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The Quiet Revolution of Formula E Electric Car Racing

samzenpus posted about two weeks ago | from the quiet-time dept.

Transportation 116

pbahra writes One of the greatest emotional triggers at any auto-racing event is the noise. In Nascar, it is the earthshaking growl of V8 American muscle. In Formula One, it is the chest-rattling wail of 15,000 rpm. To some the sound is repellent. To others it is like an opera. But what if there is no sound at all? Welcome to the quiet world of Formula E, a global racing series for electric cars, which debuts this month in Beijing.

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quiet = powerful (3, Insightful)

globaljustin (574257) | about two weeks ago | (#47820327)

I think the idea of cars that go >200mph that barely make a sound is pretty badass...

in other areas of "badass stuff" like planes, the stealth is unquestionably considered "badass"

there's no reason that "badassness" can't carry over from planes to cars

Re:quiet = powerful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47820401)

Thank you for using the word "quiet" instead of "quite" like so many idiots who write by sound.

Re:quiet = powerful (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47820623)

Who the fuck says "quiet" so that it sounds like "quite"? Fuck's sake.

Re:quiet = powerful (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47820853)

Who the fuck modded me down for this?

Seriously, say "quiet" and then say "quite" and then write them phonetically. If you've written the same word twice you're either illiterate or you're not speaking any accent anyone with an ounce of education has ever used.

Re:quiet = powerful (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47821131)

Probably because even bringing it up makes you seem like an underwear skidmark.

Re:quiet = powerful (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47821565)

And "Thank you for using the word "quiet" instead of "quite" like so many idiots who write by sound." doesn't make him look like an illiterate shitstain? And let me tell you, an illiterate shitstain is a lot worse than a literate shitstain.

Re:quiet = powerful (1)

AaronLS (1804210) | about two weeks ago | (#47821605)

No it doesn't. Obviously he is literate. What part of his statement makes you think he is illiterate?

Re:quiet = powerful (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about two weeks ago | (#47820639)

If you spell by sound, it's obvious the E comes before T.

Re:quiet = powerful (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about two weeks ago | (#47820657)

Unfortunately these cars won't do 200MPH maybe downhill with a tailwind perhaps.

Re:quiet = powerful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47820689)

watch this ELECTRIC train :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8skXT5NQzCg IMPOSSIBLE with ICE.

Re:quiet = powerful (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about two weeks ago | (#47820865)

Sorry but that train does not run on batteries and can draw a lot of power from the tracks.

Re:quiet = powerful (4, Insightful)

bjwest (14070) | about two weeks ago | (#47820769)

Unfortunately these cars won't do 200MPH...

Neither did the Grand Prix [wikipedia.org] cars in the beginning. Racing and its popularity helped guide the auto industry to where it is now. I can only hope that electric car racing will do the same for the innovation in the electric market.

Re:quiet = powerful (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about two weeks ago | (#47820895)

A lot of car makers left F1 in the past, Mercedes has returned, but Honda, BMW and Toyota have left. Honda will be back but only because of the V6 synergy and Nissan does have a relationship with Renault but unfortunately that's not going to probably equate to something you and I would drive for a long time. Motor Racing does help drive innovation but in a sport where the FIA have virtually done away with any concept of innovation, it'll be difficult to see how this new formula will enhance the sport or spur innovation in day to day cars. Fans are leaving, sponsors are worried and that means no money and a dead series coming soon.

Re:quiet = powerful (3, Insightful)

mjwx (966435) | about two weeks ago | (#47823385)

A lot of car makers left F1 in the past, Mercedes has returned, but Honda, BMW and Toyota have left. Honda will be back but only because of the V6 synergy and Nissan does have a relationship with Renault but unfortunately that's not going to probably equate to something you and I would drive for a long time. Motor Racing does help drive innovation but in a sport where the FIA have virtually done away with any concept of innovation, it'll be difficult to see how this new formula will enhance the sport or spur innovation in day to day cars. Fans are leaving, sponsors are worried and that means no money and a dead series coming soon.

Pretty much. Most motorsports are so bogged down with rules about how much power an engine can have, minimum and maximum sizes, transmission specifications, length of the tie rods and so forth that no real innovation can be done, it's all about shaving 0.01 of a second off a pit stop (and most people will never be able to handle a high flow fuel pump so no advantages there).

The old Group A and B rally cars used to see a lot of innovation as people modified production cars but those days are long gone as well. Most innovation either comes from the labs of motoring giants or tiny workshops who sell new designs and modifications to motoring giants.

Re:quiet = powerful (3, Insightful)

Christian Smith (3497) | about two weeks ago | (#47823955)

A lot of car makers left F1 in the past, Mercedes has returned, but Honda, BMW and Toyota have left.

Only because they were having their ass handed to them on a plate. Toyota achieved literally nothing in their F1 stint, BMW did get some wins, but weren't competitive enough to justify the investment. Honda ditto, but left at the wrong time (the post-Honda Brawn team won the 2009 championship with the Honda designed car.)

And there are other racing series, which may be more road relevent. The Audi R18 e-tron has a Diesel hybrid drivetrainm with flywheel based energy storage. Very road relavent and innovative in the field.

Motor Racing does help drive innovation but in a sport where the FIA have virtually done away with any concept of innovation, it'll be difficult to see how this new formula will enhance the sport or spur innovation in day to day cars. Fans are leaving, sponsors are worried and that means no money and a dead series coming soon.

It's not all about innovation. It's also about the grunt work of refining what you have. That's why Mercedes are dominating even the other identically powered cars. They've done the best job within the rules defined.

And there are lots of ways to innovate in chassis and aerodynamic design. The current crop of F1 cars have a very diverse array of front end designs.

And lets be honest, most F1 innovations don't translate to road cars anyway. The biggest influence of F1 and other motor racing has been in the engine management and fuel injection areas. Racing aerodynamics? Moot. Suspension design? Not applicable to most road cars. Sequential gearboxes? Came from bikes anyway. Tires? Irrelevent unless you only want your tires to last a week.

Re:quiet = powerful (0)

BasilBrush (643681) | about two weeks ago | (#47823957)

There's going to be a lot more room for innovation in a new formula than in one that's been on-going for decades. And EVs need innovation much more than ICE does now, so it's good to have.

Re:quiet = powerful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47820801)

Unfortunately these cars won't do 200MPH maybe downhill with a tailwind perhaps.

Why not? Electric cars have no problem with high speed & high power. Range is a problem, but not raw power. No problem there.

Re:quiet = powerful (1)

Matheus (586080) | about two weeks ago | (#47821371)

Double posting on this thread but so you have it in the same tree:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sci... [dailymail.co.uk]

No tailwind required :-)

Re:quiet = powerful (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about two weeks ago | (#47821573)

That's not a Formula E car. Yes and electrics will get better yada yada yada. Formula E to me will be as exciting as watching flies fuck. (Sorry George Carlin) but if you want a more exciting series put a bunch of old farts on hoverounds, that would be great. Canes flying. Walkers thrown all the while ripping along at 4mph.

Re:quiet = powerful (1)

savuporo (658486) | about two weeks ago | (#47823381)

Eliica did 230mph, in 2004.
TTXGP bikes are closing in on gas bike speeds rapidly. In Pikes Peak hill climb electrics actually BEST some ICE cars in a few categories - because air breathing engines start to run out of air at altitude.
There is no fundamental reason of physics or engineering that would dictate electric drivetrains top speed to be any slower than ICE.

In other words, you are wrong.

Re:quiet = powerful (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about two weeks ago | (#47823419)

They do have incredible amounts of acceleration though. This year a lot of F1 drivers have been skidding as they put the power on coming out of corners due to the immense torque available from their electric energy recovery systems. Formula E cars are even more extreme and the tracks are all city based, so we should see some exciting races.

Re:quiet = powerful (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about two weeks ago | (#47820765)

According to the FIA Formula E site [fia.com] they will go a maximum of 225Km/h. That is about 135mph. While they look the F1 cars they can not go nearly as fast.

Re:quiet = powerful (1)

Matheus (586080) | about two weeks ago | (#47821351)

"Can Not" != "May Not"

The whole point of Formula 1 is that all cars are under a very tight parameter restriction so the race is in the hands of the driver more than it is the mechanics. (Not to say they are all truly "equal" but they could be.)

Electric cars are more than capable of going faster than that:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sci... [dailymail.co.uk]

Re:quiet = powerful (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about two weeks ago | (#47821935)

Electric cars are more than capable of going faster than that:

But can it go that fast for the entire race? Maybe the top speed is restricted so that the battery will last half the race.

F1 races go up to 330kmh while E1 races will only go up to 225kmh. My point is that E1 races will be slower than F1 races.

Re:quiet = powerful (1)

arth1 (260657) | about two weeks ago | (#47822235)

The whole point of Formula 1 is that all cars are under a very tight parameter restriction so the race is in the hands of the driver more than it is the mechanics.

That's today's F1, with fuel flow and rpm restrictions. The F1 of yesteryear was very different, and there could be extreme differences. Some cars went much faster, but accellerated slower. Others had an emphasis on brakes or curve hugging. Or on completing a race with one pit stop less.
I find F1 today completely uninteresting, much like a Indy cars with lower top speed. There's next to no difference between cars, and few overtakings. It's like the emphasis is on making it so uneventful that you can buy hotdogs without losing anything.
Bring back the 1000+ hp F1 engines, wide wings and wide tires. Let the drivers push the envelope. Because right now it's as boring as Indy cars.
(And bring back the Killer B rally class too.)

Re:quiet = powerful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47820903)

I'd still rather they at least, (at the very least) attach some playing cards against the wheel spokes or something..

Re:quiet = powerful (1)

mjwx (966435) | about two weeks ago | (#47823357)

I think the idea of cars that go >200mph that barely make a sound is pretty badass...

in other areas of "badass stuff" like planes, the stealth is unquestionably considered "badass"

there's no reason that "badassness" can't carry over from planes to cars

At 320 KPH you're tyre's alone are going to be pretty loud.

If you put performance run-flats on a Prius it will be loud at 80 KPH. The only reason electric cars are so quiet is the fact they have tyres designed for low road noise. Put some normal tyres on and that goes out the window (just swap the tyres from a GT86, they've got the same wheels as the Prius).

The real kicker will be the 8 hour pit stops.

Re:quiet = powerful (2)

mjwx (966435) | about two weeks ago | (#47823359)

Erm, that's meant to be your (yes one day I will learn to proof read and no apostrophe in tyres either.

Noise equals waste (1, Troll)

geekoid (135745) | about two weeks ago | (#47820409)

coincidentally:
Nascar fans equal waste.

Re:Noise equals waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47821665)

From the looks of many of them, Nascar fans = waist.

F1 is no longer screaming at 15k (1)

mikecase (1991782) | about two weeks ago | (#47820431)

This years rules mean most engines are running in the 10-12k range and sound pretty subdued, sadly.

Re:F1 is no longer screaming at 15k (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47820571)

They can run at 15k RPM this year. The change was from 18k to 15k.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formula_One_engines#Engine_specification_progression

I think they still sound pretty nice, although not a screaming as previously.

Re:F1 is no longer screaming at 15k (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about two weeks ago | (#47820859)

the 100kg/hr fuel flow rate limiting is why all teams are well below 15K RPM and they sound like glorified Weed Eaters. The FIA have been working to enhance the sound with changing the exhaust note using a megaphone exhaust pipe. http://www.autosport.com/news/... [autosport.com]

I've been watching F1 since the 1970s and this is the most boring, lifeless, set of machines I've seen.

Re:F1 is no longer screaming at 15k (1)

Shinobi (19308) | about two weeks ago | (#47821103)

Meh, if you went to Formula 1 or Nascar or Indycar for the sound you were doing it wrong anyway.

For sound, you go to Top Fuel drag races, or, even louder, air shows(The 16 Spitfire low-altitude flyby at Duxford in 2010 for example... Made any F1, Nascar or Indycar race seem tame, no matter what engines you wanted to compare with)

As for the rest, the V6's are just so much more impressive than the V8's and V10's, which several engineers from F1 have said were pretty much dead-ends upgrade wise. What makes this year's cars fractionally slower seen over entire laps is the reduced aero downforce. The top speeds on many straights have actually been higher with this year's cars. If the cars of this year would be allowed to run with the aerodynamics of last year, many records would have been smashed.

And even then, my favourite series is WEC, and I'll also be following Formula E closely.

Re:F1 is no longer screaming at 15k (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about two weeks ago | (#47821335)

You mean the 1000ft drag racing or the 1/4 mile drag racing?

As for motor racing, I've followed and attended F1 races for almost 40 years now and in every season there's been controversy. This year however there were too many changes made and if you look over the past 10 years a strange thing emerges. Lap records aren't being broken, most were set in the V10 era and the V8s didn't break them and now the V6s won't either. Sorry the cars are still quick but they're loose, the brake by wire system is leaving drivers uncomfortable in their cars and that means conservative. Couple that with the failure rates and the new "double points" final race and F1 has become something of a joke.

You go to racing events for the total package, the entire sensory experience and part of that experience is gone. Don't believe me? VJ Mallya was quoted as saying "We need the sound, the soul of F1 back" and he owns an F1 team. What about Luca Di Montezemolo who runs Ferrari calling this years edition of F1 "Taxi Drivers." I've watched and attended Indy Car, NASCAR, F1, Air Races, Boat Races and other forms of racing. F1 is special because of its history and the excitement of a series traveling the world. Part of that was the sound, which contributed quite a bit to the sensory experience. It was also allowing teams to innovate and work within the rules, which unfortunately now the FIA seems to put its clamps on more and more. SO, no innovation, lousy cars, losing fans, lose F1. Caterham is on the brink, Lotus is teetering and I don't see a lot of teams standing in line waiting to get in, only Haas right now for 2016. So while the FIA will cheer that their over-abundant meddling in the sport is "eco friendly" it's killing their prized series. Much like when they killed the Mulsane Straight, we have lost something in racing and I've already discontinued going to F1 races until they start listening to their fans again.

Re:F1 is no longer screaming at 15k (1)

Shinobi (19308) | about two weeks ago | (#47821641)

Both forms of drag racing. The Top Fuel cars just roar.

To offer a counterpoint to your lopsided highlighting, the last 10 years have also seen some tracks modified, meaning that old V10 records can't be beaten anymore either. Also, the drivers are NOT conservative, given the cars, given how much more actual racing action there is.

VJ Mallya being the leader of a mid-tier team that lives on advertising exposure more than any technical skill. And Ferrari who are constantly whining when they are not in their lead. In the last 20 years, they've threatened to pull out *Checks stats* 14 times. There's been too much focus on engines. Not enough focus on engines. Too much focus on aerodynamics. Not enough focus on aerodynamics. Whatever area they happen to be weak at. Of course the crybaby Montezemolo will say that it's bad when his team is an utter clusterfuck, despite having Alonso. Every single interviewed DRIVER has said that this years cars are more difficult to drive, and requires more skill.

One of the reasons why F1 and other racing leagues are putting clamps on innovation is because they are already at the limits of what they can safely drive without completely redesigning every single track more than they already have.

Also, teams have ALWAYS teetered on the brink. Minardi were such a hit, weren't they? *crickets... hoot of a lonely owl....*

Other races reported increased spectator figures compared to previous years. Hungaroring and Spa for example.

As for the Mulsane straight, from what I hear, most drivers like it, because it became more challenging, and thus required more of the drivers.

Re:F1 is no longer screaming at 15k (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about two weeks ago | (#47821755)

LOL, check your stats at the Hungaroring, attendance was down. I hear that about Ferrari but all the teams except AMG seem to have severe issues with the rule changes. That's the nature of any sport, when your on top things look pretty good. Also Force India has been a great team given their limited budgets but that's the rub, in an effort to cut costs the FIA has created artificial areas where innovation has remained stagnant and it takes money to race. I just hope they don't get as daft as IndaCar with the same cars/chassis but no matter we'll see what happens and right now F1 is in trouble, even though the coverage analysts try to make it seem different. I was going to go to Monza this year and the USGP at COTA. I've scratched those off my list because Hockenheim was my first F1 race attendance in this new formula and I'm sorry it wasn't great, it was mediocre. If I'm going to spend lots of money going to a motor sports event I want to see the teams being able to race as hard as they can. I want the experience, not just part of it. The sights, the sounds are all part of F1 and limiting fuel rates, getting rid of refueling and putting artificial excitement into it is killing it as a spectator sport. Shit, if Bernie has to provide Lions in the pit area to attack the F1 mechanics, then so beit! I wanna see how fast Vijay can run. Shit Put Flavio, that cheating SOB, in a monkey suit and make him dance on the grid!

Re:F1 is no longer screaming at 15k (1)

Shinobi (19308) | about two weeks ago | (#47821843)

The stats for Hungaroring are correct, attendance was up. There were, however, fewer tickets booked in advance, many waited for last-minute tickets.

And, your mention about the cost is the real rub, and why almost all motorsports face struggles. It's too expensive to attend. Le Mans and the WEC seems to have managed to turn it around. The ticket for Le Mans 24h main event is quite a bit cheaper than the equivalent type of ticket for any F1 event. Indycar is also struggling(At one race recently, NBC proudly stated that they had a new record of 25 000 viewers... ouch...). NASCAR are struggling, hence all their clownery, allowing nudging, implicitly encouraging fistfights(not as blatant as the scripted fights in the NHL though). And that's an area where I think Formula E is going in the right direction: Quiet cars, able to race in city centers, and with cheap tickets.

In fact, if you've been watching for as long as you've claimed, maybe it's not the racing, maybe it's just that you've grown jaded?

Re:F1 is no longer screaming at 15k (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about two weeks ago | (#47822253)

Probably jaded because too many series getting driven into the ground. With the F1 teams being worried, that should say enough about the fact that F1 is going in the wrong direction. IndyCar is struggling because of trying to focus on low dollar racing, creating an incredibly boring series. F1 will head there as well. I'll still watch F1, probably attend the USGP next year if there is one too. The WEC series is turning around and LeMans is one race I have yet to attend, so maybe I'll focus over there instead of watching Ecclestone and his cronies drive F1 into the ground.

Re:F1 is no longer screaming at 15k (3, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | about two weeks ago | (#47821921)

For sound, you go to Top Fuel drag races, or, even louder, air shows(The 16 Spitfire low-altitude flyby at Duxford in 2010 for example... Made any F1, Nascar or Indycar race seem tame, no matter what engines you wanted to compare with)

Let me guess, you're one of those guys that think music is better if its louder ...

Loud doesn't impress me. The sound of a turbo blow off value in something like a Toyota Supra as it cycles through the lower gears in just a couple seconds is for more sexy than any top fuel dragster, and thats just out of the factory.

The sound of a Audi turbo diesel in an LMP1 car running at Road Atlanta for Petit Le Mons or at Le Mons is far sexier than the roar of a top fuel dragster where you can rest assured that before the end of the day, part of the sound you are hearing from the dragster is one or more pistons vaporizing and coming out the exhaust. With the Audi turbo diesels you hear more of the turbo blow off and transmission noise than you do of the engine and they do it for 24 hours straight in one piece, and they spend their entire time at the top of the field and in the winners circle or at the minimum on the podium.

Don't get me wrong, TF dragsters are impressive powerful beasts, but they are hardly sexy.

The larger engines are not 'dead ends'. They are too big for the sanctions put in place on F1 to keep the costs and more importantly, the speeds down. If you can make a V6 as fast as a restricted V8, then you've just saved some weight when means faster acceleration. It doesn't mean the V8 is maxed out, its just restricted so theres no point in trying to go any faster with them. With a V6 doing the same, you can almost certainly carry less fuel and less engine weight as well as lower rotating mass. All of these things add up to faster lap times due to better acceleration and braking.

F1, Indy, Champ, all those style of cars has been working to reduce top speeds for the last 10 years at least, probably longer.

Re:F1 is no longer screaming at 15k (1)

Jack Griffin (3459907) | about two weeks ago | (#47822851)

Loud doesn't impress me. The sound of a turbo blow off value in something like a Toyota Supra as it cycles through the lower gears in just a couple seconds is for more sexy than any top fuel dragster, and thats just out of the factory.

You want to try going 60km/h on a silent electric bicycle, or pulling 40 knots in a sailboat. I used to be a car guy, but have learnt that noise is just noise. The real thrill is speed, and not just raw numbers, but speed relative to the vehicle you're in/on. And once you've had a taste of silent speed it's hard to go back to the noisy old dinosaurs of the 20th century. One day our kids will look back and laugh just like I did when I first saw the black-faced old engineer shoveling coal into a steam train furnace. The combustion engine is dirty, smelly and noisy, it has no place in the future. I expect the limitations of electricity will create a new style of racing, rather than just copy F1, they will design races to suit the technology. Shorter sharper races, perhaps using capacitors to reduce waste (ie in a 4 second drag race, why bother with a heavy old battery?) Or even have races based on real driving conditions rather than just raw speed, ie throw in some traffic lights, and boom gates and do more gymkhana style street racing. Just as steam replace the horse, and petrol replaced steam, soon electricity will replace petrol. And those who grow up around it will treat us like those black-faced old men of the past.

Re:F1 is no longer screaming at 15k (2)

Shinobi (19308) | about two weeks ago | (#47823833)

"Let me guess, you're one of those guys that think music is better if its louder ...

Loud doesn't impress me. The sound of a turbo blow off value in something like a Toyota Supra as it cycles through the lower gears in just a couple seconds is for more sexy than any top fuel dragster, and thats just out of the factory."

You didn't read my entire post in context then. It was a reaction to Virtucon complaining that the cars did not squeal as high-revved and quite as loud this year and claiming that the noise was an important part of F1. My point was that if noise is an important part, there are better avenues. I also did point out that WEC, with the LMP1-H's, is my favourite series right now.

"The larger engines are not 'dead ends'. They are too big for the sanctions put in place on F1 to keep the costs and more importantly, the speeds down. If you can make a V6 as fast as a restricted V8, then you've just saved some weight when means faster acceleration. It doesn't mean the V8 is maxed out, its just restricted so theres no point in trying to go any faster with them. With a V6 doing the same, you can almost certainly carry less fuel and less engine weight as well as lower rotating mass. All of these things add up to faster lap times due to better acceleration and braking."

Renault and Ferrari engineers have stated that the V10's and V8's were dead-end. To do any new engineering approaches fit for the racing they do, they would have had to entirely redesign them from scratch. A large part of the problem is material sciences and engineering. The cars themselves are actually slightly heavier this year, and still have insane torque from the V6's.

One of the reason they have been trying to reduce speeds is because of the greater risks of fatal crashes that comes at higher speeds, especially on the older tracks.

Re:F1 is no longer screaming at 15k (2)

hackertourist (2202674) | about two weeks ago | (#47823595)

For sound, I've found the best venue is tractor pulling. All kinds of motive power in a single meet, from RR Griffons to high-strung V8 to helicopter turbines to methanol two-stage turbo engines. Because speeds are relatively low you can get really close to the track, it also means more immersion in the sound compared to having cars whizz by at 200+ km/h.

Re: F1 is no longer screaming at 15k (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47821367)

I was at the Spa Grand Prix and was surprised by the emotive sound of the F1 cars. They don't scream like the GT3 engines but there is a huge sub-bass which vibrates your lungs. It doesn't come across on TV but it is thrilling at the trackside.

Put me squarely in (1)

errxn (108621) | about two weeks ago | (#47820445)

...The "opera" category. I'd never been to any sort of motorsports event until I experienced F1 at the Circuit of the Americas. There is nothing like hearing that banshee wail coming at you from all directions. Amazing.

That being said, hearing little but tire noise during a race would be pretty damn interesting, too. I'll definitely check it out if it comes to COTA.

Re:Put me squarely in (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about two weeks ago | (#47820605)

...The "opera" category. I'd never been to any sort of motorsports event until I experienced F1 at the Circuit of the Americas. There is nothing like hearing that banshee wail coming at you from all directions. Amazing.

If you're in the US, and more specifically, the Midwest, check out a mini-sprint race if you can. Those little bastards are bonkers, as are the people who typically drive them.

One of the fondest memories of my childhood was being lulled to sleep every Saturday night by the roar of those little race cars, echoing across the valley from a nearby track.

Re:Put me squarely in (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about two weeks ago | (#47820989)

Sprint racing is great to see! I recommend it to everybody I know.

Racing is best from behind the wheel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47821499)

Sign up for the 24 hours of LeMons! My next race is at Thunder HIll in less than two weeks.

Re:Put me squarely in (5, Insightful)

Shatrat (855151) | about two weeks ago | (#47820683)

You should check out MotoGP next spring as well. It's got all the noise and power of F1, but with actual overtaking.

Re:Put me squarely in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47821711)

It's got all the noise and power of F1,

lol, good one.

but with actual overtaking.

You haven't been watching F1 2014, have you?

Re: Put me squarely in (1)

errxn (108621) | about two weeks ago | (#47822173)

Oh yeah, I've been to MotoGP as well. I still prefer the sound of the F1 cars, but yeah, the bikes are pretty amazing, too.

Actually... (5, Interesting)

almitydave (2452422) | about two weeks ago | (#47820497)

Although the current regulations allow Formula 1 engines to rev up to 15,000 RPM, they don't because that would exceed the maximum fuel flow requirements. I believe the practical limit is around 11,000. F1 introduced a new hybrid powertrain this year that ironically has caused some uproar because it's perceived as too quiet, compared to the screaming V8s and V10s that ran at 18-19,000 RPM. Audi's diesel LMP cars are also quiet compared to other ICE race cars - you don't need earplugs around them - but they're not silent.

I'd love to check out a Formula E race if I have a chance, and I hope the series does well. I think there's the potential for an all-electric racing series to contribute toward the technological development of powertrains in electric road-going cars, just as traditional gas-powered auto racing has with ICE road cars.

Re:Actually... (1)

Smidge204 (605297) | about two weeks ago | (#47820599)

F1 has had energy recovery (aka "hybrid") drivetrains for a few years now. The big difference is they've basically doubled the size and capacity, and added a turbine to the exhaust to recover energy from that instead of just regenerative brakes.

I can't say I'm much of a racing fan but the technology is quite interesting in and of itself.
=Smidge=

Re:Actually... (3, Informative)

Virtucon (127420) | about two weeks ago | (#47820747)

And it's the most boring year for F1 ever. Unfortunately the FIA and F1 (two separate entities) didn't realize that motor racing does involve the sound of the sport and the competition. Fans have been reluctant to accept it and aren't showing up at races. This is bad news for a sport that depends on a lot of revenue from people in the stands. Apart from that the FIA in it's eco-green mentality also mandated 100KG of fuel max consumption along with a max fuel rate of 100KG/hr limiting all of the engines in terms of RPM output (read more screaming engines). This has resulted in engines that barely rev above 11000 RPMs whereas last year it was 18000. Despite FIA allowing 15000 RPM limits. Regrettably the powers haven't yet realized that motor racing has nothing to do with being eco-friendly and that will kill F1 as a sport. Oh did I forget to mention the guy who runs F1 is a criminal and just bought his way out of a bribery trial in which he could have gone to prison for $100m? Yeah that's what you want a real life Snidley Whiplash running your races, not to mention the former head of the FIA was caught getting spankings from Nazi themed prostitutes. Yeah, F1 is a mess.

Formula E is no better, actually its worse because they have proposed using twitter during races to provide extra power to the cars. Un-fucking believable.

Re:Actually... (3, Insightful)

Shinobi (19308) | about two weeks ago | (#47821143)

Wait, seriously...

Are you saying that a year with MORE overtakes, FEWER processions etc, and due to the reduced downforce are actually more difficult to drive than previous years cars, is boring, because they sound different?

Because, let me tell you, I was at Hockenheim, and those cars are still damn loud when you're there in person. Loud enough that I used my Peltors.

Re:Actually... (2)

Virtucon (127420) | about two weeks ago | (#47821355)

I was there, where were you? Hockenheim was a great race only because of rain and because of Lewis moving up the pack. If you haven't noticed other than Mercedes AMG, RBR have only gotten to the top podium spot because of their own failures. So measures to improve the competition have led to the same thing. Maybe they should add titanium spark blocks or double points in a race to make it more exciting. Wait, they've already done that with Abu Dhabi and the spark blocks is a TBD.

Re:Actually... (1)

Shinobi (19308) | about two weeks ago | (#47821431)

I was at the Mercedes grandstand at turn 8, and seated close to the edge so I had some view of Parabolica too.

As for your complaining about spark blocks etc, that's on the same level as wanting more noise just for the sake of noise.

Re:Actually... (2)

Virtucon (127420) | about two weeks ago | (#47821525)

I was in the Parabolica stands closer to Turn 4.

Spark blocks are another gimmick just like DRS. They haven't made nor will they make the sport more exciting. Neither will Double points in Abu Dhabi however maybe they'll introduce a chase so that at the summer break, the top 10 drivers/teams will compete for the champsionship. Yeah, that's fucked NASCAR and the NHRA up quite a bit. Well the NHRA fucked themselves by keeping the 1000 foot rule in place after Kalitta's death.

Re:Actually... (4, Informative)

jareth-0205 (525594) | about two weeks ago | (#47821261)

And it's the most boring year for F1 ever.

I mean boring is entirely a personal judgement but... *really*? A leading team rivalry that is up there with Hunt/Lauda and Senna/Prost in its intensity, a decapitation of the reigning champion (and humiliation behind his new teammate), the resurgence of Williams, a whole bunch of new stars on the rise? A bunch of new mistakes made all across the board as drivers struggle with twitchy cars?

I don't know what F1 you've been watching but for me this year is far more interesting than the Red Bull-Vettel dominance of the last 3 years.

Re:Actually... (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about two weeks ago | (#47821681)

We can debate that sure. Let's roll back to 2013 where there were lots of different podium finishers and then suddenly Silverstone and the exploding tire fiasco. So despite protests from a lot of the teams, the FIA had Pirelli change back to the compounds that favored RBR. After Silverstone 2013 was a completely different season from before. The racing was just as exciting and we even got to see Alonso win at the Spanish GP. It was exciting and it kept fans in the stands.

Switch forward to 2014
Williams has been more successful this year because of the AMG powertrain, McLaren on the other hand I don't know why they're not as successful. If not for Crash Massa you'd probably see more improvement there but all Bottas has to do is drive a smart race it seems. That's not probably fair to Massa but one wonders why he gets tangled up in the shimozzles of others.

RBR in Ricciardo is doing very well because twitchy seems to work for him. Teams with the AMG powertrain have had an advantage and Mercedes is hitting all the right buttons, literally. The new control systems are overly complex and make it look like the drivers are playing angry birds rather than driving a car. Brake by wire is leaving a lot of teams lost and experienced drivers aren't comfortable.

This means that Mercedes will only lose the championship due to their own infighting and mistakes.

I was disheartened to see Vettel in Austria out with another terminal Renault problem too. What you'll see over the next few races in terms of "units used per season" penalties will probably shake that up even more, which to a point is contrived excitement. Hunt/Lauda were never on the same team BTW although Senna/Prost were and Prost to this day was still a crying little bitch, but that's another topic. Oh and last time I checked Vettel still had his head on his shoulders and like Kimi he just needs to get on with it.

Re: Actually... (1)

Circlotron (764156) | about two weeks ago | (#47821493)

I wonder how they reconcile their Eco-green mentality with organising an event that encourages 100,000 people to drive their cars maybe 20,000,000 kilometres to attend.

Re: Actually... (1)

Circlotron (764156) | about two weeks ago | (#47821527)

Sorry, make that 2,000,000 km. But you get the idea.

Re: Actually... (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about two weeks ago | (#47821773)

LOL, that made me laugh but it's true. Not to mention all the planes and helicopters for the drivers/spectators along with all the air cargo transport needed to ferry it around the planet.

Re: Actually... (1)

MtHuurne (602934) | about two weeks ago | (#47821803)

I think the eco aspect is not in the race itself, but in F1 acting as R&D for technologies that will eventually end up in consumer cars. By having fuel restrictions, they're forcing the engineers to look for ways to do more with the same amount of fuel.

Re:Actually... (1)

Smidge204 (605297) | about two weeks ago | (#47821729)

You sound bitter and frustrated. For example, it doesn't matter one iota what the head of FIA is up to...

As to attendance figures, I had to Google that because I don't really follow F1 as a sport. I've seen speculation on everything from prohibitive costs for tickets to better television/internet access to simply fewer people being interested, but the only people who say it's because of the "lack of noise" are a handful of seemingly bitter dipshits like yourself who always throw in non sequitur arguments like you did. Makes me think that the "noise hypothesis" isn't particularly powerful.

Lastly, it seems attendance has been dwindling for several years now - so it doesn't seem likely that only the most recent change is the cause.
=Smidge=

Re:Actually... (3, Informative)

Jack Griffin (3459907) | about two weeks ago | (#47822885)

Fans have been reluctant to accept it and aren't showing up at races.

This fails the logic test. F1 only visits one country per season (with a minor exception). If this is the first season, how would anyone know what the cars sound like until they are there at the track and have paid for their ticket? If sound is to blame for poor crowds, then any impact wouldn't be felt until next season after crowds have had a chance to hear them at least once. I've been to a couple of F1s. The interest is usually dictated by driver personalities. It goes up when you have the likes of Schumacher and Senna, then wanes with the likes of Vettel, and Alonso.

Exhaust energy recovery is old tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47822731)

Recovering energy from the exhaust has been used in aircraft engines since at least the 50's, and I think earlier.

Re:Actually... (1)

errxn (108621) | about two weeks ago | (#47820687)

I'd love to check out a Formula E race if I have a chance, and I hope the series does well. I think there's the potential for an all-electric racing series to contribute toward the technological development of powertrains in electric road-going cars, just as traditional gas-powered auto racing has with ICE road cars.

Concur. There's no amount of pedantic eco-shaming that's gonna convince me to buy and drive an utterly boring crapbox, which is the only affordable option these days. If anyone can figure out how to up the performance without sacrificing too much efficiency, it's F1. I'm excited to see them getting into this.

Re:Actually... (2)

Shinobi (19308) | about two weeks ago | (#47821215)

"If anyone can figure out how to up the performance without sacrificing too much efficiency, it's F1. I'm excited to see them getting into this."

Eh, look into WEC. Those LMP1-H cars are insane. Pretty decent power, better downforce than F1's, while still tuned for endurance races

The interesting thing is that the current 3 LMP1-H teams all have different hybrid approaches: Toyota with a normally aspirated petrol V8 and a supercapacitor storage system for the hybrid boost. Porsche with a Turbocharged V4 and a Lithium-Ion Polymer battery. Audi runs with a Turbocharged diesel V6 and a flywheel energy storage system. They have all kinds of restrictions on fuel flow, fuel amount etc, which in many ways just makes it more interesting, due to the suspense. Even with the more durable V6's, F1 cars would break down long before LMP1-H cars would, in equal circumstances. Forget about the V10 and V8 F1's, they were just flaky....

Re:Actually... (2)

Virtucon (127420) | about two weeks ago | (#47821425)

You just pointed out something that's missing in F1, diversity in power plants. The FIA mandates how many cylinders and how energy is to be recovered. That's not innovation, it's targeted bureaucracy.

Re:Actually... (2)

Shinobi (19308) | about two weeks ago | (#47821695)

FIA mandates a lot of things for the LMP cars too.... Turbo-charged cars can't have the same volume as normally aspirated engines. Different displacements for petrol and diesel. Only piston engines allowed. Different fuel flow rates and maximum fuel loads allowed based on what engine and fuel you use, and your MJ rating for the hybrid system. There are also restrictor plates to limit to around 700BHP for the IC engine.

So, MORE regulations than in F1. Yet those manufacturers, unlike Ferarri in F1, make some crazy cars that even in endurance tuning pull some crazy speeds and corners(As mentioned, more downforce than F1 cars. I think they also have more downforce than IndyCars)

Re:Actually... (1)

errxn (108621) | about two weeks ago | (#47825379)

This is true, but I see the reasoning behind it. It's a rough equivalent to the salary cap in team sports. If you don't do this, it's highly likely that most of the time, the championships start just rotating between two or three most well-funded teams. And this makes it boring for everyone.

Re:Actually... (1)

errxn (108621) | about two weeks ago | (#47825313)

Thanks for the tip, and it actually reinforces my larger point: that it's going to be the racing side of the automotive industry that drives the kind of innovation in electric cars that will eventually make them more attractive to the average buyer.

Re:Actually... (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about two weeks ago | (#47821943)

There is very title in racing that is sexier than the silver and red Audi diesel LMP cars where the turbo blow off and transmission noise is louder than the engine noise, or at least it seems that way from trackside.

I was never a fan of Audi ... but watching those cars at Petit Le Mons is a treat. It never bothers me when one of them beat out the guy I'm cheering for. Its okay to come in second (or third, since there are generally 2 Audi's in first and second) when the Audi's are who you're following. Sexy sexy sounding rides.

lawnmowers (2)

tommeke100 (755660) | about two weeks ago | (#47823859)

Indeed. People are now complaining the cars actually sound like lawnmowers. It's not the high-screeching sounds anymore.
I like the new sound actually.

Quiet? (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about two weeks ago | (#47820625)

You mean the wail of high frequency electric motor drivers?

Re:Quiet? (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about two weeks ago | (#47820807)

Think oversized RC cars. [youtube.com] Maybe they'll give the fans controllers and we can just get rid of those pesky drivers.

Re:Quiet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47820873)

They sound just like giant RC cars too.

Re:Quiet? (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about two weeks ago | (#47822449)

Actually a driverless class would probably be more interesting than Formula E.

Re:Quiet? (1)

raxx7 (205260) | about two weeks ago | (#47821007)

You can actually do some fun things with it

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDAut8Tlf7w

Re:Quiet? (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about two weeks ago | (#47821639)

Not sure if you were going for funny, but a fully loaded 800kW VVVF drive for an electric motor is about as loud as a family sedan, and the motor itself measured 89dB.

Sounds Cool (4, Funny)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about two weeks ago | (#47820629)

I love auto racing, in all its forms. Can't wait until they start televising this circuit, especially every time a driver pits to swap vehicles; from TFA:

The cars can run for about 25 minutes in race conditions, depending on the power level. That means the drivers will have to switch cars halfway through, because the technology to replace or recharge a battery midrace hasn't been perfected yet. Which creates pit stops with drivers scrambling out of one single-seater, hopping to another, and having mechanics buckle them in.

That should be rather entertaining :)

Neat, but I can't wait for... (2)

eepok (545733) | about two weeks ago | (#47820651)

This is really cool. I'll probably watch a race... if at all possible. But I'm really watching Formula E as an industry because I can't wait for the day when they announce "Next year, no more car-swapping! You must develop battery-swapping methods!" Let Formula E be the test bed for 30 different battery swapping methods and let the world be better for it.

Re:Neat, but I can't wait for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47820723)

something like this : ?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5V0vL3nnHY

Re:Neat, but I can't wait for... (1)

Shinobi (19308) | about two weeks ago | (#47821263)

The plan is that one day, they will have allowed that, when a battery swap in a race car during a race is not a close equivalent to juggling a live bomb.

Basically, they want a few years to get some safety into a race-capable quick-swap system to reduce the risk of bad accidents in pit lane.

Re:Neat, but I can't wait for... (1)

Smidge204 (605297) | about two weeks ago | (#47825363)

So swapping a battery mid-race would be "a close equivalent to juggling a live bomb" but for nearly two decades it was acceptable to fling around a massive fuel hose?

Not to mention what those NASCAR guys do, carrying a giant jug and often spilling it everywhere.

Pretty sure that if the battery is safe to be inside the car at all, it's safe enough to be replaced in the pits. Why they haven't gone with this strategy I don't really know... they claim it's for safety but I've never seen any elaboration on that point.
=Smidge=

Re:Neat, but I can't wait for... (2)

swillden (191260) | about two weeks ago | (#47822493)

There's no point, because battery swapping is a silly way for achieving long ranges for electric vehicles. To make it really practical you need to make the batteries smaller, lighter and more accessible (== less well-protected) than they could be. Smaller and lighter means less range and more swapping required. Plus there are all sorts of practical and economic issues with swapping. It's much better just to have a semi-permanent battery which is large enough to take you a reasonable distance, plus sufficiently fast charging that stopping for a bite to eat and a restroom break is long enough to get you topped up enough for some more hours of driving.

Tesla has the right model, I think. Cars with a few hundred miles' range and networks of fast chargers. The top-end Model S still doesn't have quite enough range; we need battery prices to come down a bit more for that, but it's in the ballpark. Get it to, say, 500 miles with one-hour recharges, and you're good for any reasonable trip, and most unreasonable ones.

Tweet to pass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47820707)

As if the Formula 1 push-to-pass button wasn't already silly enough, Formula E will give the driver who gets the most tweets a bonus speed boost on the last lap!

I'm not joking. http://voltmagonline.com/formula-e-tweet-to-pass-could-be-determined-before-race-rather-than-during/

Re:Tweet to pass (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about two weeks ago | (#47820815)

They have to push the button, otherwise the world will end.

Re: Tweet to pass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47821127)

It's the History Eraser button!

Re:Tweet to pass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47821613)

They have to type in the numbers 4 8 15 16 23 42 first.

Ugh. Noise. (4, Interesting)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about two weeks ago | (#47821091)

I used to work in an F1 team.
The thing I hated most was the noise.

There is no downside to Formula E racing. It's quieter. There isn't liquid fuel sloshing around. The races are shorter.

Let's just drop F1 and move over to Formula E. I might even consider going back if that happens.

This is 'Murica.. (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | about two weeks ago | (#47821181)

If we want noise we go watch NHRA and 163dB of pure pain...

Nothing quite like the sound of a 2300lb vehicle using a 7000hp engine that requires 600hp alone to drive it's supercharger...

Re:This is 'Murica.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47822743)

Yeah, that is pretty awesome, but it's only a 4-second race! A few seconds for a burnout and a few seconds for a race, with the rest of the time spent idling or staging isn't all that spectacular. At night you can see the uncombusted fuel burning at the exhaust, but it's still just for a few seconds.

dom

80dB is quiet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47821391)

Look up Formula E sound before you write an article.

The next step (1)

Circlotron (764156) | about two weeks ago | (#47821475)

So when are we going to see driverless F1 cars?

Summary out of date (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47821733)

15,000 rpm in Formula 1? Maybe LAST YEAR. This year the fuel flow limiter means that there is no need to go past about 11,000 rpm, as there is no additional power after that, only lower reliability. Formula 1 sounds like shit now because of it. No idea why we are trying to save fuel during a RACE, but it's F1 so what can you do.... (other than watch Indy instead... :)

If this doesn't make you wet... (0)

x0 (32926) | about two weeks ago | (#47822591)

...kill yourself. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SoZiTxdQyw#t=92/ [youtube.com]

m

Re:If this doesn't make you wet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47823121)

Too bad the F1 rulers hate cars and turned them into mushy sounding pieces of garbage. You'll never be allowed to hear a sound that amazing again. I miss the times when F1 actually meant racing rather than "races" where an appointed driver is given the win and no one is allowed to pass. At the last F1 event I went to, most people left by 1/3 of the way into the race. Since it is no longer a race and no longer a demonstration of fast cars, everyone got bored quickly. I can't believe Ferrari hasn't quit yet since they have a racing heritage. It looks like they would have enough pride to quit the joke that F1 has become. It's going to go the way of Can Am after they decided to destroy Can Am because the Porsche 917 was so great. I don't understand why so many people that hate cars and hate technology get involved with racing. I guess it's the same reason I work with so many anti-Internet people at Microsoft. They want to see the Internet shutdown and destroyed. They do everything they can to make sure nothing we do works.

Re:If this doesn't make you wet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47823621)

Nope, it doesn't and nope, ain't gonna commit suicide over that.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRNoRlLlsD8

Cheers!

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