Engine sound is crucial for F1 popularity, say Ricciardo and Sainz

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Engine sound is curcial in terms of the way fans perceive Formula One, claim Visa RB driver Daniel Ricciardo and Ferrari racer Carlos Sainz after recent suggestions that the sport might aim at increasing the sound of the engines.

Formula One introduced a new engine formula back in 2014, bringing an innovative hybrid concept into the sport. Since the arrival of the V6 hybrid power units, the engine sound has been drastically changed. The lower rev-engine produce significantly less sound which has become a hot debate topic.

With the sport set to retain the V6 engines for 2026 when a new formula takes effect, there is only a slight chance that the engine sound can be improved. However, F1 President Stefano Domenicali suggested in recent weeks that the sport might set up a plan to improve the sound with the Italian even indicating that F1 might be ready to move away from the current engine architecture.

Speaking of what it means for drivers to have a loud engine, Visa Cash RB driver Daniel Ricciardo said: "I can answer that. Give me that one. Well, yeah, so when I first joined F1, the other engine was much louder. When you get it fired up from the back, you're waiting for it. It cranks. And then when it starts, you feel like that kind of tingle in your spine. And maybe it's just because I was younger and inexperienced and still quite intimidated probably by the sport.

"But when the engine would fire up, it was like, ‘woah’. Yeah, it was intimidating. It was more scary. And I don't know if I was to join now if that would be the same because it's new or because the sound is different. But I do feel an element of it was the sound. And it did sound like kind of an animal ready to be unleashed.

"So I remember that feeling vividly. And that was a scary one. Then once you get on track, you're in your happy place and you get it comfortable, in the garage when you're waiting and it starts and you're like, all right, it's going to get serious pretty soon. That was a cool, scary feeling," commented the Australian.

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz went on to claim that the "intimidating" sound of previous F1 engines was the reason for him to fall in love with the sport.

"I remember when I went to my first Formula 1 race back in 2005. I was 10 years old. First time I heard a Formula 1 engine, I got scared. And I kind of, yeah, I really got intimidated by the sound. I was like, those things are crazy. Like who jumps on one of those and goes flat out? And it's how I became a fan of the sport and Fernando, Michael, at the time, became my idols. And I wanted to be a Formula 1 driver ever since.

"And there's definitely not that element anymore, even though the engines are, you cannot speak when they're on, but it's not the same, no. I felt like 2026 was a good opportunity to maybe go back a bit in that direction. I don't know how much is going to be the case now. They're talking about 2030 for that.

"For me I wish it could come early because with synthetic fuels and the progress that there's been in that area there is I think a very good opportunity to fast forward getting that noise back and getting that kind of Formula 1 back, which I would be very happy and very supportive of," said the three-time F1 race winner.