F1 CEO to ‘talk’ to drivers over Netflix boycott

(GMM) Stefano Domenicali has vowed to “talk” to drivers threatening to snub Formula 1’s official Netflix series Drive to Survive.

A growing number of drivers is siding with world champion Max Verstappen in sounding reluctant to play any ongoing role in the supposed annual documentary, arguing that producers are creating false narratives with clever editing.

Sergio Perez is the latest to refuse to be Drive to Survive.  Talk about cutting off one’s nose to spite their face. Photo courtesy of Red Bull F1 Team

F1 CEO Domenicali, however, hailed the role Netflix has played in supercharging F1’s popularity among a new audience with its “inclusive effect”.

“It is to be understood that the dramatization is part of the path to ignite interest, but in this sense there are themes that need to be redefined,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“If a driver refuses to participate because he is not being presented as he wants, we will talk about it constructively,” the Italian added. “‘Tell us how you want to be presented and we’ll find a way’.”

“Netflix managers are already meeting with the teams, but we are on the topic of culture and language. If you want to be in touch with the US market, you have to speak that language – we need to adjust.

“But that does not mean upsetting us, of course,” Domenicali admitted.

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali

Actually, Domenicali says he is delighted with F1’s rising popularity, which combined with new regulations has triggered interest from potential new teams and manufacturers.

“We have received many requests to enter,” he confirmed. “Let’s say more than one and less than eight.

“There are those who are more explicit in making it known that they would like to enter, and those who do so in silence.

“From my perspective, I don’t think increasing the number of teams and cars on the track increases the show, unless it is a very important entity,” Domenicali added.

The Volkswagen Group, with its brands Porsche and Audi, are known to be considering entering Formula 1 in 2026, although Porsche CEO Oliver Blume said on Friday that no decision is taken yet.

Domenicali also seems unperturbed by the loss of the Russian market.

“China is a potentially giant market,” he said. “Beyond Shanghai, we also have requests for races in other cities in China.”

“Zandvoort is already sold out for three years. Spa is sold out,” he continued. “Hamilton has led a range of themes and values that go beyond F1.

“Of course, for some they are important, for others less, we just have to try to ensure that the drivers do not become politicians.”

Domenicali admits F1 also has issues to tackle, such as whether the budget cap needs to be raised to deal with intense global price inflation.

“It is true that there are unforeseeable variables like inflation and the transport costs that have risen in recent weeks. I think this last issue in particular will be important.”