Australian GP 'lacking' noise
Formula One fans demand bone-shaking noise, and the new engines are failing to deliver complains Australian GP chief executive Andrew Westacott.PT0M56S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-34xt0 620 349 March 17, 2014
Noise might annoy, but the lack of noise annoys a formula one fan more than anything else.
And the relative silence of the F1 cars as they sped around the Albert Park circuit on the weekend could lead to a legal battle between the Australian race organisers and F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone.
Australian Grand Prix chairman Ron Walker, while delighted with the overall success of the event and the strong showing of Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo, was far from happy with the ''sotto voce'' sound of the new V6 engined turbo grand prix cars, which provided a stark contrast to the visceral howl of the previous generation of high speed, 2.4-litre V8 engined racers.
Bernie Ecclestone (left) and Ron Walker. Photo: John Donegan
''I was absolutely delighted with the whole weekend, but I was not too happy with the sound," Walker said on Monday. "We are resolving that with Bernie. It's clearly in breach of our contract. I was talking to him last night [Sunday] and it's not what we paid for. It's going to change.
''He's horrified about it. It will be an issue for all promoters all round the world, '' Walker said, lamenting that the domestic V8 Supercars made a greater aural statement through the weekend than the F1 cars.
''I walk in the botanical gardens and you could hear the sound of the twin seater F1 car of Paul Stoddart's sweeping around the circuit, but you couldn't hear these new turbo cars. If you sat in the grandstand you could hardly hear them coming down the straight.''
A racing fan at Albert Park. Photo: Eddie Jim
The Save Albert Park group, which has opposed the event since it first came to Melbourne in 1996, might not agree, but Walker saysrace fans are being shortchanged. The emotional experience they used to receive from the roaring F1 cars of the previous generation is not being replicated by the newer, quieter powerplants designed to showcase a greener face for the sport, he says.
And there are wider commercial considerations to take into account.
''We [the Grand Prix Corporation] are an entertainment company and we have to entertain the public," Walker said. "Everybody was talking about it. When you take the excitement away, you have trouble selling tickets. You have to create demand and part of that demand is people liking the noise of the race cars.''
Although disappointed by Ricciardo's post-race disqualification due to his Red Bull car breaking a fuel flow regulation, Walker praised the young West Australian for his ''fantastic'' debut with the world championship-winning Red Bull team and said he had been a wonderful ambassador for his sport and his country during the GP weekend.
''His smile is the most genuine smile I have ever seen," Walker said. "He was genuinely enjoying the experience, signing autographs for the fans and meeting people. He genuinely seemed to love the whole thing, and he produced a terrific drive to take second place. It was just unfortunate what happened after.''