For those who have seen Formula One only on the telly, the sound of the speeding cars is more akin to the irritating nasal buzz of a mosquito fluttering by.
But stand close to an F1 car when its engine is being fired up and the ear-splitting roar is more like that of a wild beast warning you to stay away.
On Saturday at the paddock near the Bandra-Worli sea link, when the Red Bull support team covered their ears with large headphones, it should have been enough warning about what was coming. And as the V10 Cosworth engine of the car — which David Coulthard will drive on the Bandra-Worli Sea Link on Sunday — was fired up, every other sound drowned in the high-pitched mechanical harmony. What began as a deceptive low purr was followed by the seemingly amplified noise of about 100 electric guitars. It is said that an F1 car in full rev blasts close to 140 decibels at the tail pipe. Given that the chest thumping music in loud discos hovers in the vicinity of 90, you will empathise with the ear-splitting bit.
“This is just a small sample of how an F1 engine sounds like,” said Coulthard. On Sunday, earplugs would not be a bad idea at all. For speed demons in the city there’s some disappointment as there is a maximum speed limit of 100 kmph set on the sea link. But he gave fans a ray of hope as he said grinning: “I don’t think I intend to drive in India again. So, I am just going to go flat out.”
The man almost gave reporters the quote of the day when his tongue slipped up. The tabloids have always painted the Scot as a ladies man. When asked if he had had any chance to interact with pretty Indian women and taste Indian food, Coulthard said, “I got a chance to taste some pretty Indian women…” realising the gaffe, he quickly corrected himself,”…I got a chance to taste some wonderful Indian food. But every country has some good-looking people and not so good-looking people. Of course, I have noticed pretty ones around here…”