Music is proof that everyone has a different idea of what sounds good and what doesn’t. That’s especially true of the new F1 engines where opinion is harshly divided about the noise. Personally I quite like the new sound. It’s different, it’s quiet, but it’s also interesting and we’ll all get used to it.
However, there is still a problem with the noise, and it isn’t volume.
When you’re standing trackside it’s now very difficult to tell when a driver is pushing hard. The new engines have so much torque that drivers are exiting corners in higher gears than before and don’t have to max out the RPM. As a result, they’re short shifting quite frequently and accelerate at lower revs. When they do that it sounds like they’re just cruising on their way back to the pits even though they could be pushing quite hard.
The introduction of shorter ratios also means that drivers can choose a variety of gears in some corners. This results in each driver going past you in a different gear which makes it sound like some of them are pushing much less, or that some have got it totally wrong. It is very deceptive.
One of the great joys of visiting a Grand Prix is watching the drivers up close whilst they push themselves to the limit. The noise, which reveals throttle input, has always been a big part of that excitement but now it’s lost. That matters to me much more than volume, and I just hope that I can get used to it as well.