Netflix’s Drive to Survive is a captivating reality series that follows the Formula 1 grid throughout the season. The drama that unfolds within the show has converted many into Formula 1 fans and is a big reason why the series is gaining in popularity in the United States.
Drive to Survive is also a reality show and certain liberties are made in order to spice up the drama and keep people interested. That is why Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen announced that he isn’t taking part in the show anymore.
Before the United States Grand Prix weekend, Verstappen explained to Associated Press reporter Jenna Fryer why he isn’t participating.
“I understand that it needs to be done to boost the popularity in America,” Verstappen told The Associated Press ahead of Sunday’s race. “But from my side as a driver, I don’t like being part of it.”
Verstappen said when he participated in interviews in earlier seasons of the show, the quotes were later applied to situations he was not discussing and “they would fake a lot of stuff.”
“They faked a few rivalries which they don’t really exist,” he said. “So I decided to not be a part of it and did not give any more interviews after that because then there is nothing you can show. I am not really a dramatic show kind of person, I just want facts and real things to happen.”
So are Verstappen and Hamilton even rivals at all?
“Probably in the Netflix show we will be,” he said. “We one time bumped into each other walking, so probably that will be in there.”
Verstappen is talking about his World Championship rival Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton, the seven-time World Champion, isn’t a rival in the sense that they hate each other but they are the only two contenders for the title and they have had the occasional skirmish.
At this year’s British Grand Prix, the two got together in the fast Copse corner and sent Verstappen into the tire barrier at a high rate of speed. Hamilton received a 10 second penalty during the race but was able to win in spite of the penalty.
Then in September, at the Italian Grand Prix, both drivers collided as Hamilton exited the pit. The ensuing contact lifted Verstappen’s car on top of Hamilton’s and the driver halo prevented Max’s car from landing on Lewis’ head. Verstappen was given a three-place grid penalty for the next race. Obviously, that is going to be a talking point on one or more episodes of the upcoming season.
Verstappen isn’t the first person to accuse a reality show of being “fake” and he won’t be the last. Despite it being “reality,” there are some creative liberties taken when it comes to a lot of these shows.
Given how I assume other drivers aren’t thrilled with a camera crew following them all around the track, it remains to be seen if others follow Verstappen’s lead and declines to participate in Drive to Survive. If that happens, one must wonder what happens to the series itself.