By Patrick Johnston
SEPANG, Malaysia (Reuters) - Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel has blasted the sport's new V6 turbo engines for a lack of noise, saying the tracks were now quieter than most bars and that fans were missing out.
The German has dominated the sport for the last four years with the old V8 engines but his run of nine consecutive victories ended in Melbourne in the season opening race two weeks ago when retired with a reliability issue.
The early stop gave Vettel a chance to hear the cars continue around the Albert Park track with the lack of noise not proving music to the ears of the Red Bull driver.
"I was on the pitwall during the race, and it is (quieter) than in a bar. I think for the fans it is not good," he told reporters at the Malaysian Grand Prix on Thursday.
"I think F1 has to be spectacular and the sound is one of the most important things."
Vettel said the deafening noise of the old Formula One engines had made a lasting impression when he first went to a race in Germany aged six.
"We went to see the cars live in free practice in Germany, and the one thing I remember was the sound," the 26-year-old added.
"I remember how loud the cars were and to feel the cars through the ground as it was vibrating. It is a shame we don't have that anymore."
The view was shared by Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, who said the lack of noise around the circuits had taken some of the magic away from the glamour sport.
"It's ok, its not special how it used to be but its a lot of power and special in other ways," the 2008 world champion said.
Vettel's team mate Daniel Ricciardo, who finished second in his first race with the team at his home Grand Prix in Melbourne before being disqualified, said the noise remained loud enough for him.
"Once you're at full speed you still don't hear what's going on," the Australian told reporters.
"There's still enough noise inside our helmets to block out the rest.
"I think it's alright. It's different, something else to get used to. I'll probably have good hearing for a bit longer so I'm not really complaining."
Ricciardo's lack of complaints would have been met with approval by McLaren's Jenson Button, who took advantage of the Australian's disqualification to move up to third in Melbourne.
The 2009 world champion advised the likes of Vettel to leave Formula One if they did not like the adaptations.
"Go and race something else if you're not happy," the Briton said.
"As drivers, we don't have an opinion where the cars are in terms of sound and feel. When you cross the finish line first, you've won a grand prix, you don't care what it sounds like and what it looks like.
"You've beaten the best in the world and that's what you care about."
Hamilton's Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg won the Australian Grand Prix and he backed up Button's opinion in an earlier news conference.
"The cars are great to drive, that's fine, so I think its all good," the German said.
(Editing by John O'Brien)