Netflix’s F1 series Drive to Survive has certainly done wonders for the sport in terms of growing the audience worldwide.
The series has created narratives over recent years, and has captured outbursts from both drivers and team principals not usually seen on TV.
It’s rumoured that the biggest outburst yet will be seen on the next series, after Toto Wolff is believed to have been recorded by Netflix during a dramatic outburst at the recent Canadian Grand Prix.
With Netflix present at the recent GP, they filmed meetings between the team principals that aren’t seen during regular GP coverage.
Wolff is reported to have become angry during a team principal meeting in Canada, over the ongoing porpoising issue.
The discussion is said to have been very heated, over the recent FIA technical directive which has seen the rules changed mid-season to hopefully stop teams bouncing issues.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is known to have been unhappy with the meeting, after believing it had an “element of theatre” about it.
Horner has accused Wolff of acting up in front of the cameras on purpose, to create a scene.
Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer believes the complete opposite, he thinks the cameras being in the meetings are actually great for the sport.
“Should Netflix be in there, or shouldn’t they be in there?” Szafnauer said to the media.
“I remember watching the [Ayrton] Senna movie and, all those years ago, they had cameras in those types of meetings.
“So is it good for the fans? Does it help all of us if they understand some of that stuff? Maybe. Does it create drama that otherwise wouldn’t be there?
“I don’t know. It’s hard to tell, because it’s not a controlled experiment. We’ve got to have the same meeting without them there, so I don’t know.”
Szafnauer joked with reporters that with Netflix being in the meetings, it made him want to speak even less than usual.
“It certainly added to my reticence not to say anything!” Szafnauer joked.
Netflix recording the usually private meetings is something that has divided the bosses, Szafnauer though see’s the positives to it, especially with it playing a role in the ever-increasing popularity of both the sport and the series.
“I think [with] that kind of stuff, if the fans see it, and understand it, it just creates a bit more attraction to our sport. I think that’s good,” he added.
The series usually comes out a couple of weeks before the new season, acting as almost an in-depth season review of the previous year.
Some fans have asked for the series to instead come out during the campaign, however, the Alpine boss thinks it doesn’t particularly matter that it’s released three months after the recorded season has finished.
“Even then, it’s better [than] not seeing it at all,” he explained.
“It is a backwards look, Netflix. But [with] the people that I’ve talked to, for example, I met a lady on the flight from Chicago and one from Michigan, and both of them said, ‘We are COVID Formula 1 fans’.
“I said, ‘What do you mean by that?’ They said, ‘Well, during COVID, only Formula 1 was on TV. We watched all the Formula 1 races, and thereafter watched Netflix, and now we have an understanding’.
“And, lo and behold, they’re traveling from Detroit and Chicago to come here to their first races. One of them went to Miami as well, so second race.
“But if it helps attract those people – because I think we’ve got a great sport, it was just a well-kept secret before – and if you expose more people to it, it’s better for all of us,” Szafnauer concluded.