‘We’ll find a way’: F1 CEO will try to persuade Verstappen to feature in season 5 of Drive to Survive

Max Verstappen refused to participate in season four of Drive to Survive after criticising Netflix for manufacturing drama.

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali would like to open a dialogue with reigning world champion Max Verstappen about Netflix’s Drive to Survive docuseries, admitting there are things that need to be “redefined.”

Drive to Survive first graced our screens in 2019 when it covered the 2018 season from the perspective of eight of the ten teams, before Mercedes and Ferrari agreed to take part the following year.

Having participated in the first three seasons of the show, Verstappen confirmed last year that he would not be giving any interviews for the fourth season due to their manipulation of storylines to make for a more dramatic show.

READ: FIA reveal Sainz’s Ferrari underwent ‘extensive physical inspection’ after 2022 Bahrain GP

Domenicali affirms that the point of the docuseries is to display F1 from a dramatic perspective in the hope of engaging a wider demographic, but he concedes that there may need to be a compromise.

“It is to be understood that the dramatisation is part of the path to ignite interest, but in this sense there are themes that need to be redefined,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport.

The Italian would like to discuss Verstappen’s views with him, and establish how he would like to be portrayed in the show.

“If a driver refuses to participate because he does not agree with how he is seen in the series, we will talk about it constructively,” he added.

“Tell us how you want to be seen, because we’ll find a way.”

Article continues below

McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo has previously testified that the docuseries does a splendid job of capturing the emotions of the teams and drivers that we do not usually get to observe on TV.

“You rarely see emotion. You’re sitting in these rocket ships and we’re wearing these helmets so for the most part you only see us wearing a helmet,” he told Ariel Helwani.

“So you don’t really see much emotion. So getting back behind the scenes already is going to do wonders.”

It is for this reason that the former Ferrari boss sees the value in keeping Netflix around, as well as the fact that attracting an American audience is a major advancement for the pinnacle of motorsport.

“Netflix managers are already meeting with the teams, but we are on the topic of culture and language. If you want to be in touch with the US market, you have to speak that language – we need to adjust,” he explained.

“But that does not mean upsetting us, of course.”

As F1 begins to reach out to more areas of the world, returns to Vegas, South America are all being discussed, and Domenicali has revealed that some circuits may be forced to disappear from the calendar were these eventualities to transpire.

READ: Drive to Survive: Is it time for Formula 1 to kick Netflix out?

Among the races at risk are Spa and Monaco, neither of which have a contract that extends to 2023, as the pinnacle of motorsport ponders major changes to the racing calendar which could eventually expand to 30 races.

The absence of the Russian Grand Prix in 2023, which was set to be held in St Petersburg but has now been cancelled following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, facilitates a renewed hope that the Belgian Grand Prix could remain on the calendar next season.