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Better quality of sound 'essential' for next F1 engine, says Wolff

The sound of Formula 1 engines must play an "essential" part in discussions to frame grand prix racing's next set of regulations, says Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff

Talks have already been started between the FIA and manufacturers about plans for new engine rules after 2020, with F1 committed to running the current turbo hybrid V6s until then.

One of the biggest complaints from fans about the new engines that were introduced in 2014 is that they are not loud enough.

A return to V8 engines has been proposed by some critics but Wolff, who does not want to see a move to old engine technology, said a better priority would be the quality of the sound.

"Why do people say 'rev the engine and go, go go'?" said Wolff. "With everything going hybrid on the road, going efficient, and going autonomous, watching racing cars is still an audio-visual exercise.

"You can see the cars going fast, but the sound is very important. It gives us the perception of power and speed.

"I think maybe with the current generation of engines we have forgotten to take care about this point.

"Having said that, I don't think it is completely bad. But with 2020, when we do the new engines, quality of sound should be an essential part. It is very important."

There are four engine suppliers in F1 - Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Honda, with the last of those set to supply a second team for the first time next season when Sauber joins McLaren as a customer.

Wolff believes it would be positive if an independent supplier could join the engine manufacturer ranks, although said that will need an early commitment to frame the rules for 2021.

He said: "You can choose from the best sportscar producer in the world, Ferrari; the best global road brands - Honda, Renault; and probably the number one premium brand Mercedes - of course!

"That is a situation that didn't exist in many eras of F1, that we have four possible suppliers, so if we can find a formula that allows an independent engine supplier to enter F1 after 2020 that is good.

"Will an independent engine supplier ever be competitive against OEM [original equipment manufacturer] structures that have invested billions over the years to be where they are? I am not sure.

"But I think if we create a new formula early enough, it will allow independent engine suppliers to look at the concept, and if they find sponsors or investors then this can be a formula that works.

"I am 110% convinced that F1 needs to be a technology formula - that bolting in an eight -cylinder naturally-aspirated engine is not the way we should go because F1 would lose its DNA.

"It needs to be the most powerful, the fastest possible engine and where the best technology goes."

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