Racing Star Mitch Evans Proponent of F1 Noise
New Zealander Mitch Evans, 21, one of the leading lights of single-seater junior auto racing, says he believes Formula One’s audiences could accelerate if the series returned to 2.4-litre V8 engines which it dropped last year in favour of more environmentally-friendly 1.6-litre V6 turbos.
“It is quite scary in F1 because they need to do something drastically soon with the cars,” Evans says. “I think the biggest thing is the sound. That has just been a huge disappointment. I think it is a big issue. Honestly, if you put the last generation car back in for the rest of the championship I believe you would get like half more viewers just from the sound. It’s F1.”
Evans has been well-acquainted with the noise of a racing engine from an early age. As Forbes has reported, Evans started racing in karts in 2001 when he was aged six and rose through the ranks in Australia’s Formula Ford Championship. In 2011 he left his home country for Europe to compete in F1’s feeder series GP3 which he won the following year with the Arden team taking three victories, six podiums and four pole positions. It made his name as one of the most respected and promising names in single-seater junior auto racing.
From 2013 Evans moved one step closer to F1 by racing in GP3’s bigger brother GP2 and he says “getting into F1 has been my dream since I was 7 years old.”
“When I went to my first Grand Prix I was so excited because it was F1 and because of the sound,” says Evans. “I was so excited to put my ear plugs in and you had to have them in. Everyone who went to the track got that buzz because the noise got under your skin and into your blood. When you were in the crowd you got more for your money because you actually got a buzz. From my point of view, that is what you paid for. You went to see your heroes but also the cars because they are so epic and sound so good. If you’re in the city in Melbourne you could hear it. It was like an advert. You don’t get that now.” Experts in the city agree.
The Australian Grand Prix takes place in the city’s Albert Park and Ron Walker, the legendary promoter who launched the race there in 1996, says that the noise of the cars is crucial promotion. “If you don’t put the sound through the canyons of steel and glass in Melbourne, people won’t know it is on,” he told Forbes last year. “We did a survey of the fans and they don’t really care about saving 100 kilos of fuel. They couldn’t care less. They want to go and see gladiatorial drivers fighting each other and not worry about the fuel that they use.”
Original article by Christian Sylt, Forbes, August 30, 2015.