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GP Week : Issue 197
16 GPWEEK.com // 16 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: up in the Paddock Club on saturday, according to that old trouble- maker Paul stoddart (who was there), the high-rollers found that their voices were drowned out when every category of car except one was on-track. The exception was the Formula 1 machinery, and the toffs could actually chat comfortably whenever the F1 stars were performing. That's the one and only positive thing I heard said over the Albert Park weekend about the eco-friendly coffee grinders in the back of this year's cars and the distinctly weedy sound they make. "I should feel a bit guilty," said Stoddy, unconvincingly, "because the Cosworth V10s in our two-seater F1 cars have been sounding so much better here than these new V6s, and that's the kind of noise the fans expect to hear. The two-seaters were also lapping two-up quite a bit quicker than the new F1s were able to do," he added mischievously, "although that may have been something to do with the fact that our cars were running in the dry." Stoddart has been absent from the F1 scene ever since his Minardi team was transformed into Scuderia Toro Rosso following his decision to sell out to Red Bull at the end of 2005. As always, though, he's never short of strong opinions. "Someone is going to have to do something about this problem, and although it ought to be the FIA, I guess it's going to be Bernie who gets it done," he told me. The solution? "Well, there's lots of things that can be done to make the engines produce a more exciting sound, and I would expect to see a change to two exhaust pipes instead of one. It doesn't have to be a mechanical change, either. Some of the companies that make high-powered sports cars, including Ferrari, use software to amplify engine noise at high revs." It is disappointing, though, to find that today's team owners evidently don't appreciate the extent of the public disdain for the de-caf engine tones. Claire Williams claimed that she liked the sound of the new turbos, then blithely suggested that fans will get used to the sort of changes which follow the introduction of new regulations. "You very quickly forget what a previous engine sounds like," she said. That is patently untrue. The reason most people give for wanting to watch races 'live' is that they get to hear sounds which just aren't the same on TV. I speak here from personal experience going back half a century, and I can say that if I was still paying for my ticket in the grandstand, I would now think twice before going to a Grand Prix, even one as good as the one that we saw at Melbourne on Sunday. So I'm with Stoddy. Bring back noisy engines, say I. Without them, Formula 1 loses an essential part of its appeal. Something must be done, urgently. THE SOUND OF ECOLOgY gRATES OPINION OPINION MIKE DOODSON