Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene says that Formula 1 is facing competition from Esports for the attention of racing fans.
Formula 1 is planning to change the technical regulations in 2021 in a bid to shake up the grid and open up more competition between the teams, compare to three ‘big teams’ fighting for podiums, wins and championships.
Changes include introducing a budget cap and a shakeup of the cars to allow smaller teams to compete with the likes of Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and Ferrari.
The recent interest of Esports has surged over the last decade, with F1 introducing its own series in 2017. This year saw the second series allow teams to enter the championship, in which all but Ferrari enter. The second live event of the 2018 F1 New Balance ESports Pro Series will take place on the 31st October.
Arrivabene told Motorsport.com, suggesting that it would be wrong of the sport to focus solely on its product and consider other factors like the rise of Esports’ popularity.
“Our competitors today, and this is my personal opinion, they are the PlayStations,” said Arrivabene.
“Most probably we need to switch our mind and focus attention on our competitors. Today we have a broad offer of entertainment and we need to look at everything, not only certain sports or trying to equalize everything.
“Is the PlayStation our competitor? In my opinion, yes. What do you have to do to beat the PlayStations? You have to do something that is more interesting, most probably. Today the offer is bigger than many years ago.”
Ferrari were against Liberty Media‘s plan of introducing new changes at the end of 2017, the Italian manufacturer giants threatening to quit from the sport. Since then, their threat has been quiet as they have grown an interest in an idea of a budget cap, but are still wary of how the cap will be introduced into the sport.
The Ferrari team boss feels that a budget cap is valid but increasing interest in the sport goes beyond that.
“We need to be honest with ourselves ‘How is the level of interest in F1 vs yesterday?” Arrivabene commented.
“What we need to do is not the budget cap – it is one of the solutions but is not the solution. We need to relaunch the sport relaunching the sport, it is kind of a complicated and complex equation.
“If at a certain point the audience is becoming older, older, older and you work to maintain what you have and your attention is less focused on acquiring the younger generation, that means you have a problem. And you have to find a solution.”