Netflix’s “Drive to Survive” documentary series has elevated Formula 1 drivers and officials to global super-stardom, bringing in a whole new demographic of fans. Yet Max Verstappen isn’t its biggest fan.
“I know how important Netflix is to try and attract new fans, but it’s important really to see the reality of the sport,” Oracle Red Bull Racing’s Verstappen said Thursday in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s Surveillance. “I like things to be portrayed like they actually are, not with a lot of, say, spice to it. Every year I have an interview and I do explain my side of the story and I think that’s important.”
The Netflix Inc. show is at the root of surging interest in F1 in the US. After its 2019 premiere, Drive to Survive has boosted its audience 65% to almost 475,000 viewers, according to Nielsen. That appeal has translated to the races themselves, with audiences jumping 28% in a year to an average of 1.21 million in 2022.
Formula 1 is adding more races in the US, including a street circuit in Miami last year and a nighttime contest in downtown Las Vegas in November. Verstappen, 25, said he enjoys racing in new cities, but hopes it doesn’t come at the expense of more traditional race tracks, such as Monza, the Italian track that will host this Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix.
“It would be very boring if they were all the same. I am very aware that we shouldn’t go to all of the commercial places, but I think also Las Vegas gives you a unique opportunity,” Verstappen said.
“From my side, I like the pure race tracks,” Verstappen added. “I think an F1 car really comes alive on the proper race tracks like Monza, like Spa, like Silverstone, so for sure we need to keep these kind of tracks on the calendar.”
Verstappen has dominated Formula One this season, winning the past nine races to tie the circuit’s record. A 10th straight victory this weekend would give him the mark on his own.
“It’s something that I never even thought about, that isn’t even possible, right?” Verstappen said. “But now we’ve won nine in a row, you want more.”