Formula 1 plans to speak with Netflix to ensure that future Drive to Survive series don’t overdramatize the sport to the point where drivers don’t want to participate.
For the last four years, the Netflix series Formula 1: Drive to Survive has played a huge rule in turning eyes to Formula 1 that otherwise may not have had any interest in the sport.
The fanbase has seen such rapid growth following the debut of this series that it has led to other racing series exploring the possibility of doing something similar.
However, one topic of criticism, specifically among those already following the sport prior to the series’ debut in March 2019, is that it overdramatizes what really goes on in the sport. Many believe that it has reached the point of simply making things up, due to some of the rivalries — and even personalities — that were faked throughout.
That criticism hasn’t been limited to long-term Formula 1 fans either.
One driver who had been outspoken about this issue was Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. The reigning world champion made clear that he would not take part in the fourth season, and he is adamant that he will not change his stance or end his boycott moving forward. Recent comments back that up.
Last year, following the launch of the third season of the series, Verstappen, who claimed that the series was ruined after its first season, stated the following during an interview with the Associated Press.
“They faked a few rivalries which they don’t really exist. So, I decided to not be a part of it and did not give any more interviews after that because then there is nothing you can show. I am not really a dramatic show kind of person, I just want facts and real things to happen.”
As you can probably imagine, Verstappen received plenty of backlash for his decision. While much of it was generated by the media, many fans claimed that he should take part in it to give the fans what they want. Some even claimed that his choice was an indication of immaturity and that he doesn’t truly care about the fanbase.
But he never changed his stance for the purpose of appeasing anybody, and now that position appears to have paid off.
With growing concerns over the overdramatization of the series and the idea that multiple drivers — not just Verstappen — may not want to take part in the future for that reason, Formula 1 announced that they are planning to speak with Netflix to ensure that future Drive to Survive series don’t continue down this path.
While Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali stated that “a driver who refuses to participate because he feels he is not being represented in the right way is not being constructive”, the very fact that this issue is now being addressed is an indication that Verstappen’s boycott was indeed constructive and could lead to even more constructive dialogue moving forward.
Domenicali admitted this.
“A dialogue is needed to understand how he can be included in a format that he feels is correct. We will also talk to Netflix, because it is necessary that the story does not move away from reality, otherwise it no longer fits.”
So lo and behold, Verstappen’s concerns were completely legitimate and have now been formally vindicated.
You might just say that he was two tenths quicker.