SEPANG, Malaysia, March 27, 2014 (AFP) - Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel slammed the new sound of Formula One Thursday and said this season's
quiet, hybrid engines desperately needed a makeover to bring back some excitement.
"It's shit," Vettel said immediately, when asked what he thought about the sound of the new engines. "I think we'll have to (change it)."
The reigning king of Formula One joins a list of high-level detractors including the sport's supremo, Bernie Ecclestone, following the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
Vettel had plenty of time to listen to the engines, which have been compared to vacuum cleaners, when he retired early in Melbourne. And he wasn't impressed, saying noise levels were higher in a bar.
"I was on the pit wall during the race, it's better (quieter) than in the bar. That's my opinion. I think for the fans it's not good," Vettel said ahead of this week's race in Malaysia.
"I think Formula One has to be spectacular, and the sound is one of the most important things," added the German, 26.
"I remember when I was a small child. I don't remember much, the first time I was five or six years old when we went to see the cars live during free practice in Germany.
"The one thing I remember was the sound, how loud the cars were, to feel the cars through the ground, the whole ground was vibrating. It's just a shame that we don't have that any more."
Ecclestone has pledged to change the sound of the 1.6-litre V6 engines, which have replaced 2.4-litre V8s and are so quiet that Australian GP organisers claimed they were a breach of contract.
But the sound was the least of Red Bull's worries in Melbourne when Vettel retired with software problems and his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was stripped of second place over a disputed technical issue.
Vettel said he was "not sure" that team owner Dietrich Mateschitz was really threatening to quit F1 when he told an Austrian newspaper, "there is a clear limit to what we can accept".
But he said Ricciardo's disqualification, which took hours to resolve and disappointed the Australian driver's home crowd, was bad for the sport.
"For sure it was a big hit for the team but also I think in some regards for Formula One," Vettel said.
"Daniel did a fantastic job finishing second. I think the whole country was happy and proud and then a couple of hours later, they take second position away from him.
"From a driver's point of view, a team point of view, it hurts a lot. Now we need to see whether the appeal goes. But for the sport itself for sure it's always bad when this kind of thing happens."
Red Bull are appealing against Ricciardo's disqualification and their case will be heard next month. But the Australian said he took only positives from his debut drive with the world-beating team.
"Whether I get the 18 points or not it's given me a lot of confidence for the rest of the season," said the 24-year-old from Perth.
"I stood up on the podium and that won't get erased... I do feel like I got the second (place). I'll carry that with me and hopefully I'll be up there again soon."