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Forget plugs, just grin and 'ear' it

india Updated: Oct 25, 2011 23:57 IST
Rohit Bhaskar
Rohit Bhaskar
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

There are few sounds that can bring about uninhibited aural bliss. The first time you listen to The Beatles is one. The screech of 24 Formula One cars at the start of a race, although not quite as melodious as the Fab Four's harmonies, could well be another.

The Malayasian Grand Prix at Sepang in April was the first time one experienced the ear-splitting shriek of the 2.4 litre V8 engine. It left the ear drums reverberating - transmitting the vibrations to the cochlea from where nerve fibres passed on the signals to the brain to be processed, analysed, stored.

With earplugs kept for good measure, one headed for the grandstand and took a seat next to the Malaysian fans, all equipped with ear-cup radio headphones sold in the official F1 merchandise store. They serve a dual purpose - help you stay updated with a live radio feed of the race and protect your ears from the 140 decibel sound waves.

Listening to the howl of the 24 cars when the five red lights go off is an experience in itself. One remembered Enzo Ferrari and a famous quote by the legendary Italian car manufacturer. "Aerodynamics are for people who can't build engines."

Granted the modern F1 cars (let's not get started on the switch to V6 engines from the 2014 season) can never recreate the angry bark of the V12 Ferraris of old, but for one who had only seen the videos of the Ferrari of Mike Hawthorn and John Surtees, the din of 24 V8s was music to the ears.

In the laps that followed, one toyed with the idea of using the earplugs, even placing them on the ears time and again, only to pull them out the moment a car whizzed past. Like heroin, the sound of an F1 car can get you hooked, and one kept taking hit after hit of the good stuff.

This weekend, those of you who head to the Buddh International Circuit will be faced with a similar dilemma.

When you do, just think of the first time you heard I am the Walrus, the growl of 24 F1 cars will hit you as hard as the first time you heard John Lennon chanting Coo Coo Cachoo. Do you want to dilute that thrill?

You can definitely pull the plug, or shall we say earplug, on that thought!