The eardrum-shattering shriek of V12 and V10 Formula 1 engines will never again grace our ears. However, engine noise should improve from the relatively quiet turbocharged sixers that power the F1 cars of today, according to F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali.
Domenicali has been making his media rounds over the past few days to talk about the current and future states of F1 and a common theme of such interviews has been engine noise. The current F1 powertrain—a 1.6-liter turbocharged V6 with hybrid power—is the quietest, least characterful powertrain in the history of the sport. Naturally, fans are hoping for an improvement but the upcoming 2026 regulations don't offer a lot of hope on paper. Come 2026, F1 cars will retain their turbocharged V6s but rely even more heavily on their hybrid assistance. However, Domenicali claims that the sound will improve, despite the additional hybrid usage.
During his interview with Australian radio station 3AW, Domenicali was asked if the future of F1 would be noiseless. "No. Very clearly, no." Domenicali said. "Of course, we need to be hybrid, we're [going to be] hybrid for the future but the intention is to make sure in the new regulation, the engine sound will be higher."
"It's part of our emotion, it's really what our fans want to hear and that's our duty for us to commit to that."
When asked if Formula 1 would eventually go from the hybrid powertrains of today to full electrification, Domenicali shut the idea down pretty quicky. "I don't think so," he said. "Formula 1 is not electric."
"We have taken the direction of using, for the future, sustainable fuel with hybrid engines and that's where we believe we're going to stay for many, many years."
Even with their wicks turned up and their exhausts made louder, the current V6 engines will never sing like the V12s and V10s of old. That doesn't mean they can't be loud and exciting, though. Hopefully the excitement increases as the noise does for 2026, especially in the wake of increasingly strict emissions regulations for road cars. As more and more road cars become electrified, it will be nice to be reminded of the glory days of internal combustion with Formula 1. So while the new engines will never sound as incredible as they did in the days of Senna or Schumacher, hopefully they'll bring some added excitement in their own unique way.
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