Formula 1’s considering putting microphones in the cars’ exhaust pipes
Modern turbo V6 power has brought a lot of things to Formula 1: Mercedes’ dominance. McLaren’s collection of wooden spoons. Christian Horner having a spat with Renault for a little while.
But V6s are perhaps most famous for what they’ve taken away from F1, rather than what they’ve added. And, if you haven’t already figured it out (the headline is a bit of a giveaway), it’s one simple thing: noise.
The V12s that the older staffers remember, the V10s that most of us recall and even the recent V8s have all been sonic tonic to our deprived ears, providing a respite from the drudgery of diesel SUVs. The V6s? Not so much.
They’re so music-free, in fact, that the organisers of the Australian GP apparently considered suing Formula 1 in 2014, because the lack of noise constituted a failure to fulfil its obligation to provide a spectacle to spectators.
And for TV audiences (as in, where F1 makes its real money), it seems that ceramic microphones, stuck to the exhaust pipe, can survive the heat and transmit the real sound from the tonally challenged engines. Nifty.
But, much like aloe vera sunburn gel, it seems like a wonderful solution to a problem that you really wish never existed in the first place.