Everybody who's anybody who knows anything hates the new sound of Formula One engines. (I like them, but only in secret, don't hate me, too.) They hate them so much that the promoter of the Australian Grand Prix is threatening to sue, and Bernie Ecclestone is desperately searching for a fix.
Ron Walker, the Australian race promoter, told Melbourne's The Age that the quiet growl emitted by the new V6 turbo engines is "clearly in breach of contract," which are some fightin' words when it comes to things involving money:
''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.''
Ouch. I didn't think the race was that bad, but then again, I haven't heard the new cars in person yet. Walker went on to say that he totally heard that F1 chief and flop-haired muppet Bernie Ecclestone was "horrified" at the sound of the new cars, feeling the vapors over the ghastly noise coming from the track.
But then he told Her Majesty's Daily Telegraph that he wasn't horrified so much at the noise the cars make, so much as the fact that there wasn't much of any:
I was not horrified by the noise, I was horrified by the lack of it. And I was sorry to be proved right with what I've said all along; these cars don't sound like racing cars.
In response, Ecclestone said he spoke to the FIA about a way of possibly changing the cars after the first few races:
"I don't know whether it's possible but we should investigate. I think let's get the first few races out of the way and then maybe look to do something. We can't wait all season. It could be too late by then."
Yes, it could be too late by then. Too late for what? Well, Bernie doesn't say. But here are some things he may fear:
- Fox News
- A disturbing loss of money
- Max Chilton, of Marussia fame, continuing to dominate four-time champion Sebastian Vettel in the points
I'm gonna go ahead and guess it's that fourth option, though, before all the others.
And while Bernie and the FIA are all freaking out about this sort of thing, it really is all their own doing. Yes, it was mostly Renault that pushed for the current engine configuration, and yes Bernie was on record opposing it, but it's the governing bodies of the sport that set all the rules in the end.
And when your rules make it so the engines can't spin as fast as they used to, along with a lot of other technical factors that lend themselves to acoustics, the current noise is what you're going to get.
So what change could Bernie have up his sleeve, barring a mid-season sweeping overhaul of the engine rulebook that's pretty unlikely to pass muster?
I'm guessing sound systems. Have the cars play another noise. Any noise. Just as long as it's not the auditory garbage being vomited all over the track out the back of every F1 car.
Even Thomas the Dank Engine.
And yes, I use any excuse I get to post pictures of the Williams-Martini racer. It looks too good.
Photo via Getty Images