F1 teams can use one ‘get out of jail card’ with Netflix’s Drive to Survive

Jamie Woodhouse
Christian Horner conducts an interview. Bahrain March 2022

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, wearing sunglasses, conducts an interview. Bahrain March 2022

Whenever Red Bull boss Christian Horner has called someone ‘a see you next Tuesday’ on Netflix footage, he revealed that there is one way all teams can spare themselves from such embarrassing moments making the Drive to Survive cut.

Netflix’s fly-on-the-wall docuseries, which first aired back in 2019, carries the purpose of taking viewers into a deeper behind-the-scenes look at the world of Formula 1, beyond what the traditional cameras of an F1 race weekend capture.

As it turns out, Horner says there are so many cameras around Formula 1 that it becomes impossible to pick out which ones belong to Netflix, and that combined with sporting a microphone throughout the day leads to plenty of interesting captures in the heat of battle.

Still, should anyone wish to duck the awkward moment of being shown using some rather colourful language in the direction of another, then they best hope that their car was in view at the time the comment was made.

“What you’ve got to remember is that it is a TV show and so they capture hours and hours of content,” said Horner when asked by the Financial Times how accurate Drive to Survive’s portrayal of F1 is.

“And the problem is they put a microphone on you at the beginning of the day and the cameras are embedded with the team, there’s so many cameras around Formula 1 you don’t know which one [is] Netflix and you forget that they’re there.

“And then you get to the end of the season at the end of the year and they tend to send you through the clips of just you, just your team, and they don’t show you that in context to the others, and then you think ‘really, did I really say that? Did I really call someone a see you next Tuesday?’.

“And it’s at that point you say ‘you can’t put that in, I mean there’s part of the car in there!’ And that’s the only get out of jail card that we’ve got is that there’s some technical IP that we don’t want them to see. Walk around with the front wing and you know you’re okay!”

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Some drivers, including Red Bull’s two-time World Champion Max Verstappen, have taken issue with Drive to Survive’s authenticity at times, Verstappen having at one stage boycotted the series.

Horner says that since this is a TV show after all, the stars of F1 will, from time to time, be portrayed as the good or bad guy, or both, though he feels the positive impact which the show has had on Formula 1 is undeniable.

“Of course they’re making a TV show, so they’ll create a narrative,” said Horner, “they’ll portray you sometimes you’re the baddie, sometimes you’re the hero, sometimes you’re both in one episode.

“But the effect that it’s had on the sport has just been insane. I mean, it’s been an absolute game-changer for Formula 1 in bringing in an entirely new audience to watching Formula 1 racing.”

Red Bull meanwhile have built something of game-changer with their RB19 challenger, having collected every race win on offer so far in F1 2023, featuring four one-two finishes out of five grands prix.

Verstappen leads the way at the top of the Drivers’ Championship, in pursuit of a third World Championship in a row. His buffer over team-mate Sergio Perez stands at 14 points heading into the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.