Scream: The end of an era
Formula 1 is indeed entertainment. It comes with a balanced romance of thrills and speed, danger and talent. However there can be an entirely separate appreciation for the noise alone that a Formula 1 engine expels.
It is easy to be thankful of lateral and vertical G-forces, cornering speeds and breaking distances, but nothing can measure against the 147db of a Formula 1 car’s drive by. Any louder and the vibrations become nearly impossible for a person to close his/her throat. Over the years, we have seen regulations change, and with that there have been deviations in the pitch and loudness of engines – each with its very own unique traits. In the 50’s drivers, engineers and fans alike were treated to the rugged, coarse sounds of a v16 BRM. Its noise was so imperfect and unrefined it was simply beautiful. One can only imagine how it could have shattered the delicate silence of British countryside all those years ago. Then came more developments in regulations which brought the shrieking sound of the v12 Ligier Matra to Formula 1’s ears during the 70’s and was a difficult benchmark tone for any engine maker to equal. Not many have been lucky enough to be graced with the prompt blare of a Ligier Matra in the flesh. Hearing driver vs. machine shifting through gears and away into the distant regions of a track is a pleasure that only a lucky handful have had the privilege to listen to. Then, during the 1980’s, we witnessed Formula 1’s first era of turbo charged cars, and with it, came its own distinctively terrifying racket. Cars reached roughly 1400 bhp during qualifying days. Twin turbo engines would have a deafening roar with flames spitting and licking the air around the rear exhausts. It was so frightening it looked almost sinister. Come 1989, the world of F1 was set to return to the pleasures and sounds of naturally aspirated engines. Fans were treated to the high pitched revving screams of the cars that would make the 90’s and the first decade of the 2000’s an infamous chapter of Formula 1.
2014 has reached a landmark in the sports history. Engines are now described as “Power Units” where cars are prescribed to have a reduced engine size of 1.6 litre capacity accompanied with an improved and more efficient KERS system which is now branded as ERS. This year, the new power units have gained a large amount of criticism. From the notorious screams of 2013’s V8 engines to the lazy, unenthusiastic groans of 2014’s hybrid power units, Formula One finds itself in its own entertainment turmoil. F1 has always been about the whole show, the whole package, that comes with a grand prix weekend. Come across a fan (or anyone with an appreciation for motorsport), ask him/her about it and they will probably begin to make the obvious statements. They will mention Schumacher, Senna, the little man with the grey hair, Eau Rouge, Monaco and perhaps ask “and isn’t there also a night race?” They might go on to tell you about teams like Ferrari, and McLaren – the legendary teams. And then they will probably tell you how fast the cars go, and then move onto the noise, oh the noise. Hold on. What noise? 2014 has delivered somewhat of an anti-climax to the renaissance of the turbo era. The soft lazy like drones of the cars has received an underwhelmed reaction. Ear plug manufacturers should be making a loss from hereon, and are likely to be found sitting around a boardroom table wondering what other market is so loud that requires ear plugs.
We are now coming towards the twilight of this 2014 season. The indefinite end with an indefinite result. It would appear that the rest of the grid barring the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and friend turned nemesis Nico Rosberg has been plagued by the success of the German works team. Albeit with the exception of a few star performances. This season has created some phenomenal racing and has been the year of the underdogs. We have seen the rise of a talented and possible future world champion, Daniel Riccardo, the only man on the grid to win a grand prix other than Lewis or Nico (for now). Furthermore we have seen a rejuvenated Williams team, which bites at the heels of its competitors, dressed in a sexy new Martini livery.
Despite what critics say about the noises or lack thereof, and a drop in viewership, this season has produced some remarkable racing with some action packed drama to fill the gaps. 2014 has been fantastic to enjoy. Silly season is upon us where some strange and outrageous statements and rumours are made, where bluffing is seemingly expected and stranger things have happened.
Revs for thought
Credit for pictures
Posted on October 25, 2014, in Currents News, Historics, Original Pieces and tagged Bernie Ecclestone, F1, Ferrari, Formula One, Grand Prix, history, loud, McLaren, motosrport, noise, Race, Turbo. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.