LONDON (Reuters) - Formula One needs to go through a ‘real revolution’ by 2017 with cars making the sort of noise that heavy metal rock fans would appreciate, according to Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene.
The principal, who took over the team in November, told the Ferrari website on Friday that the show needed to be more spectacular to win back fans who had fallen out of love with Formula One.
“By 2017, I 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,” said Arrivabene.
Arrivabene, who has a marketing background and arrived from team sponsor Philip Morris, agreed with former triple champion and Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda that big changes had to be made.
”I don’t think a simple evolution is enough in this case,“ he continued. ”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.”
Arrivabene suggested taking the sport to the people, with Thursday driver news conferences and presentations possibly held in public areas outside the circuit to give more to the host cities.
Some races, such as the German Grand Prix which had just 52,000 through the turnstiles on race day at Hockenheim, had disappointing crowds last year while viewing figures have declined in some countries.
“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,” said Arrivabene.
“It is up to us to provide something better and to download a new format for Formula One as soon as possible.”
Formula One switched to a new, and quieter, V6 turbo hybrid format last season that put more emphasis on fuel economy.
Lauda told Britain’s Autosport magazine the sport needed more powerful cars, with wider tyres, that were harder to drive.
Formula One bosses have been discussing future rules with commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone among those backing a proposal to increase engine power to more than 1,000 brake horsepower in 2017.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Peter Rutherford