From Shambles to Screech - Formula 1 Beginnings

Made by Seth Geiser · UNLISTED (SHOWN IN POOLS)

The objective is to create a tangible representation of the sound a V10 Formula 1 engine emits when it first starts up.

Created: October 17th, 2016



The original sound (from the racing simulator Gran Turismo 5) can be found at the bottom of this page. The intent was to create a simple model roughly representing 10 cylinders sitting in a garage. This is meant to be a tangible representation of the sound that a 10-cylinder Formula 1 engine makes when started up.



The final representation is a cardboard-box garage with 10 cylinders made from a straw lined up in the formation used in a V10 engine block. The garage is meant to represent the reverberation found in the original audio clip, and the 10 straws is meant to represent the actual 10-cylinder sound (10-cylinder engines have a distinct sound compared to other engines due to timing, block design, RPM range, etc.). The rough, slightly scratchy texture of the cardboard represents the savage power and screech that these engines made due to how high the RPMs could climb (resulting in a high-pitched screech rather than a deep roar found in cars like the Dodge Viper). The cylindrical shape of the straw represents each individual cylinder of the engine. Lastly, there are two banks of 5 straws to show that the engine is laid out in a V internally, rather than a W or straight-10.



I decided to stick with easily accessible and modifiable materials to create this physical representation. This meant cutting cardboard boxes from packages that I received in my time at CMU, as well as chopping a drinking straw that I got from dinner last night. I used rather temporary means of fixing the structure of the garage together to keep cost down. Staples were used to reinforce the cardboard posts that would hold the top, and glue was used to fix the posts to the base. Finally, the drinking straw was cut into small segments and arranged in two banks of 5 cylinders to represent both the 10-cylinders in the engine block, as well as the exhaust headers that poked out of the top or sides of the engine (depending on the engine design). This arrangement was set up slightly towards the back of the makeshift garage to represent a distant reverberation found in the original sound (it was presumably recorded in a garage).



I think I captured the content of the audio accurately, but did not entirely capture the aesthetics. Those who followed Formula 1 from the early 1990's to the mid-2000's will recognize that it is supposed to represent a 10-cylinder engine of sorts, but may not recognize it as easily as the original sound. I think to more accurately capture the aesthetics, I would need more parts (or objects representing said parts) from a Formula 1 car of the period, such as a wheel or helmet. I learned that the best thing to do with a task like this is to stick with readily available materials and make sure that they are easily malleable. This allows me to bend the materials to represent what I want them to. I also learned that the worst thing to do is overthink the approach, which ends up with the creation of a disappointing result.

V10 F1 Startup by Seth Geiser
Seth Geiser -

Above is a V10-powered McLaren MP4/20 from the 2005 F1 Season.

For those who desire to know more about the history of the V10 F1 engines, this Wikipedia article is a good place to start. In particular, look from 1989 to 2005.

And for those who want to hear one of these engines at full-tilt, here's a video showcasing the Ferrari F2002 being driven around a racetrack (down below).

Ferrari F2002 F1 V10 Engine Pure Sound
19Bozzy92 -
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The objective is to create a tangible representation of the sound a V10 Formula 1 engine emits when it first starts up.