‘Sound’ of F1 dual exhaust could be ‘noise’ of 2016

I’m always making a noise about the use of the word “noise” when the teams, FIA and press were trying to sell the quieter Formula 1 back in 2014. Suddenly the word of choice was not the “sound” of an F1 car but rather the “noise” of the car and how reducing the noise improved the spectacle and increased the enjoyment level of the fans attending the race.

The problem was, the fans didn’t like it, the drivers didn’t like it and those saying they did secretly admitted—in dark corners and hushed tones—that the visceral experience of a screaming V10, V8 or even the old V12’s were otherworldly.

If that were not the case, the FIA wouldn’t have regulated a new exhaust change for 2016 and this, perhaps, could be an interesting innovation piece for team if they get creative with the regulations. I’m with Motorsport.com’s technical editor Giorgio Piola in that the teams will be keen to try to gain an advantage with the new dual exhaust format by getting the exhaust blown over key aerodynamic parts of the car.

The FIA says:

“Engine exhaust systems must have only a single turbine tailpipe exit and either one or two wastegate tailpipe exits which must all be rearward facing and through which all exhaust gases must pass.

“All and only the turbine exit exhaust gases must pass through the turbine tailpipe and all and only the wastegate exhaust gases must pass through the wastegate tailpipe(s). None of the tailpipes may be contained within any of the other tailpipes.”

So where can the teams find an innovative way to use this new regulation to their benefit? I’m not so daft as to believe the teams actually give a hoot about what the car sounds like as long as it’s faster so while the new dual exhaust is really intended to improve the sound of the car, the teams will look to exploit the design and still harvest as much exhaust as they can for energy creation as well as align the output with some aero efficiency. If that negates the actual intent of increasing the sound note from the car, well tough.

Rules, like many opportunities, are meant to be exploited for the teams benefit and if the exploitation teeters on the cusp of legality, then the team is doing its job correctly. In the wake of that psychological charter, the FIA’s regulations can sometimes fall short of their intended creation. By pressing the boundaries of a regulation, the teams can often times overcome a serious impediment to their performance.

So as we head toward testing in a few short weeks, it will be intriguing to see what the teams do with their dual exhaust designs. Here’s hoping the only “noise” we hear is in the press about how much better the “sound” of the cars is.

Hat Tip: Motorsport.com

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I have seen several ideas floating around of how the teams could use these secondary pipes, either to make some more active DRD (because it would be activated with gears etc) and various forms of blowing the rear wing and/or the monkey seat.

Already looking forward to what the teams come up with. Best if its a smaller team (Williams winning break? Sauber suddenly being in the mix, Force India going for podiums from the go, yes please!) finding the best solution initially and the larger teams having to copy it during the year

Negative Camber

Sort of like an out-of-the-box concept that Brawn had in 2009? Maybe Williams nails it and take the title from Merc? :)


Exactly. Although the effect from this change is probably going to be far less significant for lap times


The MGU-H should prevent the wastegate from opening, the excess energy should effectively be harvested rather than blown through the wastegate. As a result I don’t expect the team’s to make much use of any gas that does flow through this pipe.
The sound will be improved, as the previous regulation requiring a single exit for all gases effectively added a closed length of pipe to the exhaust which would reduce the noise level at the resonant frequency.

Paul KieferJr

In the end, is it just the sound or perhaps it’s just the “note” that offends us? Maybe it’s #justthewind. >rimshot<

Patrick Chapman

The turbine wheel is a very effective silencer in the exhaust outlet system. The closer the turbine is matched to the combustion gasses, the quieter the engine note will be. The whole point of the efficiency drive of these PU’s is to use the waste exhaust gasses so completely by the compressor and the MGU-H that the wastegate never opens. When the turbine is spinning at maximum and making maximum boost and the MGU-H is harvesting as much energy as it is able, and the throttle is suddenly closed, then a very sharp increase in boost will cause the wastegate… Read more »