Drive to Survive goes “too far” at times but is positive for F1 – Sainz

2022 F1 season

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Carlos Sainz Jnr says Netflix’s Drive to Survive is “good for the sport” despite the show going “too far” in how it portrayed his relationship with Lando Norris.

The fourth series of the Netflix documentary series was launched today. The fly-on-the-wall show recaps some of the major storylines from the 2021 F1 season with behind-the-scenes footage and confessional interviews with drivers and team personnel.

However previous seasons have attracted some criticism from viewers who claim it excessively dramatised and misrepresented some events. This included the relationship between Sainz and former McLaren team mates Lando Norris,which was portrayed as being more combative and abrasive than many fans felt was accurate.

Max Verstappen’s concerns over the show’s portrayal of drivers prompted the world champion to refuse to participate in filming for the Drive to Survive. However Sainz says he sees the positives in the show and believes the producers will react to fans’ criticism for future seasons.

“I think in the case of Lando and I, it was pushed a bit too far,” Sainz said. “Basically all the fans that know Formula 1 – there are a lot, especially now as we are followed so much around the world – realised that Netflix went, probably yes, too far with Lando and me.

“But I do believe Netflix know it and they are capable of correcting and catching mistakes and they will re-adapt and maybe try and make it a bit more realistic, in that sense.

Review: Drive to Survive season four
“I still think even with that, let’s say ‘mistake’ – if you want to call it a mistake – I still believe Netflix is a good thing for the sport, I still believe Netflix is a good thing for myself, for the brand of Formula 1. I will still be featured in it if they want me to be. For the rest, I don’t have a lot more to say. I haven’t watched this years so I have no idea what’s going on in season four.”

Fernando Alonso, who participated in an Amazon Prime documentary series Grand Prix Driver with McLaren in 2017, says he is “not a big fan” of taking part in media commitments that provide access to drivers beyond those that they must attend at the track.

“Until now I had other commitments with Prime Video and Amazon, so I could not do too many things outside of that,” said Alonso.

“I know it’s a good thing for the sport, but we are already extremely busy with our teams, with our sponsors. So it’s not easy to give the time to them. I think we give a lot of access already in the paddock that outside of the circuit, I’m not a big fan.”

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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7 comments on “Drive to Survive goes “too far” at times but is positive for F1 – Sainz”

  1. I share their sentiments in principle.

  2. What is the risk that it becomes food for the trolls?

    I’ve been in situation before where someone that read a race summary somewhere was arguing knowing the situation better than me who watched the whole race. And in these times of quick reactions on social media, this can be double edge as yes it will attract more attention to F1 which is good, but it can also paint some personalities a way they are not and have huge consequences on them. Quite a balancing act for the Netflix team and the only thing we know for sure is they won’t be able to please everyone. Isn’t the best compromise one that nobody likes but everyone accepts?

    1. It’s been food for the trolls since Season 1. That the first time that happened was with the Force India-to-Racing Point takeover in Season 1 is, I suspect, why Aston Martin quietly hasn’t participated in a non-incidental way since Season 2.

  3. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    11th March 2022, 13:47

    Watched Season 4 today and got to say, it’s the worst so far when it comes to mismatching radio’s, quotes and factual information. Cheering from entirely different Grands Prix being added to others, radio-messages from previous seasons being added for increased drama; it’s a total farce for people who watch F1.

    But the cherry on top for me was the quote of Hamilton from previous season ‘I’ve always had a target on my back’, which was a refference to being descriminated, being used in the finale. Framing it like Formula 1 and the FIA wanted him to lose for that exact reason. No surprise seeing the narrative Netflix pushes on their platform, but heck, it’s a disgrace.

    1. I haven’t seen the series yet. Is that an on-camera quote? Because he said the same thing to ESPN in September 2021. I don’t see that as out of context unless it was an actual video from the previous year:

      “Max is not the first person [like that],” Hamilton said. “I’ve always had a target on my back. I’ve always been at the front since I was young. I had No.1 on my car for many years even before I got to Formula One.

  4. “Drive to Survive goes too far” – what he thinks.
    “but is positive for F1” – reminding him to be PC for Liberty Media.

  5. I don’t regard getting more eyeballs on F1 to be positive for F1 if they are here on false pretences. I’ve seen a fair bit of confusion, disillusionment and disappointment come from this approach.

    Showing reality in a camera-friendly way would not only being eyeballs to F1 more ethically, but in some cases might even put F1 in a better light.

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