Photo: Ferrari

Ferrari Defend Actions Towards Media

By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief

Ferrari defended itself in how they have been more accessible for the media, something Liberty Media wants Formula 1 to be more engaged in moving forward.

The Italian squad came under fire when they elected to have Kimi Raikkonen not speak to the press Thursday, but instead post a video to Twitter, while Sebastian Vettel spoke to the press.

Maurizio Arrivabene, team principal at Scuderia Ferrari, discussed the actions on Friday and believes that they are doing their part to make it better for the fans.

“Define media. What do you mean by media?” Arrivabene asked. “Today, defining media is quite large in terms of communication media. It’s also social media. It’s not only what we are thinking about. Yesterday we had Sebastian who was talking (to the press) and we were using social media and posting something related to Kimi.

“Liberty also said that in this business at the moment the digital platforms are used at only 1% of the potential. So, the good thing is to find the right balance. Instead of having two drivers on Thursday and talking and doing a copy and paste of one versus the other with the same questions we made sure that Sebastian was talking in one way and Kimi in the other.

“So we cover all the communication platform. Making happy also Generation Z.”

Ferrari have been in a somewhat ‘standoff mode’ this season, with limited media coming at the SF70H car launch, as well as during preseason testing.

Other team bosses believe the changes brought on to open up the teams to the media, has been taken in a positive way.

I think the changes that have been put in place this year have been positive,” said Christian Horner, team principal at Red Bull Racing.

“I think that relaxing the rules regarding the digital platforms, allowing content to be generated… non-circuit content giving the ability for fans and followers to get a little bit beneath the covers and closer to seeing the personalities of the drivers in the build-up to a grand prix or pre-season is certainly positive.

“It’s a media business at the end of the day. Formula One is a media business. We have to engage with the media. It’s important that we give access to the drivers, access to the fans or how else are we going to promote the sport.”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff also shared his thoughts on the matter, understanding Arrivabene’s point of view while adding his own.

“I think like Maurizio said, we have to cover three different generations,” said Wolff.

“We have to cover the long-time followers, so-called middle ages, the Millennials and Generation Z. You kind of need to play the full span.

“For example, when we launched the car we put some time into the car launch, which is a risk on the engineering side, you’re compromising your time, and we did a Facebook Live launch, 360, and we had almost a million views in 24 hours and it was successful.

“We have to embrace all that, not forget any audiences within these groups but target all of them and Liberty’s approach has been right so far, in opening up.”

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Joey Barnes is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Motorsports Tribune, and has been on the racing scene since 2012. He has published works in AutoWeek Magazine, as well as IndyCar.com and Motorsport.com, among others. A background that includes semi-professional football and work at a nearby racing school, he has brought that same focus and intensity to the motorsports media world. Additionally, Joey is a fan of the San Francisco 49ers, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, New York Rangers, and can also hold his own on a bowling lane.