Drive to Survive boss dismisses Wolff’s complaints

Jamie Woodhouse
Mercedes' Toto Wolff wearing glasses.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff wearing glasses. Spain, February 2022.

Drive to Survive chiefs have denied Mercedes boss Toto Wolff’s recent claim that the series puts an entertainment “spin” on true events.

Netflix’s Drive to Survive documentary, which takes a behind-the-scenes look at a Formula 1 season, has proven to be a huge success for the sport, the show in particular credited for boosting F1’s popularity in the United States.

The fourth series of Drive to Survive is now available to watch, but some personnel within the Formula 1 paddock are not huge fans of the show.

Wolff recently told the Irish Independent that he hated watching Drive to Survive, saying that the show will “create a spin to the narrative” and “put scenes together that didn’t happen”.

However, Paul Martin, an executive producer of Drive to Survive, does not agree with that assessment.

“Over the four series, Drive to Survive hasn’t over-editorialised anything,” he told BBC Sport.

Max Verstappen standing on his Red Bull, no1. Abu Dhabi December 2021

It could be argued that the new series will not need to be over-sold, such was the high level of drama present throughout the 2021 campaign.

However, the 2021 season did end on a controversial note, with some believing that the conclusion to the title battle in Abu Dhabi came about for entertainment purposes, rather than putting the sporting side of Formula 1 first.

But as for any suggestion that Netflix was factored into the decision making from Race Control, executive producer James Gay-Rees dismissed that as a “total red herring”.

“It’s just people under enormous pressure making decisions in the moment,” he added.

“There’s no way anybody was thinking: ‘Will this play well on Netflix?'”

2021 World Champion Max Verstappen recently reaffirmed his stance to refrain from giving interviews for the series, having stopped doing so due to the belief that the show creates “fake rivalries”.

However, Gay-Rees does not believe that anybody could pick out a clear misrepresentation in Drive to Survive.

“It’s a headline that everybody’s jumped on, but I think it’s a very subtle thing,” he said.

“Nobody could point to any misrepresentations or inaccuracies in the series.”


As for the aftermath of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the controversy rumbling on well into the off-season, Gay-Rees said that the latest series will not contribute to that through its footage.

“The aftermath doesn’t figure in the series – that’s above and beyond our remit,” he confirmed.

“We’re not there to form opinion. We’re there to tell an authentic version of what went down and how that race ended.”


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