As criticism of Netflix’s Drive to Survive mounts, McLaren CEO Zak Brown says drivers need to understand it helps pay their salaries.
But he conceded that Formula 1 needs to “tighten up” the over-dramatization.
Several drivers have expressed their displeasure with the documentaries and how they use snippets to create the storyline that best serves them.
Max Verstappen was very vocal in his criticism, the Red Bull driver refused to take part in filming the fourth series in which he beat Lewis Hamilton to the world title.
However, Brown says drivers – and everyone else in F1 – need to think outside the box.
“I think Netflix has been outstanding for Formula 1,” said the McLaren CEO. “I’m glad we extended for a few more years.
“Our entire ecosystem starts with the fan and when you get the fan you have countries that want to host races, you have broadcasters that want to spend money and want to broadcast our event, which then all trickles down to the racing teams, which then make it possible us to pay all salaries to the men and women who work on our racing teams, including drivers.
Max Verstappen: Netflix made Norris look like an ad**k
“I know Lando… He’s a fun guy, a great guy, he’s got a great character and when you watch this episode you’re like, ‘Who is this guy, what’s up?'” https://t.co/ SnkBTXRlus #F1 pic.twitter.com/4LIxHCq0cd
— PlanetF1 (@Planet_F1) March 27, 2022
“And I think sometimes there’s a disconnect from different people in the sport and I don’t just say drivers that are kind of a mismatch and if they say I don’t want to race here then I don’t want to do this or I do don’t want to get into that the ecosystem ultimately depends on all of us who make a living from this great sport.
“So I think we have to stay fan-centric and acknowledge what Netflix has done for our sport.”
But he added: “I think maybe we can streamline the way they show the content made for TV a bit, so expect them to be dramatized a bit as long as they keep the theme accurate, and I do think we gave them that feedback.”
Alpine’s Laurent Rossi quite simply summed up the concerns expressed by several riders.
“Obviously we have to be careful about the editing license that you can take when you get images, footage and recordings,” he said, adding, “So far so good – but I think that’s good for the indeed.” Sports.”
As for Toto Wolff, the head of Mercedes motorsport agrees with the arguments of his two colleagues.
“I think the DNA of the sport is at its core,” said the Austrian. “We have credibility and we’ve built an ecosystem around it, and what’s interesting is that with this fix, there’s a focus on the personalities that might not have been in the spotlight as much before.
“Of course Lewis [Hamilton] and the top guys out there, but people have become interested in the people who are competing in this sport and so you can relate to them.
“And I think the stories in the first few episodes about the drivers that weren’t that well known got a lot of people hooked and interestingly that made them want to watch the Grand Prix because they could relate to the personality – they knew who Esteban Ocon was and what his background was.
“So I’m like, how does reality TV work? This is our own little reality show, centered around the core DNA of sport. And that’s motorsport and you shouldn’t water it down.”