VW CEO credits Netflix for F1 popularity surge

Fri, 6 May 2022, 11:00

May 6 (GMM) It may be controversial, but F1’s official Netflix series Drive to Survive will keep its engines revving for now.

A deal has been struck for at least two more seasons of the dramatic documentary, which may have contributed to Volkswagen’s decision to green-light F1 projects for Audi and Porsche.

“Formula 1 is developing extremely positively worldwide,” VW CEO Herbert Diess told Wolfsburger Nachrichten newspaper.

“Netflix has led to a significant increase in the number of followers in the USA,” he added.

Many insiders and fans, however – and also prominent drivers like world champion Max Verstappen – are not keen on the exaggerated style of the series.

“I’m ice cold about it,” Haas driver Kevin Magnussen told Ekstra Bladet.

“If it’s good for the sport, I don’t care at all. I don’t watch it myself, but the reason is that I am in it.

“But I meet many who love the series and it is very clear what it has done for the sport. Formula 1 is on the world map and I am glad that it continues.”

F1 legend Gerhard Berger agrees that Formula 1 is experiencing an American-fuelled “boom”.

“We’ve always known that if you gain a foothold in America, Formula 1 will take on a new dimension,” he told Auto Bild. “It just never worked.

“This time it’s different.”

New criticisms about F1’s modern direction, however, are not aimed solely at Netflix. On social media, organisers of this weekend’s Miami street race are being mocked for the ‘fake’ Monaco-style harbour.

“I think we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously,” Miami GP official Tom Garfinkel told motorsport-total.com. “We’re having fun with it, aren’t we?

“I think the people on the yachts will have fun and I also think it’s funny and great when people make fun of it a bit.”

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