As Formula 1 continues to debate its future and what changes need or should be made for 2021, we’ve recently been discussing what younger fans like and dislike about the current format.
I’ve been surprised by some of the comments and not so surprised by others. What about the current F1 captures the attention of a younger fan and what changes would they like to see.
Interesting to read Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene’s thoughts on the matter and where he feels F1’s real competition exists.
“Our competitors today, and this is my personal opinion, they are the PlayStations,” said the Ferrari team principal.
“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 equalise 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.”
It’s an interesting thought and I think I understand his point. It’s about finding the products and activities that a younger generation is compelled by and figuring out how to capitalize on those elements. Fair enough.
In what ways, though, could F1 capitalize on a console gaming generation with a physical racing series other than eSports? Are there ways F1 could engage even more through the platform to increase your interest level? Would your console gaming experience, assuming it is steeped with F1 gaming excellence, compel you to buy tickets and travel to races or at the very least watch all the races?
Maurizio seems to share Sean Bratches and Chase Carey’s thoughts about continuing to farm the legacy fan base:
“We need to be honest with ourselves [and ask] ‘How is the level of interest in F1 vs yesterday?'” he said.
“What we need to do is not the budget cap – it is one of the solutions but is not the [only] solution.
“We need to relaunch the sport [and] 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.”
There are F1 fans who like the hybrid power units, DRS, HD tires and technology the series currently possesses and there are many who don’t. The question I have is how many of the younger fans, who like the tech and EV element of the series, simply watch Formula E instead of F1? We often read about attention spans and if they are investing their time in EV racing, do they have time and attention to dedicate to F1 as a hybrid series only? Is that appealing to them? Would a console experience beyond Codemasters F1 game be a bigger draw to F1 for you?
I’ll be honest with you, F1 is, in my opinion, only scratching the surface of what it could do from a marketing standpoint with Will Buxton and Jason Swales producing content. The level of F1-branded content for console platforms and gaming experiences could be seriously ramped up but it takes millions and the sport’s current business model will find that kind of expense difficult to swallow as it takes away from the prize money. Teams may feel that’s on liberty to absorb if they want to grow the series.
How do you see F1 translating a gaming eSports experience to the track? Getting bums in seats? Or is it a case that eSports and Formula E are actually two very different things and may simply become bigger than F1 and it’s physical racing at iconic tracks around the world?
I tend to think that F1 will need to get profitable at whatever level they are selling at. If they go from 500 million viewers per season to 250 million, then they’ll need to make adjustments. Spending money trying to attach your brand to diverse elements younger generation potential fans are in to may or may not work.
For me, It would be surprised if it has changed much, it is all about the stories, politics, regulations, technology, speed, sound, tracks and racing. The history of the sport is a major pull for me and once I got in to the sport, I was hooked on it’s legacy and on-track action coupled with the stories behind the victory and defeat.
For me, it is building each year on a book of experiences through the decades and not a short-term time suck. I am all about the long form but many folks are not. They like to be entertained and move on. What do you think? Where do you think they should take this sport to appeal to you as a younger fan or retain you as a legacy fan?
Hat Tip: Autosport