Mercedes AMG F1's 'trumpet' exhaust made a questionable debut on Wednesday.
"Looks like Mercedes have put a vuvuzela on the back of their car," Reuters' Alan Baldwin wryly observed.
Germany's Auto Motor und Sport 'tweeted' a photo of the protruding appendage (shown above).
Questionable aesthetics aside, attention then turned to whether the exhaust extension, also dubbed a 'megaphone' by the press, did indeed turn up the volume.
"So far no good news concerning the sound," reported German television RTL's Florian Koenig.
BBC correspondent Andrew Benson agreed that the initial reaction from fans was "almost totally negative".
The German journalist Bianca Garloff opined: "In my view, the new sound is even worse", while Sky's Rachel Brookes reported she heard "no audible difference".
Footage and audio of the trumpet-equipped Nico Rosberg's W05 can be seen and heard below.
Speed Week correspondent Mathias Brunner said the 'trumpet' was removed from Rosberg's car for the afternoon session.
"It's crazy to talk about making a formula one car louder," former McLaren and Ferrari driver Gerhard Berger told APA news agency.
"The whole discussion is just nonsense."
The governing FIA, however, is so serious it has engaged sound experts to work on the solution with F1's three engine makers Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault.
"The FIA have some acoustic consultants who have visited us and have had access to our existing dyno test results, including sound measurements," said Renault's Rob White.
But earlier, White's boss Jean-Michel Jalinier insisted F1 should not be ashamed of its more efficient - and therefore quieter - engine technology.
"You just have to move with the times," he argued, "and it is no longer the time for a V10 or V8 using 60 litres of fuel every 100 kilometres."
Some believe the more docile noise produced by a F1 car in 2014 is a tribute to its brand new and impressive technology.
"It (the 2014 'power unit') uses less energy," said White. "It does so more efficiently so there's less falling out of the back as noise.
"I don't sign up to the opinion they sound horrible. Instead, I feel there is a positive message that has kind of got drowned out."
White told the Daily Mail he is not closing his ears to the calls for more noise, but there are paddock rumblings that Mercedes' rivals are sceptical the 'megaphone' exhaust might add performance to the German team's already-dominant car.
"My short to medium term concern is we mustn't be put in a situation where we take a performance hit relative to our competitors, directly or indirectly as a result of this subject," he admitted.
Red Bull not interested in Mercedes power
May 14 (GMM) Red Bull says it is not interested in being powered by Mercedes.
Unhappy with its underpowered Renault V8 a few years ago, Red Bull looked into switching to Mercedes but was vetoed by the then works team McLaren.
Things have now changed: McLaren is a mere Mercedes customer and switching to Honda, while Mercedes is totally dominating the 2014 season with its industry-leading new turbo V6.
Furthermore, Red Bull is less content than ever with struggling Renault, but Dr Helmut Marko on Wednesday played down suggestions the reigning world champions might want to be supplied by arch-rival Mercedes instead.
"We do not want their engine, even if it is the best," he told Germany's Auto Bild.
"How would we ever know that they are giving us equal equipment?" Marko added.
Honda, returning to F1 next year as McLaren's new works supplier, might also be an option for Red Bull, with the Japanese marque open to supplying customers from 2016.
Red Bull mogul Dietrich Mateschitz told Speed Week: "First, we have a long-term contract with Renault.
"And secondly, we would only receive a customer engine from Honda."
Vettel's old chassis was 'bent' - report
The chassis used by Sebastian Vettel in the first four races of 2014 was bent, according to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.
The reigning quadruple world champion notably struggled alongside fresh-faced teammate Daniel Ricciardo until Spain, where he spectacularly scythed through the field and declared for the first time that driving in 2014 is "fun".
Although no obvious chassis flaw was found between the Chinese and Spanish grand prix, Red Bull nonetheless put Vettel at the wheel of the winter testing chassis in Barcelona.
"I do think it made a difference," the German declared after the race.
Auto Motor und Sport correspondent Michael Schmidt said further investigations have been taking place at Milton Keynes after Barcelona.
He confirmed: "The chassis he (Vettel) used in the first four races was in fact crooked."
Schmidt said Vettel, the winner of the last nine grands prix of 2013 on the trot, had suspected something was wrong with his car after China.
"A second down (to Ricciardo) was too much. I had not forgotten how to drive," said the German.
Caterham behind in engine, gearbox bills - report
Is the F1 backmarker Caterham for sale?
That was the question being asked on Wednesday by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, recalling paddock rumours from the Spanish grand prix venue in Barcelona.
When Renault revealed that its turbo V6 engine bills had gone unpaid, many eyes turned to Lotus, who last year struggled to pay drivers and suppliers.
An initial media statement from the Enstone based team sounded equivocal, but team owner Gerard Lopez now insists: "We have paid all our engine bills."
German correspondent Michael Schmidt said the suspicion has now fallen on Caterham, who according to rumours may be losing the support of its founder Tony Fernandes.
"Apparently, the green team is also behind in its gearbox payments to Red Bull," Schmidt added.
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