Formula One's Switch To Hybrid Engines Leads To Criticism Following Season Opener
F1's new sound has "received the thumbs down from a few big names of motorsport," according to the AP. The switch to V6 turbo hybrid engines may "suit automakers, but some observers believe they've stripped away the sport's powerful sound." During Friday's "testing sessions for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix," IndyCar driver Will Power tweeted he was "missing the scream of the old F1 cars." IndyCar Owner and ex-Cart champion Jimmy Vasser said that the cars were "looking slow and ugly and that sound...." (AP, 3/14). In Sydney, Mark Fogarty wrote it "might not have been the day" F1 died, but on Sunday at "an Australian Grand Prix that was lacklustre by most measures, it began what could be a terminal illness." The sound of the cars "was dreadful, the racing was somnolent and the spectacle completely underwhelming." F1 authorities, along with the teams, have to "urgently address the failings of the radical new regulations that have neutered much of the cars' traditional visceral appeal." The 57 laps of the Albert Park circuit "was the quietest F1 race in history, with the hushed drone of the new turbocharged 1.6-litre V6 engines barely troubling the noise meters" (SMH, 3/17). In N.Y., A.J. Baime reported F1 entered the Australian Grand Prix "facing more uncertainties than it has in recent years: new cars so technologically ambitious, it's unclear if their paint can last through a race; new driver lineups for nearly all the top teams; looming financial woes; and a chief grappling with legal problems after more than three decades in charge" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/14).