Formula 1 Turning to Microphones to Make Engines Louder

Officials say it would also help make TV viewing more a ‘visceral’ experience.

byCaleb Jacobs|
Formula 1 Turning to Microphones to Make Engines Louder


This year has been a building year for Formula 1, and so far, it's worked. More fans are tuning in than in years previous, and a heated competition for the Drivers' Title is enough to come back for every race. Now, officials are saying that focus has shifted to further improving the experience, both at the circuit and on television, by introducing a ceramic microphone that amplifies engine noise.

This is in effort to recreate the same shrill of former Formula 1 engines with sound being a major complaint against the hybrid V6 era. In a report from Reuters, F1 commercial managing director Sean Bratches explained the brand's strategy for bringing that excitement back to the sport.

“One of the things that we want to amplify going forward are the sounds of the sport, because they are viscerally moving to fans and critically important in all the research that we do."

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Bratches noted that Australian producer David Hill, a longtime veteran in sports broadcasting, has been involved in this process.

“He’s working with a German concern to develop a ceramic microphone that we can actually adhere to the exhaust pipe to get the true amplification of sound for fans," Bratches said.

By using this equipment, Bratches believes that it will give viewers the sound they want that's been lacking since 2014. Formula 1 owner Liberty Media is a likely proponent of this move given the company's stance toward improving popularity after a dip in ratings during Bernie Ecclestone's final years as commander in chief.

This could, however, be a temporary fix that lasts only a few years. It is expected that Formula 1 will introduce new engine regulations come 2021 that make powerplants cheaper, simpler, and louder. This move has been supported by manufacturers and fans alike in hopes of rekindling that beloved flame from the V12 and V-10 years of F1.

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FIA president Jean Todt noted previously that any step backwards in Formula 1 technology would be an errant move, so expect to hear his two cents once the new regulation cycle is due.