There have been complaints about the noise produced by the current generation of 1.6-liter, turbo’d V6 hybrid Formula One engines ever since they were introduced in 2014.
Many of those complaints have come within F1 itself, from drivers, team personnel and ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone, as well as fans. They say the noise is too flat, too boring and, most of all, too quiet.
But all the complainants assume a false equivalency: that a louder noise is a better noise. The old, naturally aspirated, 2.4-liter V8 motors that the current hybrids replaced were quite staggeringly loud as they revved round to 18,000 revs-per-minute or more. And hearing one in action was a truly spine-tingling experience.
One being the operative word here. Because when 20 of them were running, you soon realized the sound emanating from the exhausts of these things was nothing more than an hysterical white noise, like an immense dentist’s drill boring into the center of your brain. At least, that’s how I experienced it during the three grands prix I went to during that period. Yes, the noise was loud, but it was very low on quality.
The new engines, though, are, I think, much more interesting to listen to. You can hear the fuel detonating (practically), the turbos chattering, the hybrid system whirring, the brakes locking, the tyres sliding. And, much importantly, the circuit commentary, the guy sat next to you and your own thoughts.
Yes, the current engines produce a quieter noise but, in this writer’s opinion, it is a better noise.
Anyway, here’s a faucet that sounds a lot like an F1 engine. I think it sounds like a late, early 2000s 3.0-litre V10, such as that in the video below.