Leading Formula 1 drivers have defended the popular Netflix “Drive to Survive” fly-on-the-wall series after Max Verstappen said he was snubbing it because he felt some of the rivalries were “faked” in the series.
The docu-series, now filming its fourth season, has been credited as a big factor in fuelling the sport’s growth in the United States.
Red Bull’s championship leader Dutch 24-year-old Verstappen earlier told the Associated Press that he recognised the importance of the series but did not like being a part of it and would not be giving any interviews.
Mercedes’ seven-times F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton, Verstappen’s title rival, told reporters at the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, that he had noticed a surge in interest in the country: “In this last couple of years it’s been the steepest rise and more and more people are talking about it, more and more people engaging.”
Verstappen’s Mexican teammate Sergio Perez, a two-times race winner who featured heavily in last season’s Drive to Survive, said he respected what the documentary was doing: “What it has done for Formula One is tremendous. It´s really something I appreciate.
“The way they sell the sport is a bit of a drama. It is a show but at the end of the day it is good for the sport and is good for the fans so I am happy with it.”
McLaren’s Lando Norris voted the second-most popular driver after Verstappen in a fan survey published on Thursday, also appreciated the show: “I’m fine with it, I think it’s a cool thing. Coming to America there are so many people who are now into Formula 1 just because of watching ‘Drive to Survive.’ I think I come across on it alright.
“I think they do a good job. I can’t really speak on behalf of Max,” added Norris.
His Australian teammate Daniel Ricciardo agreed: “Most of us experience the effect it’s had on the sport. There’s certainly been a lot of growth and I honestly see that most in America.
“There are times where you want a little bit of space or privacy but I do think if you let them know no cameras in this room they are pretty good with that” added the McLaren driver of the Drive to Survive Netflix series. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin)