Motor racing-Verstappen accuses Netflix show ‘Drive to Survive’ of fabrication

Saudi Arabia Grand Prix
FILE PHOTO: Formula One F1 - Saudi Arabia Grand Prix - Jeddah Corniche Circuit, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia - March 25, 2022 Red Bull's Max Verstappen during practice REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

March 25, 2022

By Abhishek Takle

JEDDAH (Reuters) – Formula One world champion Max Verstappen on Friday slammed Netflix docu-series ‘Drive to Survive’, accusing the show of an inaccurate portrayal of the sport’s protagonists, including McLaren’s Lando Norris. 

The Dutchman has been vocal in his criticism of the show and did not take part in its fourth season, which premiered earlier this month and in large part covers his controversial and heated title battle with Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton.

“It’s just not my thing,” Verstappen told reporters at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Friday.

“Then of course throughout the whole season they try to pick moments and fabricate it in a way and for me personally what I didn’t like, and it’s not even about me, it was about Lando and (McLaren team mate) Daniel (Ricciardo).

“(They) made it look like Lando was a bit of a dick, which he isn’t at all.

“When you’re new to the sport and you have never seen a racing car or a Formula One car in general, they don’t like him. Why should that be? Because he is a great guy. You just immediately get a wrong picture of a person.”

Reuters has contacted Netflix for comment.

‘Drive to Survive’ has played a key role in drawing new, younger fans to the sport and has boosted F1’s popularity in the previously hard-to-crack American market.

But it has drawn criticism for manufacturing rivalries between drivers and placing conversations and radio comments out of context. 

Verstappen’s comments referred to an episode from the show’s fourth season in which Norris says he doesn’t feel sympathy for his well-liked Australian team mate’s struggles with McLaren’s car.

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali told selected media that he plans to talk to Netflix about keeping their narrative rooted in reality and would also open a dialogue with drivers, reported Motorsport.com.

Verstappen said he was happy to talk to the Italian but his stance was unlikely to change.

“I’m someone when you ruin it from the start, you don’t fix it,” said the Red Bull driver.

“That’s it, you ruined it.”

(Reporting by Abhishek Takle; editing by Toby Davis)