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It was manufacturers with mainly Renault and followed by the Mercedes board who pushed for such an engine formula. It has indeed everything to do with promoting marketing downsized turbo engines and hybrid to customers and not really the actual fuel economy of F1 cars that is quite symbolical anyway. From that POV, I can get the logic.
As for the sound, an autosport article said it wasn't bad at all. A deeper sweeter sound but still loud. Actually I've always imagined those 15,000 rpm engines to sound a bit like engines of the early 90's like the Renault V10 at the time.