Maurizio Arrivabene: F1 must fight for attention in 'PlayStation' era

Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene believes tapping into the generation and market surrounding video games, rather than solely focusing on improving its own product, is vital for Formula 1.

Formula 1 chiefs are in the midst of discussing potential regulatory overhauls for 2021, with restructured technical and sporting rules likely to be introduced.

They include revised aerodynamic regulations, amended engine rules, as well as a desire to provide a more equitable financial playing field, with a budget cap mooted.

When asked by Motorsport Week as to whether a budget cap could be the primary system to level the field, Arrivabene concurred, but pointed to other factors that Formula 1 needs to address.

“I think from the financial point of view, of course reducing the cost is always more than welcome,” he said.

“It’s not related to the what, it’s related to the how. If reducing costs means equalisation it’s not for us.

“Standardisation is one thing, equalisation is another so equalisation is not in the DNA of car manufacturers.

“The problem is a bit more than the simple question related to the budget cap, that as I said, is very important. The question is related to the overall F1.

“What we want to do, to increase the interest in the sport, we need to analyse the mistakes of the past, to look forward for solutions in the future and this is also very important and to be honest, with ourselves: how is the level of interest to Formula 1 versus yesterday?

“What do we need to do? It’s not the budget cap, it’s one of the solutions but it’s the solution. We need to go back and to re-launch the sport.

“If at a certain point you have an audience that is becoming older, older, older and you work to retain what you have… and your attention is less focused on acquiring the young generation, this means that you have a problem.

“We never focused our attention on the audience and the audience, little by little, became older. This is the exercise that we need to look at.”

Formula 1 has ramped up its involved in eSports in recent years, with the launch of its own championship in 2017 that concluded alongside the season finale in Abu Dhabi.

The eSports Series has expanded this year with competitors signed up through Formula 1 teams – though Ferrari is the only squad on the grid that has not got involved.

Arrivebene believes the array of entertainment options in the modern climate, particularly with the rise of eSports, means Formula 1 faces greater competition in order to attract attention.

“Our competitor today, in my opinion, it’s my personal opinion, they are the Playstations,” he said, referring to video games and eSports.

“If you look at Gran Turismo, most probably we need to switch our minds and focus our attention on our competitors.

“Today we have a broad offer of entertainment and we need to look at everything, not only certain sports and try to equalise everything.

“Is PlayStation a competitor? In my opinion yes. What do you have to do to beat the PlayStation? You have to do something that is more interesting, most probably.

“It’s not a detailed answer to the question but we need to direction our attention to the entertainment industry and today what they offer is bigger than many many years ago.

“And then you need to ask why other sports - and let me underline football – they are still big numbers - even if they sometimes face crisis - versus us.”