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Auto blogMon, 08 Apr 2013 09:30:00 EST
While every team on the Formula One grid is worried about making a good showing in this year's championship at the same time as they develop a brand-new car for next year's championship, Bernie Ecclestone and F1 circuit promoters have a different concern: how next year's cars will sound. The current cars use 2.4-liter, naturally-aspirated V8s that can reach 18,000 revolutions per minute and employ dual exhaust, next year's engine formula calls for 1.4-liter turbocharged V6s that are capped at 15,000 rpm and are constrained to a single exhaust outlet. Ecclestone and promoters like Ron Walker believe the new engines sound like lawnmowers and that the less thrilling audio will keep people from coming to races. If Walker's Australian Grand Prix really is shelling out almost $57 million to hold the race, every ticket counts. As a fix, according to a report in Autoweek, Ecclestone "suggests that the only way to guarantee [a good sound] may be to artificially adjust the tone of the V6s."
However, neither the manufacturers nor the governing body of F1, the FIA, think there will be a problem. Ecclestone fears that if the manufacturers "don't get it right" they'll simply leave the sport, but the only three carmakers and engine builders left next year, Renault (its 2014 "power unit" is pictured), Mercedes-Benz and Ferrari are so embedded that it would stretch belief to think they'd leave the table over an audio hiccup - if said hiccup even occurs. And frankly, these issues always precede changes to engine formulas, as they did when the formula switched from V10 to V8; fans, though, are probably less focused on the engines and more on the mandated standardization of the sport and the spec-series overtones that have come with it.
No one knows yet what next year's engines will sound like, but we've assembled a few videos below to help us all start guessing. The first is an engine check on an Eighties-era John Player Special Renault with a 1.5-liter V6 turbo, after that is Ayrton Senna qualifying in 1986 in the Lotus 98T that also had a 1.5-liter V6 turbo, then you'll find a short with a manufactured range of potential V6 engine notes, and then the sound of turbocharged V6 Indycars testing last year at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Any, or none of them, could be Formula One's future.
Generally speaking, when you illegally park your car, you're likely to get ticketed and towed, but there is probably at least one motorist in Scotland who wishes that was the case. After workers had blocked off a portion of the parking lot for the Edinburgh Waverley railway station, the driver of this Mercedes-Benz S-Class reportedly moved some of the barriers to park in one of the empty spots.
Rather than having the vehicle towed, the work crew simply tore up the asphalt around the leaving just the one parking spot intact, and as you can see in the image above (posted to the Twitter account of Harold Norstad), the crew even built a small asphalt ramp so the car could get off its blacktop pedestal. Since this happened last week, there's no word as to whether the car was eventually moved or towed for the resurfacing work to continue.
Let this be a warning...
The development of a partnership between Mercedes-Benz and Aston Martin has been a long time coming. The news dates back to 2008, and over the five years since was supposed to lead to a rejuvenation of both the Maybach and Lagonda brands. That program ultimately fell apart, but the tie-in was forged afresh in July when the two automakers signed a letter of intent over a renewed partnership. And now that partnership has been formalized.
In a deal just announced, Mercedes-AMG will build a new V8 engine for Aston Martin that will power a new generation of luxury GTs for the British marque, presumably to replace the 4.7-liter V8 in the Vantage. The relationship appears to be similar to the one already in place between AMG and Pagani, only in this case, will involve Daimler taking as much as a five-percent stake in Aston Martin and an observer seat on Aston's board.
The technical partnership is also set to lead to the supply of electric and electronic systems, and could incorporate "additional areas of cooperation in the future." Whether that will include a fresh attempt at reviving Lagonda remains to be seen, as does the future of Aston's long-serving, Ford-based 6.0-liter V12 engine. But for now you can read the full announcement below.