Maurizio Arrivabene, Ferrari, 2018

Ferrari: F1 needs a “relaunch” to target PlayStation generation

2018 F1 season

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Formula 1 needs to look beyond a budget cap to address its drop in viewership, Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene believes.

Arrivabene said he supports the idea of a budget cap but stressed his team is against regulations intended to “equalise” the competition between teams.

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

“[But] 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. Equalisation is not in the DNA of car manufacturers.”

F1’s problems cannot be solved by a budget cap alone, he said. “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.”

The Ferrari boss believes the sport needs to “analyse the mistakes of the past” and focus on why audiences are falling and why it is failing to attract younger viewers.

“We need to go back and to re-launch the sport. Launching the sport is kind of complicated and a complex equation but it’s something that we absolutely need to do and analysing also the audience that we have.

Start, Suzuka, 2018
Peak F1: Is the pinnacle of motorsport facing irreversible decline?
“If at a certain point you have an audience that is becoming older, older, older and you work to retain what you have and (Inaudible) to acquire – I’m talking about the past – and your attention is less focused on acquiring the young generation, this means that you have a problem.

“If you have a problem, you need to find a solution and the solution is not only related to the budget cap that I underline is important, it’s very, very important, but it’s not the only one solution.”

Formula 1 has failed to respond to how its audience has changed, said Arrivabene. “Our competitor today, in my opinion, they are the PlayStations.

“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.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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54 comments on “Ferrari: F1 needs a “relaunch” to target PlayStation generation”

  1. The fact he said playstation generation just proves how far behind he and Ferrari are.

    1. Maybe he was purposefully being r e t r o ?

      1. Playstation is retro or behind the times?
        Please explain.

        1. I believe they mean the actual phrase. ‘Playstation Generation’ isn’t used much at all these days, in fact, I think it’s use declined with the initial poor sales of the PS3. (Due to that high price tag and the delayed launch)

          These days, it’s whatever money sink game is popular at the minute (ie: Fortnite Generation) or Smartphone Generation, Twitter Generation etc.

          1. @nikkit, exactly – as you say, the idea of a “Playstation generation” was quite a few years ago now given that most people tend to use mobile devices (phones, tablets etc) instead, and those are now the more dominant gaming platform.

            Equally, the references to Gran Turismo are somewhat old fashioned too given that series has been going into decline in terms of popularity – sales of that series peaked a couple of iterations ago because that series has been seen as stagnating, and the market for console racing gamers has become a lot more competitive than it was in the past.

        2. The people who grew up playing playstation are now 30 years old or more.

          1. I think we can understand the gist of what he means though, no? I think it is a sign of progress that a wealthy team such as Ferrari gets that just because some teams have more than enough money to compete at the top, doesn’t make it the way they can or should keep going in F1’s future. At least he’s not saying caps can’t work, can’t be policed, and if they try we’ll leave.

        3. I remember to read “Playstation generation” when Alonso and Raikkonen were starting to win (2003-2004…). This was more accurate. For today’s kids, a Playstation device it’s probably something fun, but of the stone age.

          The fact that Ferrari and his boss don’t know this, shows how lost Ferrari is in this. Nothing strange if we look at the age that their signings usually have. Maybe Leclerc can help them.

          1. And making memory, I can practically assure that the first driver to be called a Playstation-boy, was Jacques Villeneuve.

          2. You do realise that the PlayStation gets revised every few years? The current one is the PS4 (2 versions) and Sony have announced they are making the PS5. Hardly ‘stoneage’. The ‘PlayStation Generation’ simply means people who play computer games and has meant that for decades.

          3. anon-e moss, It’ss precisely what I am saying. If “Playstation generation” means people who play computer games, that type of people has existed for 30 years or more. If Ferrari is still thinking of reaching these people, I think it’s a bit late. I think Arrivabene wants to refer to the young people of 2018, and “Playstation generation” is not an appropriate term for them. And yes, a new PS4 may be something desirable for a today’s 15-year-old boy, but the term “Playstation” is something that for them is established, old, those things have existed for decades. For the true Playstation generation, the term Playstation was something cool, trendy, for today’s kids is the same say “Playstation” that “Table” or “TV”, only the description of an object that has nothing special apart from its own function. It’s not especially “cool”, it’s something even their parents do.

          4. You’re splitting hairs. Arrivabene’s point is taken.

          5. People have been playing games for 30 years, but it hasn’t been Mainstream for that Long.

  2. Yup, and the only team not to get onboard with the esports league isssss??

  3. So, absolutely nothing concrete, no ideas, no suggestions. Just whining and saying somebody else has to do something different. Not my fault, basically.

    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one that thought that was a load of Gobble-Dee-Gook! I know English isn’t his first language but still… Personally I think it’s a very very poor attempt at deflecting but you crack on Mauricio. I love these statements. It puts into perspective the intelligence of the average guy on the street. If mauricio can make it..we all can 😀

      1. What ridiculous nonesense. He was asked a question and gave a summed up answer. I’m sure if he was asked to speak in detail on the topic, like in front of an audience for example, he’d have lot’s more to say. @jonchalk @Dean If that was whining, what exactly are you doing?

  4. Put the sport on more free tv.
    Spread the prize money out more.
    Have less dependence on wing-generated aero.

    The usual three suggested changes to help F1, but still no will to implement due to the way they cost the establishment monetary and competitive advantage.

    1. Indeed, having more free access to races would probably do more for them than trying to be something they can’t be. In fact, isn’t it telling that the example given is GT and not their own sport’s video game?
      I can tell you that I remember Sundays in the 80s and 90s when my family would have lunch at my grand-parent’s house and then watch the F1 race. Adults and kids alike. Nowadays, I came back to F1 after some 20 years of looking only at the occasional news story, but the older people I used to watch with? Nope. And they’re not off playing Playstation! (Filthy Xbots!!! XD)
      This isn’t so much a generational problem, I think. At least not in those terms.

    2. @Calum Still no will to implement? Have you not been reading all that is coming for 2021 and beyond, when Liberty can really start to affect things post-BE contracts? Would you just prefer more knee-jerk reactions ala BE era that only ever kept the top teams advantaged and never solved anything? That Arrivabene is acknowledging what he is, is progress in itself and shows a different mindset that the teams are buying into as Liberty tries their best to shape F1 for a better future.

      1. @robbie to me it feels like they just go for easy wins (which is fair enough) or male changes to meaningless things that make them look busy but lack substance (add a Q4 to quali?).

        The huge issues that take real work and collaboration to fix (like prize money and free-to-air tv) get ignored or pushed to the side.

        1. @robbie The 2021 engine regs are starting to look like an example of something big planned, but ultimately going to be shunned due to the power players not wanting to give up their advantage for the good of the sport.

          1. @Calum @Calum Menzies I disagree completely. Again, you are failing to appreciate that the ‘huge issues’ as you say, take time to work out, especially when there are existing contracts floating around that Liberty has to wait until their end. Also they are taking a deliberate approach to make sure as much as possible that everyone will be on board with their new direction, for a happier and healthier F1 going forward. It’s like you have expected them to just come in and snap their fingers and make everything right. They’ve had 20 months and BE had 40 years. Nothing is getting ignored and pushed to the side. It is the opposite. Everything is being considered and an overall plan is being moulded as we speak. If you yourself call the issues huge, how can you also expect them to change or fix those issues overnight?

            I think with the engine regs what you are failing to appreciate is that Liberty appreciates that the manufacturers have spent a collective amount of billions on the R&D and manufacture of the current pu’s. Liberty is not going to throw that all out and take the knees out from under those who have spent all that money. It is a perfect example of how Liberty would ideally like to make the engines less complex and expensive, but they also have to deal with what they inherited from the BE era, and they have to hear what the manufacturers say too, so that they can all move forward colllectively, all on board with some best workable compromise taking everything into account. The top teams now get that they can’t just do as they please anymore like BE gave them the power to do in the past ten years.

  5. LOL Playstation generation? Gran Turismo? he’s already outdated by 15 years.

  6. Wondering whether this exposes a lack of vision & strategy on Ferrari side. They seem clueless apart from their usual ‘throw money at the problem and we’ll win’.

    For Liberty it would be good to not enter into too much conversation with their contestants, they’ll never come to an agreement anyway. Leadership is needed to bring things forward. And it is not at all difficult. Budget cap, free to air, lowering entramce price tickets, (some) mandatory promotional events for drivers. Cars with more drag and less aero, no drs and more sturdy/be able to take a small hit without parts falling of, no penalty system, reduced steward interference. Prize money distribution completely reset to zero (no more favours, legacy stuff). Contestants wanting to leave? There’s the door.. others will join. But we’ve been saying this for years now…

    1. Jonathan Parkin
      20th October 2018, 10:21

      I wish I could add to that no tarmac run offs or extending kerbs with green bits and no grinding off painted lines on street circuits

  7. Contestants wanting to leave? There’s the door.. others will join

    @mayrton – I too support Liberty taking a tougher line in F1 in the interest of fairness. But I think Liberty have realized that the “others will join” isn’t as easily done as it is said, seeing how no new entrants signed up for the proposed 2021 engine regulations, despite their earlier posing.

    I suspect that part of Liberty’s long game was to get other entries in for 2021, and then start putting in fairer provisions and rules, since they would be better safeguarded against a big name like Ferrari or Mercedes leaving. But with that having failed, we’re set for more years of manufacturers’ hegemony, since F1’s fortunes are tied to those big names.

    1. @phylyp but isn’t the lack of new entries a result of insufficient change to the engine regulations? Like you said, they are doing it the wrong way around. You can’t get them to join before you make changes… there was plenty interest but Liberty managed to discourage those parties by leaning towards the incumbents again. They really seem to (as many Americans imho) lack the ability to think long term and are constantly pushing short term gain. This might lead to a further decline in audience. It bit more balsy approach will benefit them. It’s ok to not do what Ferrari and Mercedes want.

      1. @mayrton – yeah, that’s a fair point. Liberty did put out the call for entries with engine regs that were changed only a little (to avoid annoying the incumbent manufacturers) but not enough to entice others.

        I think there’s a bit of a catch 22 going on here – someone like VAG (VW) might step into F1 if they can start competing meaningfully, but for that to happen, the competitive advantage of the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari have to be eroded. And for that to happen, the regs have to be watered down, which in turn runs the risk of losing one of the existing players.

        I think Liberty have to go all Bernie, to be honest. They need to play off Mercedes against Ferrari. Get a commitment from one of them to stay by hinting that the other plans to quit. The team that remains can dominate at least until VW start challenging :-)

        1. I don’t think Liberty has had enough time to fail at anything at this point. That new makers haven’t jumped on board yet is just today’s reality. Some entities might just be waiting to see what the new F1 will look like, might want to actually see that it is not just more BE days of keeping all the power in the top three or four teams. They may want to actually see a cap out in place and at what level that will be. Liberty so far has had about a minute compared to BE to make massive and necessary changes and they are doing it by trying to get everyone on board with their direction. Their task is not an easy one by any stretch. Liberty is picking up the pieces where BE left F1. Thank goodness Liberty is not a BE wannabe and that they are trying to address all the many aspects of F1 for a better product in the end.

          1. Sensible comments on this thread I think. I think Liberty’s big issue is as has been stated. Change the current rules too quickly and they may lose as much as they gain.

            I still cannot really see Ferrari leaving the sport though. Their whole image is so tied into it.

  8. Wipeout!!! Come on FIA! Make them do it! They already have the logo and tried with the music theme, so just give them the final nudge.

  9. GtisBetter (@)
    20th October 2018, 10:27

    There has been a steady decline in general tv viewership and it won’t go up. TV is slowly losing ground to streaming at your own leisure and when the internet speed, price and data is good enough worldwide, it will drop significantly. This generation watched YouTube and other influencers. If you want to get young people into f1, pay some influencers, pay some streakers playing f1 games and make sure they can see it easily, with a couple of clicks. They don’t want to put effort into it.

    A smart thing to do is to provide a free low resolution stream. That way you can get the people who all already watching it on illegal streams, get new people hooked and get some people to upgrade to the f1 hd stream. If they sort that out.

    1. The illegal streams aren’t low resolution though and they are very stable. There is no way I would switch to a non-illegal stream if it was worse.

  10. Why not allow kids under 12 years of age go to watch the race for free….invite schools to practises…give a select few of kids access to the garages behind the scenes… Allow them to rub shoulders with the drivers…

    1. Nice idea, I definitely like it.

  11. I think it is all down to the rules and regs. Only one team can truly dominate with tires and aero the most important factors. MotoGp is another competitor they have who have come up on F1’s rear mad quick and passed them.

    Bring back 2007 rules and regs. Refueling and engine development. Less about aero packages. Maybe also multiple tire manufacturers.

  12. Well Formula E is going for the “Mario Kart” audience? I think the way F1 is at the moment they’d appeal more to the “board games” crowd. Confusing rules, odd strategies, table – flipping tantrums, cheating, and just making stuff up to suit. Its got more in common with Monopoly than Forza Horizon.

  13. Quality of racing equals amount of viewers. Simple as that. No gimmicks will ever change that if the actual on track action is dull.

  14. chupamelachota racefans
    20th October 2018, 11:52

    i tell you how, remove drs ,halo, V6’s, complex aero and people will come back

  15. PlayStation 4 has shipped 88 million units and Gran Turismo Sport has 5.5 million players. Don’t know why some people are saying he’s Outdated.

  16. 1. Bring back grid girls.

    – A bit of glamour never hurt ratings.

    2. Fixed pit stop windows.

    – It’s difficult for newbies to follow races. You get conversations like:

    “Why is Hamilton fifth? I thought he was winning.”
    “He’s made his pit stop. The others haven’t.”
    “Oh.” *Looks for cat videos on YouTube*

    If everyone had to come in on the same lap, it would make pit action more interesting, and the race easier to follow. There is still scope for some tyre strategy, and extra stops would be allowed where needed, e.g. in the case of a puncture or car damage.

  17. “…focus on why audiences are falling and why it is failing to attract younger viewers.”
    I’m afraid I’ve never understood this comment that is always wheeled out, like a mantra…!
    What F1 needs is NEW viewers – age, sex, skin color, religion etc are all red herrings. We just need NEW viewers.
    But also (which nobody seems to mention) we need to retain existing viewers. F1 has always appealed to all ages… Why only try to encourage young people to take a look…?
    I agree with an earlier comment about allowing children in for free… but why not extend it to free entrance to all full-time students AND pensioners, on Fri/Sat, and half price on Sunday.
    Get people through the gates, get bums on seats, when they can… and get them sat in front of the TV (or whatever) when the travel distance is too great.
    I always blanch when people suggest some driver or other is ‘too old’… but maybe it’s time for ‘Arrivabene’ to say: “Arrivederci…!”

    1. I think you will find that some of the very first things we heard Liberty and Brawn speak on when they took over was they wanted to respect the DNA of F1, the existing audience, keep the traditional historical venues, etc etc. They very much want to retain those of us who have been along for the ride for a long time.

      1. Hi Robbie – I accept your point but… what they want, and what they’re doing to achieve it don’t seem to be getting anywhere…
        They also said they wanted a price-cap, wanted new manufacturers, and so on.
        If the greater effort (90%…?) is on drumming up young newcomers the DNA will change – it already has done, I suspect. Earlier comments mentioned families watching the TV together… but perhaps the practice of families even eating together have changed… ;)

        1. @BlackJackFan I think it just doesn’t appear to be going anywhere because there are existing contracts that have tonsee their way through and because even if there wasn’t, Liberty wants everyone on board with how they proceed, so much discussion and debate is going on right now, which is healthy for the sport in the long run. A price cap has to be blended in, but for even Arrivabene to say it is necessary is a big step for Liberty. New manufacturers? Yeah that hasn’t happened but that might still happen when potential entities see the new F1…see that it isn’t just more BE days of making it impossible for new entrants to succeed do to things like moving the goal posts after they’re in. BE did a lot of damage in the end that Liberty now has to clean up in order to convince new entrants that it is indeed new days.

  18. “You have to do something that is more interesting, most probably.”

    Brilliant new thinking… Not…! He does better when he refuses to give interviews…!

  19. He doesn’t want a budget cap because it will hurt Ferrari. Nothing he said made any sense. He did not clearly define any problem nor did he offer any tangible solution. I believe this tactic is called the Chewbacca defense.

    1. If he had been asked several weeks in advance to give a one hour lecture I’m sure he’d have a lot more to say.

  20. The Ferrari boss believes the sport needs to “analyse the mistakes of the past” and focus on why audiences are falling and why it is failing to attract younger viewers.

    Maybe there are new mistakes of the past where F1 could benefit from doing some analysis, but why do you need to re-analyse the ones everyone knows about, especially the mistake of believing F1 is improved by hiding their races in a country behind a paywall. A paywall is really a fine for watching F1.
    Governments fine people for behaviour they wish to discourage, e.g. speeding on the motorway, speeding on the roads around schools, not paying ones taxes, not paying fines, etc. Some parents fine their children for failure to do certain chores, like taking out the rubbish on rubbish day (usually deducted from their pocket money). Employers fine staff who handle cash for shortages (usually the amount of the shortage). F1 fines viewers for behaviour they too wish to discourage, like watching their own races.
    So … what is so difficult to understand: If you fine people to discourage them from watching your own races then why does the consequential decline in viewers surprise F1? That is exactly the behaviour you want.
    On second thoughts, that is difficult to understand, so let me try again: F1 knows they are better off without an audience, and so F1 has implemented fines to smooth the transition from being popular to where they have an apathetic audience.

  21. I agree that analysis needs to be done but not necessarily analyzing past mistakes. A simple thing to do is have a group of people 18 to 30 years old who know nothing about F1 watch a race and get their opinions. My brother and I did that a few months ago where his daughter’s had friends over and we took control of the TV so we could watch the race. While I found the reactions of the younger viewers interesting, they were sadly predictable. Almost to a person they felt that it didn’t look like the drivers were doing anything difficult and found the race to be boring. As we explained what was taking place etc, one person likened it to watching a chess match where you have to wait to see how the strategies play out. There was a MotoGP race on that same weekend and we watched a bit of it and the kids loved it. Primarily because it looked like the bikes were difficult to control, it looked dangerous, the bikes were in tight groups and they could overtake anywhere on the circuit. Most though still said they wouldn’t go out of their way to watch it and wouldn’t watch another one unless they were once again forced to do so.

  22. Maybe F1 has just run its course. I’ve seen other sports say the exact same thing Arrivabene is saying and I think that there is really no path back from this. They know what they need to do to fix the racing although the racing is much better now than it was at any time I have watched in the last 30 years. They know what they have needed to do for the past 30 years and they won’t do it. I remember Prost in the 80’s talking about more mechanical grip/less aero. He is saying the same thing now. I think they will just keep avoiding the real problems that have too many vested interests to change and they will keep making meaningless changes like grid kids and another qualifying session until F1 resembles Nascar and withers away.

    1. They know what they have needed to do for the past 30 years and they won’t do it.

      You made a very good point. I think the one difference between the past and now is team principals and drivers are talking about it. Since they are talking about it then maybe there is now a willingness to address the problem.

  23. Formula 1 needs more Lewis Hamiltons (Tommy Hilfiger clothing line, Daily Show, extremely active social media accounts, etc) and less Sebastian Vettels (belittles social media, has none); especially at the front of the grid. Liberty seems to be going in the right direction, let’s see if they continue or fall back in to the old F1 ways.

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