Arrivabene says F1 is under threat - from PlayStations!

ยฉWRI

Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene has suggested that the biggest threat to Formula 1 in the future could come from video games.

He said that racing fans are finding virtual racing on the PlayStation and Xbox more fun and entertaining than watching the real thing on television or at the track.

F1 is already trying to reach onto that youth-dominated market by supporting a new top-level eSport championship, in which nine of the current Formula 1 teams are fielding the cream of the virtual driver crop.

Ferrari is the exception. While Arrivabene is very aware of the threat that computer games represent, he feels that the FIA is not looking in the right direction when it comes to gaming in order to learn the necessary lessons.

"Our competitors today - and this is my personal opinion - they are the PlayStations," he told Motorsport Week. "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 or trying to equalise everything.

"Is the PlayStation our competitor? In my opinion yes," he said. "What do you have to do to beat the PlayStations? You have to do something that is more interesting, most probably."

โ€œItโ€™s not a detailed answer to the question," he admitted. "But we need to direct our attention to the entertainment industry. And today what they offer is bigger than many many years ago."

Motorsport is hardly alone is coming under threat from the growth of the computer video gaming industry. But Arrivabene was worried that motor racing championships like F1 are suffering a disproportionate drop in popularity.

"We need to be honest with ourselves," he said. "How is the level of interest in F1 versus yesterday?

"You need to ask why other sports - and let me underline football, they still have big numbers even if they sometimes face crisis - versus us."

He said that football showed that budget caps were not the answer in F1.

"How can you tell Real Madrid 'I'm sorry, if you play with the small team, don't play with your best team, play with your middle-sized team'," he asked. "Come on, it's ridiculous.

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Arrivabene has been linked with a possible role at the Italian soccer club Juventus in the future, should he decide to leave Maranello at the end of the current season.

But for now his attention is focused on the future of Formula 1, and how new regulations being introduced over the next few seasons can help shore up the sport's fan base against outside threats such as PlayStations.

"To increase the interest in the sport, we need to analyse the mistakes of the past, to look forward for solutions in the future.

โ€œIf 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."

โ€œWe 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.โ€

"We need to go back and to re-launch the sport," he insisted. "You have to find a solution."

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