Massimo Rivola admits that the rise F1 is experiencing today makes commercial and media results much easier. The Aprilia MotoGP director admits that the situation is slightly different in the motorcycle world championship.
The Italian was once Minardi’s marketing director, then team manager at the Italian team and its next iteration, Toro Rosso. He was then sporting director at Ferrari before joining MotoGP.
“Formula 1 is having a fantastic time if you look at how people are taking it” Rivola said. “I don’t think you can compare the appeal of Formula 1 with MotoGP, it’s something bigger.”
“But the show we put on in MotoGP is much better than F1, so we have to find a way to get more sponsors and attract more people in general. If you look at the numbers of how many people F1 drives you, it’s different.”
“So, with the exception of Mugello, the reception at the tracks wasn’t that bad, but we shouldn’t be satisfied with what we got. I think certain circumstances meant that this race wasn’t really a highlight. viewing conditions.”
Sponsors who just don’t want to show off
Indeed, MotoGP was particularly affected by the departure of Valentino Rossi, who attracted large crowds to the circuits in Italy. But it’s a more complex reality that teams have to face. Indeed, they struggle to attract major sponsors today.
For example, Aprilia does not have a title sponsor. Rivola, whose main business was originally marketing, explains that brands no longer want to put their logo on the bodywork, but often want more involvement on a technical level.
“The coronavirus pandemic certainly didn’t help, and neither did the situation with Russia. In general, companies that invest a lot of money in a project like ours are not only interested in sponsorship.”
“Sponsorship today is different than it was in the past. It used to be ‘here’s a sticker, you put it on the bike and that’s it’. Today it’s more about building a business or negotiating with the Piaggio group. Business.”
“For example, with Castrol, we started with sponsorship, but now it is a technical partner. We work with them on fuel, we develop the product. We need to find such sponsors.”
The “Drive to Survive” effect didn’t happen in MotoGP
Like F1 and its Netflix series ‘Drive to Survive’, MotoGP has teamed up with Amazon Prime Video to launch a season-long behind-the-scenes show. The mini-series called ‘MotoGP Unlimited’ was quite successful.
We got a behind-the-scenes look at the daily lives of several drivers at the Grand Prix, and it all sounded more accurate than its F1 equivalent. However, its non-carriage by Netflix, among other problems, prevented the application of the program itself and attracted a new audience to MotoGP.
“Netflix gave Formula 1 a boost when our docu-series wasn’t aired. It didn’t have the same effect. So I think you have to wonder why on Dorna’s side that’s the case. I’ve seen two docu-series and I’ve made a decision.”
“I wouldn’t say it’s not my thing, I’m ready to talk about it if Dorna thinks about it. I think F1 drivers are more attractive. MotoGP drivers always train, they’re passionate about what they do. In Formula 1 you see more of the lifestyle and maybe it helps young people watch F1.”
Sprints won’t do wonders
But Rivola is not fooled, and he points out that the lack of success also stems from our inability to promote motorcycling and F1 in the same way. Dorna, who owns the commercial rights to MotoGP, needs to find its recipe to make the public want to follow its flagship product.
This year the Sprint concept will come to MotoGP and testing will be held throughout the calendar. The concept will brighten up the day on Saturday, but will offer nothing more than a classic MotoGP race, which by definition is a 40-minute sprint.
“I think we have to find new ideas. Next year, for example, we will have 42 races. It will be intense for the whole team, especially for the drivers. But I am sure that the Sprint races will attract more attention. .”
“I think Friday will also be more interesting, maybe not for the general public, but for the real fans. In MotoGP we offer 40 explosive and spectacular minutes, but not much else.”
“In Formula 1, you do more preparation: the preparation for the event and the event itself, where the strategy factor is taken into account. In MotoGP, that’s not there until we have a flag-to-flag race.”
Radio communication as the key to success?
The latter are rain-affected races that are managed in a more complex manner than classic races. Besides, any MotoGP race is a Sprint, and Rivola isn’t sure it has any real added value.
The Italian also points out that the assembly of Drive to Survive is very dependent on radio communication, which MotoGP does not have – it must be admitted with some dishonesty: “Radio messages are critical to delivering more plays.”
“Although I’m not sure, because I think it’s dangerous for the riders, we have to find a way to introduce it in MotoGP. One possibility could be that only the rider can talk so as not to be disturbed.”
“Maybe something a driver says is very important and people will pay more attention to it. I think we have to look at the business and the show in MotoGP from a different perspective. It’s not about copying what Formula 1 is doing, but I wonder why they are more successful than us. “.