23 January 2015
Ferrari boss calls for F1 ‘revolution’ to win back fans
Maurizio Arrivabene supports Niki Lauda's call for a 'revolution' in F1, believing the 'risk' of losing fans in its current state has in fact already happened.
Ferrari F1 team principal Maurizio Arrivabene has called on Formula 1 to enact a 'revolutionary ' change to its image and format if it is to win over its audience, claiming the sport has already lost a significant number of fans.
Ahead of his first season at the helm of the Scuderia, Arrivabene was speaking in reaction to comments made by Niki Lauda, who believes a technical revolution is necessary for the sport to improve its show and retain its fan base.
However, Arrivabene painted a bleaker picture of F1 today, claiming that the 'risk' of losing fans has actually already happened and that changes need to be implemented now, from taking the sport directly to its audience, to making the cars faster and louder.
“I've read what our friend Niki has to say: he's top of the class, whereas I'm sitting about four desks further back. I share Niki's view that Formula 1 needs to be more spectacular and I believe that the risk he evokes of the sport losing fans is something that has unfortunately already happened.
“By 2017, I too would like to see cars that win over the fans, with cars that they can get closer to and that are aesthetically more appealing, maybe even producing a noise that gets your hair standing on end, like that produced by a heavy metal band. That was what it was like back in the day when Niki was racing and I was an enthusiastic fan, clutching my general admission ticket.
“However, I don't think a simple evolution is enough in this case. Instead, a real revolution is called for, with significant and radical changes. By that I mean more power, higher speeds, not necessarily involving the use of more fuel, but definitely applying a cost reduction to those components that are of little interest to the general public.”
Indeed, Arrivabene believes a change to the format of the weekend should be considered, such as locating the Thursday press conference into a public area, and increasing the entertainment aspect.
“Being closer to the people actually involves taking F1 to the people, possibly holding the Thursday driver press conferences and team presentations of a Grand Prix weekend, outside the circuit in a public area. That way, the cities that host the races could provide the arena for a presentation of the drivers and cars, in a properly managed event”.
“I have long felt that the real competition to F1 today, in the sense of it being a show, comes from a variety of forms of entertainment, not least from the internet, including racing video games. It is up to us to provide something better and to download a new format for Formula 1 as soon as possible.
“How likely are we to do it? I know it wouldn't be the usual way of going about things, but a global survey on the internet and via the TV companies would give us a real idea of what people want. In fact, even in this area of sport as entertainment, we should follow the trend of demand driving what's on offer.”
Ferrari, which will launch its 2015 F1 challenger online on January 30th, will compete with four-time champion Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen.
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