Williams technical chief Pat Symonds believes that new exhaust regulations introduced for the upcoming season will see an increase in engine volume by up to 25%.
Since their introduction in 2014, the hybrid power units have drawn heavy criticism from fans and even drivers for the lack of sound which detracts from a Formula 1 atmosphere. The World Motor Sport Council approved changes last year to which mandate the 2016 cars have a separate exhaust wastegate tailpipe through which all and only wastegate exhaust gases must pass.
“In the past, everyone has run wastegate pipes into the main tailpipe of the engine and what we have to do in 2016 is separate them. The wastegate on a modern turbo engine doesn’t open very much,” Symonds said at the Autosport International Show.
“We have a motor generator attached to the turbocharger which is one of the ways we harvest waste energy and that controls the compressor speed rather than using a rather inefficient wastegate,” he continued.
“So we really try not to open it very much. In race trim, it’s hardly ever open and in qualifying, we open it a bit. You might think if you’re not opening the wastegate, you won’t hear much difference, but that is not quite true.
“Because there is a pipe joining the wastegate and main tailpipe, it acts as a side branch resonator. Fancy name, what does it mean? It means actually even with the wastegate closed, it acts like a silencer in the exhaust.
“Getting rid of that means it’ll be a bit louder.”
During the tail end of the 2014 season and throughout the 2015 season, the power units gradually improved on their sound quality and became noticeably louder due to natural development.
“This is a natural progression,” Symonds said. “A lot of the sound is a function of the cylinder pressure.
“The higher the cylinder pressure the more sounds coming out and as engines develop, the way you get power is to get the cylinder pressures up.
“We’ve seen some big increases since the beginning of 2014 – the cars have got naturally louder and they will get naturally louder this year in addition to the changes we have made to exhaust.
“In terms of what you will perceive, with the wastegate closed, you’ll perceive it is around 14 percent louder. With the wastegate open, it’ll actually be 20-25 percent louder, so quite significant.
“We haven’t heard these on the circuit yet, but I think we may hear a few of the old signature noises from the turbos, the whistles and the pops – but we will have to wait and see about that one.”
Image via Autodromo Nazionale Monza & XPB Images