SEPANG, Malaysia: Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel slammed the new sound of Formula One cars and said this season’s quiet, hybrid engines desperately need a makeover to bring back some excitement.
“It’s shit,” Vettel said when asked what he thought about the sound of the new engines. “I think we’ll have to change it.”
The reigning champion joins a list of high-level detractors, including the sport’s chief, Bernie Ecclestone, following the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. Vettel had plenty of time to listen to the engines, which have been compared to vacuum cleaners, when he retired early in Melbourne. And he wasn’t impressed, saying noise levels were higher in a bar.
“I was on the pit wall during the race. It’s quieter than in the bar. For the fans it’s not good. I think Formula One has to be spectacular and sound is one of the most important things,” Vettel said.
“I remember when I was a small child. I don’t remember much, the first time I was five or six years old when we went to see the cars live during free practice in Germany. The one thing I remember was the sound, how loud the cars were, to feel the cars through the ground. The whole ground was vibrating. It’s just a shame that we don’t have that anymore,” he said.
Ecclestone has pledged to change the sound of the 1.6-liter V6 engines, which have replaced 2.4-liter V8s, and are so quiet that Australian GP organizers claimed they were a breach of contract.
Red Bull’s worries
But the sound was the least of Red Bull’s worries in Melbourne when Vettel retired with software problems and his teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, was stripped of second place over a disputed technical issue.
Vettel said he was “not sure” that team owner Dietrich Mateschitz was really threatening to quit F1 when he told an Austrian newspaper; “There is a clear limit to what we can accept.”
He said Ricciardo’s disqualification, which took hours to resolve and disappointed the Australian driver’s home crowd, was bad for the sport.
“For sure it was a big hit for the team but also I think in some regards for Formula One. Daniel did a fantastic job finishing second. I think the whole country was happy and proud and then a couple of hours later, they take second position away from him. From a driver’s point of view, a team’s point of view, it hurts a lot. Now we need to see whether the appeal goes. But for the sport itself it’s always bad when this kind of thing happens,” Vettel said.
Red Bull is appealing against Ricciardo’s disqualification and the case will be heard next month. But the Australian said he took only positives from his debut drive with the world-beating team.
“Whether I get the 18 points or not, it’s given me a lot of confidence for the rest of the season,” said Ricciardo, a 24-year-old from Perth. “I stood up on the podium and that won’t get erased. I do feel like I got the second place. I’ll carry that with me and hopefully I’ll be up there again soon.”