In this thread I'd like to discuss:
1. Regulating cylinder count to create specific sounds.
2. Exhaust sound-affecting devices.
3. Lightweight and minimally restrictive, yet effective, mufflers or sound attenuators.
1.) As I understand it, F1 engine regulations have never been drafted with sound production as a criteria. The regs more typically specify things like swept volume, aspiration types, material use, and fuel consumption. Through such engine regulations was found the ethereal wail of a high-revving V10.
Since such a discovery was made, by happenstance, perhaps the lesson can be applied to future formulas, even ones which prioritize efficiency. For example, a change of wording in the existing regulations to specify ten cylinders instead of six, a v-angle of 72° or 144° instead of 90°, would not alter nor preclude the discovery of further efficiency gains associated with the current formula. In fact, the arbitrariness of engine layout has already been illustrated by the specification of a 90° triple-throw-crank V6, instead of a 60° or 120° V6, I-4, I-3, or an evolution of the previous V8.
Increased frictional or pumping losses from higher cylinder counts would not de-incentivize furthering efficiency in an efficiency formula. Chassis installment structural issues are not a primary concern in the era of modern composite chassis building techniques, and concerns about weight optimization should be considered alongside the fungibility of the minimum vehicle weight rule.
A V10 adaptation of the current V6 technology is one direction to go in, towards changing the color of the sound of F1's engines.
2.) Another option, perhaps more what I'd like the thread to be about, is sound affecting devices.
Are there any devices or technologies which could modulate or transform exhaust pulses? Is there any efficient means by which to convert the three exhaust pulses per crankshaft rotation, provided by the current V6s, into four synthesized pulses (or more) per crankshaft rotation? In order to simulate the sound of a higher cylinder-count engine. Ideally, without obstructing the exhaust flow excessively. I envision it as something existing downstream of the turbine exit.
Perhaps a series of reed valves and expansion chambers, or spring loaded plates which would build up and release pressure to synthesize a new exhaust pattern, or a rotor with a window or windows on it spinning at a variable rate, reflecting and permitting intermittent pulses.
3.) There are benefits to quieter engines for satisfying different venues & zoning requirements. What room for development is there for a lightweight, small, minimally restrictive muffler? Or, might other technologies be considered or created for serving the same purpose. Perhaps what solves prompt #2 could also apply here. A quiet engine can still provide an evocative sound. In fact, fans listened to a quiet, synthetic version of the old V10s every time they turned their televisions on to watch a race.