BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD: F1 driver Nico Rosberg has lambasted Mercedes’ new exhaust. Watch the video and email us!. Image: AFP
BARCELONA, Spain - A 'megaphone' exhaust tested by Mercedes in Spain failed to make the quieter new engines sound any louder, said driver Nico Rosberg on Wednesday (May 14 2014).Wheels24 reader Fanie Gerber voiced his opinions on the state of Formula 1 in 2014.
VIDEO: Hear Mercedes' new trumpet exhaust!
Roberg said: "It wasn't a great solution. It didn't work. It didn't make it much louder. So we'll just have to look for another solution.
Mercedes, winners of all five races in the 2014 season, had agreed to try out the trumpet-like device to try and pump up the volume after complaints about the new V6 turbo hybrid cars being too quiet compared to the old V8 screamers.
LACK OF DECIBELS
The softer sound provided an immediate controversy when the season started in Australia in March 2014 with some race promoters, who met in Barcelona on May 10, fearing ticket sales could drop if fans were alienated by the lack of decibels.
Others in favour of the quieter new era argue that increasing the noise goes against the greener spirit of the regulation changes, which reduce wasted energy from the exhaust and brakes and harness it to improve fuel economy.
Mercedes motorsport head, Toto Wolff, said: "It's an interesting moment in F1. Traditionally you would have said F1 needs to be loud and spectacular. Maybe now that's changing."
While the noise, or lack thereof, was a talking point on Wednesday (May 14 2014) other teams got on with testing. Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and Pastor Maldonado topped the fairly meaningless time sheets with Lotus.
F1 team Williams had Wolff's wife Susie Wolff behind the wheel of its car before she becomes the first female driver since 1992 to feature in a GP weekend when she takes part in practice at Silverstone in July 6 2014. She was fifth fastest and did 55 laps.
MCLAREN TEST ROOKIE
McLaren's reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne had his first drive in an F1 car and completed enough laps for McLaren to secure the super licence - he will need if a race seat comes his way.
Vandoorne , is competing in the GP2 series, finished runner-up in 2013 to McLaren rookie Kevin Magnussen in a Renault 3.5 and is seen as a talent for the future.
Vandoorne did 136 laps - more than twice the distance in the Spanish GP - in a programme reserved for testing Pirelli's hard tyres. Other drivers used the medium or soft compounds.
Vandoorne said: "This has been a fantastic day for me; my first experience in an F1 car and a really great opportunity to get plenty of laps under my belt."
IS F1 'BORING?'
Gerber said: "What happened to F1? They might as well do qualifying and ignore the main race. The fastest car simply wins and the only races are those between the two Ferraris, the two Mercedes, etc.”
Many Wheels24 readers responded with views ranging from “F1 is boring” to “F1 is changing for the better”:
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Many Wheels24 readers claim that F1 has lost its 'wow' factor. Do you agree/disagree? Email us and we'll publish your thoughts on Wheels24.