Columns 26.3.2014 05:00 pm

F1 make no mistake, this is show business

One of this year’s main F1 talking points continues to be the noise – or rather lack of it –made by the 2014 cars.

Generally speaking, enthusiasts are disappointed with the humming sounds emanating from what are presented as the world’s most technologically advanced cars.

Petrolheads do not care about the figures trotted out by F1 bosses.

Sure, the cars develop amazing power yields from just 1600cc petrol engines.

Sure, it is impressive that engineers could seamlessly match those petrol engines with electrical motors to supply inmense performance.

The problem is: none of that is transparent when we watch the cars buzz around on television.

Furthermore, we gather that we are watching an economy run as much as a race, with teams restricted to 100kg of fuel per hour.

Exceed that figure, even by accident, and you are chucked out. Ask Daniel Ricciardo.

Which leads to the big question: why?

Why did F1 have to change its entire presentation in a huge public pursuit of efficient energy use?

The answer is, depressingly, the same as why the entire motor industry has changed to publically pursue efficiency, as opposed to excitement.

They are bending over backwards to please the Greens, who attack the car relentlessly, as it is a soft target for the codswallop they sell.

A few facts: all the cars in the world together produce less in terms of CO2 gas than 500 ships at sea, or 1 000 aircraft on international; routes.

By the same token, the FIA three years ago commissioned a study checking the C02 emmissions and petrol usage figures of F1, Le Mans sports cars and World Championship rallies.

Turned out the competing cars consumed around five percent of the total fuel used by the sport.

The rest of it was used by trucks, aircraft, spectators’ vehicles and factories.

If other sports were to be scrutinized in the same way, soccer, rugby, cricket, tennis and horse racing would all use many times more fuel than motorsport.

Yet they do not offer to use smaller trucks, fewer aircaft or persuade their fans not to travel to events.

Why should motorsport be singled out to change?

Throughout the years the sound of race cars played an integral part in the attraction of motor sport. Race cars should be fast, noisy and look dangerous.

That is why people want to watch them. Buggering around with the basics that make the sport work can not end well.

The FIA have forgotten that racing is show business.

Next up, they want to lauch Formula E – totally silent single-seater cars driven by electric motors racing in city centres.

I, personally, await a catastrophic failure.

If race cars are too noisy for you, you are getting too old.

 

 

 

 

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