.

        4. Michael Brown (@)
          17th January 2018, 19:36

          @spoutnik What has FOM done to change this? Nothing, except for that experimental microphone on Perez’s car for a session in the 2017 USGP.

          There has to be someone working for F1 who watches the cars live and then watched the footage recorded on the world feed and thinks: “That doesn’t sound the same.”

          I know there was a difference between the V8s on TV and in-person, but with these engines the difference is much more noticeable. And nothing has been done about it in almost 4 years.

        5. Wholly agree there @spoutnik. In other words, we just need the TV mics to pick up more of the interesting sound.

          1. +1

            And better camera deployment to capture the insane speed that looks slow on TV compared to live

      3. Louder also means wasting more energy to make that sound. I don’t care about the sound the cars make personally. Yeah the cars where louder back in the old days but the was beacuse of the technology at the time meant they were loud, they weren’t designed to make a certain sound it was just how the engines sounded . Things have changed, the cars need to be designed to perform on track not for the sound they make.

    2. Yes, because this is what is holding us back from proper wheel-to-wheel racing.


    3. looking forward for the headline “Todt acknowledges calls for issue that really matter”

      not today my friends, not today…

      1. Todt told a media briefing at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last year

        This isn’t about Todt. I’m certain that he has acknowledged hundreds of other issues, it’s just that this particular piece of information was quoted seemingly out of nowhere, two months later.

        1. It is about F1 and FIA, which Todt is the face of.
          Still looking forward for the fictitious headline…

          1. What I was trying to say was: The lack of such a headline may not be Todt’s fault at all.

    4. I just watched a WW2 documentary yesterday, and it talked about German diving bombers having those air stream powered sirens (basically whistles) that made scary, intimidating whistling noise. Obviously, with a different purpose in mind… but on a second thought – perhaps not that different after all. Or actually – exactly thesame? The documentary even compared it to Formula 1 engine sound!

      Let’s have those fitted onto the cars, and the job is done! With no cost involved.

      For reference:

      1. I can see a Honda sounding like that, especially with the BOOM at the end

    5. Jesus christ FIA get a grip

    6. He should just adjust his hearing aids…

    7. For me it is not the noise that is the problem, it is the complexity and the costs of the engines that has led F1 to having very few engine manufacturers involved in the championship. This means there is a severe lack of options for teams so most have no choice but to be a paying customer instead of being a factory-backed or works team, this limits their competitiveness and has meant F1 has become effectively a two-tier competition.

    8. No need for louder engines. The sound isn’t the most important thing in motorsport anyway. I’m perfectly fine with the current sound both on trackside and on TV. The only thing if anything that really needs fixing is the ‘following another car closely’ problem.

    9. The ‘volume’ is only a problem because just about everyone in F1 (Some of who have an agenda against these engines anyway) has spent the last 5 years telling us they sound bad.

      If in 2014 those in F1 had stood behind the engines rather than piling hatred on them at every given opportunity I don’t think we would still be here talking about it now.

      Look at the V8’s. When they were introduced to replace the V10’s the fans hated the way they sounded & a lot of drivers in 2006 complained about how much less of a challenge to drive they were compared to the V10’s due to having less quite a bit less torque. Yet as 2006 went on even though people still through they were not as good as the V10’s they simply accepted the change & shut up & it got to the point where now many of the same people that were so against the V8’s in 2006 seem desperate for them to be brought back just because they were loud.

    10. Drown our emotions in loud noise so we wont recognize the lack of real entertainment?

      Sometimes you can go too far though. Check out the Formula Thunder test runs, it’s overwhelming loud and IMO makes the cars look primative.
      Remember this is just exhaust gas noise being amplified in metal pipes. It’s not engine noise.

      This Formula was designed off the back of F1 cars apparantly becoming too quiet.

      1. The exhausts should be an easy fix to make the noise louder. You should send this to Jean Todt and problem will be solved.
        They should make the exhausts bigger. The bigger the exhausts the louder the car will be. Every year the exhausts seem to get smaller. With this idea the current engines will stay and will keep the teams and engine suppliers happy.

        1. How exactly do you make them louder without increasing RPM and fuel flow? They have no restrictions or anything in the exhaust to muffle the noise. Sitting trackside for the Canadian GP I never once thought they weren’t loud enough. The TV does a horrible job picking up the lower frequencies sounds those cars make.

    11. We need the vicious loud noise back in F1 because power, unbelievable speed and sound is what F1 is all about. This new generation is sounding like a dyson hoover and very soon they will be electric and then they can shove it where the sun don’t shine. The FIA needs a change of plan otherwise there won’t be Formula 1 or Ferrari. So wheel to action, super sonic speed and screaming noise is Formula 1, END OF.

    12. I really appreciate the technological aspect of the V6-T Hybrids, Mercedes breaking 50% thermal efficiency with that performance is an amazing fest, but I was quite underwhelmed with the noise in person, after visiting Monza in 2017.

    13. Who’s stupid idea was it to put halo’s on the cars which will cause server problems with driver vision and F1 is open cockpit racing and always has been. Secondly the lack noise is abit of an issue because they sound like dyson vacuums, the FIA has gone to far going Green which is a real stupid idea for Formula 1. The last good sound was from 2013. But I see this sport being destroyed by tree huggers, nerds, bureaucrats and scumbags that no nothing about F1

    14. A politician’s response if ever I heard one!

    15. Engine sound, including its volume is the reason I got sucked into F1 20 years ago and it’s the main reason I haven’t bought a ticket to see a race in the last 4 years.

      1. I went to Silverstone last year and you could easily hear them from the car parks. How far away do you really want to hear them?

    16. Michael Brown (@)
      17th January 2018, 19:38

      A practical solution would be to hire a competent audio engineer so the cars on TV sound like the cars in real life.

      1. What about those of us at the track? One of the reasons I go to the race to watch the race rather than watch on TV (which let’s face it, is a better view) is for the all senses immersion you get trackside. I like to smell the fuel, have the engines so loud it makes my ears bleed, have my seat shake from 20 cars going past. You don’t get that at home.

    17. An engine that sounds like an engine (it goes louder and higher when going up within a gear, the opposite when going down within a gear, changing gear makes a more noticeable break in sound than most other influences barring starting/stopping) would be helpful. It’s embarrassing that Formula E is managing a better job of that than Formula 1 at the moment, when Formula E has very little engine sound to work with in the first place :(

      This is why putting the experimental exhaust on earlier didn’t work – the amplification only reinforced the non-engine-like sound.

    18. I prefer my road cars quiet, and my racecars loud.

      Unfortunately, F1 is striving to be a road car.

    19. I must say I’ve never seen these modern F1 cars live, so if people say they sound better live I can’t go against that.

      But, I have seen V10 and V8 cars live and they sounded just brutal. That raw thrilling raoring went through your bones and it felt FAST.

      1. “But, I have seen V10 and V8 cars live and they sounded just brutal. That raw thrilling raoring went through your bones and it felt FAST.”

        What were the stand-out overtaking moves you saw live during this era?

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