F1 engines will be louder in 2016 season, says Williams' Pat Symonds
Exhaust changes tipped to have "quite significant" effect
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 15/01/16 2:21pm
F1 cars will be up to 25 per cent louder in 2016 following changes to the exhaust rules, according to Williams technical chief Pat Symonds.
The sport has acted on complaints from fans that the current engines are too quiet by mandating that the wastegate on cars, which previously fed into one main exhaust, now exit via a separate tailpipe.
Although Symonds admits the wastegate "doesn't open very much" on modern-day engines, with the turbo units designed to be as efficient as possible, the layout of the exhaust system used in 2014 and 2015 still had a negative impact on the quality of the sound produced - creating a so-called 'dead zone' in the pipe.
"Getting rid of that means it is going to be a bit louder, about one and a half DB [decibels]," Symonds said on the Sky Sports F1 stage at the Autosport International show.
"But actually your ears perceive things that are slightly different. So in terms of what you're going to perceive, with the wastegate closed you're going to perceive that the thing is around 14 per cent louder. With the wastegate open, it will probably be about 20 to 25 per cent louder. So it's quite significant."
And even without the changes, Symonds says F1's engine sound would have continued to produce more sound in 2016 as manufacturers continue to make development breakthroughs.
"This is a natural progression," he said. "A lot of the sound is a function of the cylinder pressure. So the higher the cylinder pressure the more sound that's coming out.
"And as the engines are developed the way you get the power is to get the cylinder pressures up - and we've seen some quite significant increases since the beginning of 2014 in the cylinder pressures we're running.
"The cars have got naturally louder and they will get naturally louder this year as well in addition to the changes we've made to the exhaust."
F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone has been an arch critic of the sport's quieter soundtrack, and current engine regulations in general. After the V6 units' debuted in 2014, Ecclestone said: "I was not horrified by the noise, I was horrified by the lack of it."
Mercedes subsequently trialled a 'trumpet' exhaust in testing, although the idea was not adopted.