The future of F1 in 2014 sounds bright, according to selected media who were lucky enough to hear a new Mercedes V6 turbo engine at full noise on Friday.
Ever since the FIA declared F1 would be switching to 1.6 litre turbocharged V6 engines from 2014 fears have existed that the new engines would produce a sound not befitting the world’s premier motorsport category.
“The engines are going to be loud, but I think sweet sounding,” said Andy Cowell, managing director of Mercedes-Benz HPP on Friday.
“The frequency will be higher and, with the turbocharger running at 125,000rpm, they will be loud,” added Cowell. “There will be a new quality to the racing too. It will edge towards a thinking drivers’ formula to get the most from the car and the available fuel energy.
“The engines will also deliver much more torqueâ€”especially on the exit of the corners. Cars with more power than grip coming out of the cornersâ€”that is something that we all enjoy.
“They will also put F1 back at the cutting edge of new technologyâ€”which is what the fans want.”
Another change in the new engine regs is a greater reliance on KERS, which will be referred to simply as Energy Recovery System (ERS). Currently KERS offers an extra 80hp for 6.7 seconds per lap, but ERS will boost performance by 161hp for up to 33.3 seconds.
“Today it is difficult to be quick without KERSâ€”for 2014 it will be impossible to go racing without ERS,” Cowell claimed.
Unfortunately for us Mercedes has protected their intellectual property and those present on Friday were prevented from taking any cameras or audio recording devices into Brixworth. The end result means there will be no audio revealed to the public at this early stage in development.
New engines could sound sweeter than current V8s
Autosport journalist Jonathon Noble has offered some brief comments on the Mercedes engine test at Brixworth:
At Brixworth today, Mercedes-Benz delivered its definitive answer to the debate when it played the audio from a dyno simulated lap of the Monza track.
And the smiles around the table of those hearing it for the first time delivered a conclusive answer that fans will have little to worry about.
Yes, the high-pitched shriek of the V8 engines hitting the rev limiter at 18,000rpm may be gone, but the new deeper noise is certainly nothing to be disappointed about.
There is still a solidness to the sound; one that will be amplified when the engines are put onto racing cars with proper exhausts and allowed to play flat-chat on race tracks around the world.
Mercedes’ engine chief Andy Cowell reckons the new engines actually sound ‘sweeter’ than the current V8s, and no one present today could disagree.
Meanwhile, the BBC’s Andrew Benson offered the following views via twitter:
Fascinating afternoon at Mercedes F1 engine base learning important things about 2014 engines
First key point – ignore all nonsense about them sounding bad. Have heard one. Slightly higher frequency than current V8s. Sounds fine
Mercedes say new engines will be slightly quieter because they’re turbos but “sweeter sounding”… Cont’d
New F1 engines 2014: wider power band, much more torque on corner exits, where will be more power than grip. Got to be a good thing