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.