“The new engines are not going to be silent…”

“The new engines are not going to be silent…”.

Granger Whitlaw loves Formula 1, here’s an excellent article on Formula One’s new engine formula for 2014, the shift from V8 engines to V6 turbos. Here’s a snippet of it, please click the link above for the entire article.

I spoke recently to the FIA’s F1 Race Director, Charlie Whiting. What does he think about the new engine regs for 2014? And what, indeed, does he think about the F1 life?

I find Charlie Whiting in his second home – in the office at any given Race Control building in any given F1 track of the world that bears the title, “Race Director”. We happen, on this occasion, to be in Austin, Texas, where the new Hermann Tilke-finished Circuit of Americas is undergoing its baptism by fire. And this is about the only time of the weekend when Charlie has a moment or two in which to chat. It is the lull after qualifying on Saturday. The F1 cars are in Parc Ferme conditions (under wraps in the team garages). And, baring the odd technical political or technical crisis or two (or three), Charlie can relax just a little, exhale some air and think about…the racing life.

“You’ve been in motor racing for quite a long time,” I say to the man whose silver hair speaks of 40-or-so years in the business but whose body is still that of the ever-young F1 professional. He wears a neatly-pressed light blue, short-sleeved FIA shirt against dark blue slacks. And his room for the week, as ever, is Spartan. A desk, a table with a couple of chairs. A laptop (fed by just-for-the-weekend 100-plus mgb speeds). The inevitable briefcase. No family snaps in leather frames. No mascots.

“Yes,” says Charlie. “Since the age of 14, actually. I’m 60 now, so that’s 46 years. Long enough! And everything still seems like yesterday. I can still recall Lydden Hill rallycrosses in vivid colour. But then, when you think about it, it was a long time ago. The thing that brought that home for me recently was that it’s now been 30 years since I was Chief Mechanic to Nelson Piquet at Brabham when we won the World Championship (in 1981 and 83)…”

I wonder, often, when I see ex F1 Brabham team people like Charlie or Mike “Herbie” Blash, or Alan Woollard or Eddie Baker or Nigel de Strayter, all of whom today work either for the FIA or FOM – I often wonder if they do spend any time thinking about the past. It’s F1 folklore that the only day that matters is tomorrow, that nostalgia is for the weak – and always I imagine that that’s even more the case when you work for the FIA or FOM, where so much of the emphasis is on politics, money, the future, the F1 show. Prod them a little, though, and away they go…

“I joined Brabham at the tail end of the BT45 and the BT46-Alfa, when Niki Lauda and John Watson were driving for us. They were lovely cars. Lovely. When you think how simple they were – they didn’t seem simple at the time – but they are very, very simple cars by today’s comparison. The complication was in the detail. On the BT45 you had to take the engine out to change the spark plugs! As a mechanic, that seemed complicated to me….”


About Granger Whitelaw

Granger Whitelaw founded the Rocket Racing League along with partner, Peter Diamandis in 2005. See more information at http://www.grangerwhitelaw.com/blog and http://grangerwhitelaw.brandyourself.com View all posts by Granger Whitelaw

5 responses to ““The new engines are not going to be silent…”

  • Leandro

    I heard that Charlie Whiting is a great man and of course he is and you can really see records of him and he is really a patient and really one of a kind man. To be in that position is not just a small thing and in fact many want to have that position but it’s really a big deal and there are only few people that deserves it and he is just really outstanding to deserve such that kind of job for really long long years.

  • Miriam May

    Thanks for this nice and good article of yours about new engines that are not going to be silent when used. In my place even motorcycle engines are really loud and I don’t know what is really their purpose on doing it and I don’t have any idea what is the big difference between using silent engines and not. I am just a normal citizen that does not like noises and yeah! I hope it will get resolved because I feel annoying since it’s making noises in public places.

  • Peter Plate

    A very touching line that you quoted and I quoted here also ““Yes,” says Charlie. “Since the age of 14, actually. I’m 60 now, so that’s 46 years. Long enough! And everything still seems like yesterday. “, I think it is really a matter of time and really a time is what matters. Even him can see the happenings as time passes and I can see he enjoyed his life with what profession he chose and I think that is a good thing when working while enjoying life.

  • Vebra

    Changing the spark plugs of engine is really a bit complicated to do, I am a mechanical engineering and it’s still bit puzzling me why it will be done in that way, I mean is it more efficient if we change the spark plug in that manner? Because as what I can understand and observe it is okay now the place where the spark plug is placed and even in my motorcycle I find it good seeing the spark plug in its place.

  • Hanna

    Yes and time really flies fast “I often wonder if they do spend any time thinking about the past. It’s F1 folklore that the only day that matters is tomorrow”, I think the title is just making a reflection of what happens to formula one racing and the history of formula one racing.

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