SportF1How the losses of Ferrari, Mercedes or Verstappen help...

How the losses of Ferrari, Mercedes or Verstappen help DTS

Drive to Survive has bucked the trend of the vast majority of shows by steadily increasing their viewership numbers, rather than declining season after season. The third season , recorded during 2020 with the Covid-19, had more audience than the first and second seasons, setting a benchmark that has been surpassed again by the fourth season, which came out earlier this year.

Given those numbers, it’s no surprise that Netflix has renewed Drive to Survive for not just a fifth season, but a sixth season as well, ensuring the docuseries will remain in its catalog until at least 2024.

However, the debate about the use of creative license in the series has intensified a lot in recent seasons, especially after the world champion, Max Verstappen, cited it as the main reason why he refused to participate. in the series. His absence could be key, given the focus on his battle with Lewis Hamilton for the world title.

But, to the surprise of the great experts, the absence of big names has always been part of the reason why Drive to Survive has been so successful in all its editions.

In the first season, recorded in 2018, Ferrari and Mercedes refused to participate due to the uncertainty they had about the distraction it could represent and the risk of letting the cameras see the inner workings of their team.

Without the two big title contenders, the producers were forced to look elsewhere for more interesting topics, leading them to focus on the figures of Daniel Ricciardo and Gunther Steiner , arguably the two biggest stars of Drive to Survive to date. .

Ferrari and Mercedes changed their minds for season two, but thankfully this hasn’t prompted a shift in focus from Netflix on the weaker teams.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, is interviewed

Drive to Survive showrunner Cassie Bennitt recognized the importance of harnessing these big names at the Business of F1 Forum hosted by the Financial Times and Motorsport Network in Monaco .

“What I think is really cool is that the Formula 1 paddock is that it’s a place of a lot of intrigue, it’s where deals are made, dreams are fulfilled and dreams are also broken,” said Bennitt.

“It’s a place that lends itself to storytelling, and because of that we got these amazing characters. Going back to the first season, we didn’t have access to Ferrari and Mercedes. They didn’t want to be involved, that’s known to everyone.”

“That meant the team had to look elsewhere for plot lines. And I think that helped a lot in shaping the show. We had to look at other teams, Haas is the perfect example of that. Gunther Steiner now has a base The fanbase is amazing. I think even my boyfriend is obsessed with Gunther!”

Steiner has always been baffled by his own popularity since the birth of Drive to Survive, mostly because he admits he hasn’t watched a single second of the show.

In Australia earlier this year, the applause for him was even louder than that received by drivers who have been F1 world champions, clearly reflecting the Drive to Survive buzz .

“We had to focus and give voice to everything that happens in the paddock,” Bennitt said. “There are 20 drivers and 10 teams. A lot of things are happening at the same time, everything is different and it changes year after year.”

“What we try to do is figure out what the story of each season is going to be. We never know too soon, so we try to get to know all the characters and tell their stories.”

“We focus on issues that you relate to as a human being. That’s really our methodology. It’s people with hearts, who are into racing. That’s what we’ll try to show.”

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1

The focus on the characters of F1 is something that Drive to Survive does not want to lose in the future, as they are aware of the great impact when it comes to capturing new audiences that go beyond traditional fans.

But obviously much of the show’s content must hinge on the on-track show, which Bennitt claimed was already gearing up for next season thanks to Red Bull and Ferrari ‘s title fight.

“It’s a new start, with new cars,” said Bennitt. “Who would have thought that Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton would be in this position? Who knows what the stories will be for us this season?”

“I think everyone is really excited about what’s going to happen. Look at last year, we didn’t think we were necessarily going to do Monaco, and it ended up being quite interesting.”

“There is a lot to see in the paddock and also in the teams. I would like to think that as long as we continue to do our job and remain true to the stories that Formula 1 creates, we will continue to do well.”

“We’re working hard. We don’t want to rest on our laurels. Hopefully we can keep working on seasons seven and eight!” he concluded.

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