Australian Formula 1 star, Daniel Ricciardo, says he at least partially misses the days when F1 cars were incredibly loud and visceral, compared to today’s hyper-complex electrified beasts.
He even spoke favourably about having some kind of mandatory minimum noise for F1 cars.
Talking with a small group of journalists ahead of this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, the ever-smiling Red Bull Racing driver was asked to expand on his thoughts toward vehicular electrification, both on road and in motorsport like Formula 1 and Formula E, its eco-friendly electric equivalent.
Ricciardo has been open about his desire to help test the Aston Martin Valkyrie, which uses a V12 engine and a Rimac hybrid battery KERS system, and which was designed in part by Red Bull Racing chief technical officer, Adrian Newey.
“It’s a tough one because… as far as road cars go, I get it, but I always feel like racing has its separate part. I feel road cars can learn a lot from our technology, but a race car needs to make noise,” he said.
“I’ve got a one-year-old nephew and he’s got little toy cars, and he’s already going ‘vroom vroom’, making the noises, and he shouldn’t know really what they’re supposed to do. It’s kind of like you associate the loud noise with racing.
“As a kid I remember coming to Melbourne for the race, you’d land and get to your hotel and you could hear Friday practice from the hotel, and that’d give you goosebumps.
“So sure we can help out [EV road cars] a little bit here and there, but I still feel the auto industry is one thing, F1 is something else… though Formula E [electric open-wheelers] has its place now and I think that’s great.”
Ricciardo suggested F1 cars making less noise are less intimidating for drivers — something that isn’t necessarily good for the sport — and less engaging to fans.
“… I remember when I got into F1 and they were the V8s, and they screamed, and you’d sit in the garage and the mechanic would say ‘go out’, and when they started the car it would roar.
“As a young kid that was intimidating. And now when they start up, it’s not really louder than a road car…
“And as a fan or spectator, if you pay good money to get to a race and watch it live, I think part of that is hearing that roar. One thing that’s nice is you don’t need ear plugs and you can carry a conversation… but I’d still choose noise.”