Louder exhausts possible if teams agree - FIA
Formula One is still working on solutions to up the volume of the new generation V6 turbo engines, but the FIA says it is up to the teams to decide whether to adopt the ideas.
The new turbo engines are significantly quieter than the old naturally-aspirated V8s and were met with criticism from many fans at the start of the season. At an in-season test in Spain, Mercedes trialled a megaphone exhaust with underwhelming results, but a more promising split exhaust solution has been tested away from the track.
"Noise is something that we're still working on," FIA technical boss Charlie Whiting said. "A solution that has been tested on a dyno is to split the exhaust. We've [currently] got one tailpipe in the centre of the car where all the exhaust gasses come out.
"We did this purposefully to minimise the effect of the exhaust gasses [on aerodynamics] because, as you know, we've had lots of problems with the rules on exhausts. What they've found is that by splitting that exhaust, you do get more noise. It would seem to work, especially with megaphones, be they round or rectangular, to some extent."
Whiting said it was up to the teams to decide whether they felt it was worth rearranging the rear of the cars, and the associated costs that would be incurred, for the added volume.
"The next step is to look at the feasibility of doing it. If you're going to put a megaphone or two on the back of a car, there's a lot of interaction between wing pillars, rear wings, monkey seat wings, rear impact structures, rear lights. All those sorts of things would have to be re-engineered, potentially, to accommodate two exhaust pipes instead of one. It's not a straightforward job. And I think the next step it to assess whether or not everyone feels this is a worthwhile thing to do. That's where we are."
One of the reasons the cars are quieter this year is because the turbo and lower revs, which have contributed to fuel efficiency gains this year. But Whiting said the most recent plans to make the cars louder should not impact on the improved efficiency of the engines.
"From what I understand it won't make the engines any less efficient. It's just a matter of handling the exhaust gasses in a different way. Whether or not we need to go that route, I certainly don't hear quite so much noise - if I may use that word - going around about it. So we'll see. If that's what everybody wants we'll have to do what we can to achieve it."