Thursday, 10 April 2014

If you’re a motorsport fan and if you're reading this I’m assuming you are, there are some key reasons you enjoy it and other reasons that give it the icing on the cake. I’ll explain in more detail, but first here’s my take on motorsport.

Now you don’t have to be Einstein or Ecclestone to work out that motorsport requires a motor. In all motorsport events up until the last few years that motor was loud and generally very powerful. In fact so much so that at many events spectators would wear hearing protection. Did they mind this? Yes and no. People would complain that the noise vibrations reverberated through them but if you asked them “would you prefer a quiet motor?” the majority (and this is from my observations and research) would say nooo! The loud sound of the motor helps make the event and keep spectator adrenalin flowing.

I love the sound of motorsport, the approaching high pitched whine or the deep rumbling depending on what type of motorsport you’re viewing. The design of the vehicle, parts used, the paint job, sponsors insignia, the drivers’ fireproof overalls, and helmet all play a part in what makes the sport special. Then there’s team rivalry, drivers spats (for whatever reason), good looking guys and gals exuding confidence, and a gelling of all other aspects including the crowd and location that make motorsport what it is. And nothing is at the pinnacle of motorsport than Formula 1.

It’s Formula 1 that has the US$100 000.00 steering wheels and $4000.00 wheel nuts. This is engineering at its peak where millions are spent on research. X-rayed carbon fibre and titanium parts, wind tunnel testing where the cars dynamics are understood at jet fighter levels and beyond is where Formula 1 is at.

The logistics of taking a race team every two weeks to different countries, sometimes continents by aircraft is a huge cost, but I digress. What makes the sport great is like any motorsport is a number of aspects, and if you ask me one of the more important aspects is the loud sound of the motor screaming!

So what do you think makes Formula 1 a great sport?

Three races into the 2014 Formula 1 season, and I’m finding it harder and harder to watch.

There are a few reasons why which I will outline later but the final straw that broke the camel’s back was the sound the cars are making this year. Now I’m all for new technology, and Formula 1 is no doubt at the cutting edge when it comes to this. Most of us will have or have driven a car with Direct-Shift Gearboxes (DSG) these types of gearboxes come directly from racing. Another area is your cars suspension; it’s the one area where racing technology has been directly translated onto your car. You see in racing it’s best to have all four wheels in contact with the track, this makes the car more stable and ensures that all the engines power is helping to move the car along.

Now this list could go on and on, but I think you get the picture. We need Formula 1 to keep pushing the boundaries of technology in order for us to have better more efficient cars, and the new power units are a big move in the right direction when it comes to future engines for mine and your car. I’m just not so sure that we are ready for Formula 1 cars to be quite and eco-friendly!!!

It’s good for a production car to be quite and fuel efficient, that’s what we all (most of us) want. It’s good for the environment; it makes it more pleasant for the ears when in busy cities, and cuts down on the emissions made by cars, which great for us and the planet. So yes! Thank you Formula 1 we need this type of stuff. But for our cars not yours!!

What I believe the main attraction to Formula 1 is the cars look like nothing else with their back and front wings and their oversized tyres, with massive intakes all over the show, and an engine that sounds like it’s from another planet. These guys (and maybe one day girls) fight it out on the living edge where the difference between life and death is millimetres. They are able to control what most of us mere mortals could only dream of, and I believe it’s the look but most of all the sound that makes us feel that.

The sound screams power!! The sound screams wholly crap!! And if you are lucky enough to go to a race, you can even feel that power and feel that sense of wholly crap as they go past in a flash of blinding colour and sound. This is the reason why names like Senna, Schumacher, Lauda, Prost, Stewart, and Clark are known all over the world. They are the best of a few who were able to control that power, control that fear and win time after time on the living edge.

Now don’t get me wrong the current crop of drivers are every bit as good as those listed above the likes of Vettel, Hamilton, and Alonso are just as apt at controlling these machines. The cars are just as fast now as they have been in recent years, they just don’t sound like it!!! And when the majority of your audience is watching on TV the only thing that tells them that these cars are fast is the sound!! They don’t look fast on TV, never have and most likely never will; TV has a way of slowing things down, it makes it easier to watch, keeps the sponsors happy!! It’s the sound that lets you know that these machines are flying.

So there you have it, my rant on the sound of the 2014 version of the Formula 1 engine!!!

What do you think?

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