The makers of the Drive to Survive upcoming Formula 1 series on Netflix have accused Mercedes and Ferrari of letting down the sport after refusing to participate in the program.
Set to launch on March 8, the 10-part docuseries follows the entire 2018 championship from Melbourne to the final race in Abu Dhabi. Eight teams granted the film-makers ‘fly-on-the-wall’ access to film throughout the year, but Mercedes and Ferrari declined to be involved.
Speaking with The Telegraph, executive producer Paul Martin said the two teams wouldn’t agree to the terms the other eight did.
“Mercedes and Ferrari wanted to operate under different terms to the rest of the teams, and us, as producers, and Netflix as the broadcasting platform, didn’t feel comfortable with that.
“It was going to be all-or-nothing and if those terms were good enough for the eight other teams, it should have been good enough for Mercedes and Ferrari, too.
“My view is that they did a slight disservice to the fans and the sport by not taking part,” Martin said.
All the action but no championship battle
F1 owners Liberty Media came up the idea of the documentary series as a way to promote the sport throughout the United States. However, the exclusion of a behind the scenes view at Mercedes and Ferrari means the documentary series glosses over the championship battle between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.
Ferrari hasn’t said why it didn’t want to participate, but Mercedes told Crash that it was too focused on the championship.
“We were delighted to see that last season’s compelling, year-long battle for the championship between Ferrari and Mercedes helped drive 10 percent growth in unique viewership for F1 worldwide and made the sport the fastest growing in the world on social media. Competing for the world championship is an all-consuming business that demands every ounce of focus from the entire team; we are driven first and foremost by performance in every decision we make.”
If we were to guess, we’d say that the two teams that were fighting for the championship didn’t want anyone to see what they did behind closed doors, in case any of their secrets leaked to the competition. The rest might have had the same qualms, but jousting for first place is very different to battling for, say, eighth.