Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Istanbul Park, 2021

Verstappen refuses to participate in “fake” Drive to Survive Netflix series

2021 F1 season

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Max Verstappen says he is not participating in the upcoming edition of Netflix series Drive to Survive.

The world championship leader told the Associated Press the programme makers “would fake a lot of stuff” based on his experience of contributing to past seasons.

“They faked a few rivalries which they don’t really exist,” said Verstappen. “So I decided to not be a part of it and did not give any more interviews after that because then there is nothing you can show.

“I am not really a dramatic show kind of person, I just want facts and real things to happen.”

Last year the Red Bull driver complained about his depiction in the original, 2019 season of Drive to Survive.

“The problem is they will always position you in a way they want, so whatever you say, they will try to make you look reckless or trying to make you… whatever fits the story of the series,” he said at the time.

“So I never really liked that. I prefer to just have a one-on-one interview to the person who would like to know me.”

The fourth season of Drive to Survive, following the events of the 2021 championship, is due for release early next year.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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65 comments on “Verstappen refuses to participate in “fake” Drive to Survive Netflix series”

  1. I support his decision. DTS is not a season review. It’s a drama show.

    1. And it promotes swearing like in a mid school hostel.

      1. Seems like the child that is Verstappen would fit perfectly.

        1. You mean that kid what is fighting for a world championship in Formula 1?

        2. Well it seems you don’t know him then.

      2. I agree with you but just this one.

    2. I watch F1 since the late 70s, have watched half of the first season of DTS and concluded this is to attract new audiences in the fake media style we have come to get used to nowadays. It is staged, scripted, not authentic and just meant to sell F1.

      1. Straight question.

        We disagree a lot but…

        How did you watch in the late 70s? How lucky were you!

        I mean we had some coverage when Hunt was challenging Lauda late on from the bbc who covered some of the races but nothing like coverage today. What did you have?

        My major 70-80 coverage was the paper – motor racing news weekly frankly or being lucky enough to be taken to 60s races by my dad (I saw Jim at brands etc in F1 and in that cortina of which I went on to own and restore three)

        I blame this for my chosen career (engineer) and hobby (racing everything from the age of 9) I was supposed to be a farmer…

        I even got car mechanics or motorcycle mechanics for F1 news then and am amazed you had races to watch.

        Fortunate. You were just wondering if there is a place that can be seen today?

  2. Good approach. I don’t blame him at all for feeling this way towards DTS.

  3. Yeah I agree.

  4. Completely agree… It’s a good approach… Start showing things like they are or don’t bother.

    Imagine what they’ll say about Silverstone and Monza… real life already was dramatic enough, they’ll just go bezerk!

  5. Fantastic. I like drive to survive, but the producers need to stop creating unnecessary drama or the need for it. I hope more of the drivers voice this out as well and start opposing some of the aspects in the series. Fake entertainment is just the worst.

    1. absolutely – i enjoyed the first two seasons, it allowed me to get to know the drivers and now i’m an F1 junkie ;)

      but i had to skip most of season 3. that fake Sainz / Norris rivalry was disgusting.

  6. On his rivalry with Hamilton. ‘Probably in the Netflix show we will be. We once bumped into each other walking. So probably that will be in there.’

    Can’t say I blame DTS though. F1 have been deliberately playing around with team radio transmissions for years and a sizeable number enjoy there version of the truth rather than the reality.

    1. Do you realize what you are saying?

    2. Rather than rivalries, I want to see what goes behind close doors. Like Steiner’s meeting with German sponsors. Or something interesting that we do not see all the time on track or on the replays or with the tv presentors. Like when Mercedes were discussing their mistakes after the German Gp 2019.

  7. Gavin Campbell
    21st October 2021, 16:58

    Last (this) years Drive to Survive was dreadful. If you watched closely so much of the footage didn’t match the actual narrative on screen. Most of the “reaction” shots from the pit wall or garage were from other races to action being referenced.

    Which seems bizarre for a show that has access to all the original footage from the event as well as talking head sequences that they felt it was ok to “remix” the footage they had into a story. It gives it a sheen of a unauthorized documentary that has to make do with what footage they can get hold of. The rivalry thing always felt terribly contrived although this year at least there are some proper ding dongs at the front and back (Hamilton v Verstappen and Schumacher v Mazepin).

    There are really good stories to tell, I’m personally quite bored with them just frankly making stuff up.

    1. I agree, wheeling out Will Buxton to embellish the narrative doesn’t help.

  8. It shows his personality. Good for you Max.

  9. At least someone trying to stop Dictatorship Media’s circus!

  10. Max, just say that you won’t participate until that clown called Will Buxton gets fired!!

    1. I used to like will, he looked like a professional, passionate f2 commentator, except he is anything but that.

      1. Justice For Davide
        21st October 2021, 22:31

        Except he was terrible.

      2. Will Buxton had a Twitter feud too.

    2. jlb, it looks like Max has a broader objection to Drive to Survive than one particular individual.

    3. Actually Max rather likes Will Buxton (his words not mine) so expect the reverse of your wish if they fired Will. Will is just F1 pro i thought and not Drive to Survive ?
      Personally I find Will much beter then Crofton ( i hope i didn’t butchered his name)

  11. Very well said. There’s so much Netflix could show, instead they’re inventing drama.

  12. Good, that means I don’t have to watch him during the off season. I’ll take that.

    1. i will help..
      there is always one for you here ;)

    2. Me too, bruv.

  13. Good for him.
    Quite frankly the series has become more unwatchable as the seasons are added.
    They could have shown so much interesting material but instead opted for made up dramatic events

  14. Respect that decision, just race Max, everything else except for family is secondary.

  15. He’s such a down to Earth young guy (at least when not driving, which is understandable). I hope they take it easy with this fake drama, I understand F1 does not provide enough “action” for a full season (especially since they cover only one team per race, so they need to be really, really lucky to be in the right place and time); but last time they really went too Hollywood even compared to some blockbusters. The narrative should be based on reality without twists that never happened, after all most of us watch races and we can see through it. If next season is going to be as bad as the last I may stop watching this, it wasn’t that much fun really; and there’s only so much Günter Steiner can provide.

  16. Good! More and more top drivers should refuse to play a part in this tabloid-like, alternate reality drama with real drivers. I couldn’t stand the 2020 Season for more than an episode.

  17. For me the fake collision noises and the overdubbed commentary is hideous. They should narrate it as past event not pretend Buxton was there at the time.

    Can’t stand him either, annoying voice.

  18. I don’t blame him, and I really like what Drive To Survive generally does. However it does overstep the mark and needlessly so as well. I hope maybe his comments (from potentially this seasons Champion) cause them to stick closer to the actual facts and less of the manipulative editing. There’s really little need for it, the sport has great personalities and actual rivalries (and friendly ones) that would be great to watch as is.

  19. Hopefully they’ll ditch the ridiculous sound effects whenever a car makes even the slightest contact with another. Made me laugh a bit though so I guess it was entertaining… probably not for the right reasons however.

  20. Boss move from Max.

    The old 2-3 hour season reviews were SO much better!

    1. János, Duke Video still produces those, and they still have official sanction to do so.

  21. Broadsword to Danny Boy
    21st October 2021, 20:36

    Thank goodness someone prominent has spoken out. Well done Max.
    The series started out Ok (but not great) but went downhill rapidly.

    It should be no surprise to anyone that the series is misleading and full of contrived drama when you realise its producer was also involved in producing the riveting but highly contrived and misleading ‘Senna’,the hatchet job done on Prost in that film was nothing short of disgusting. DtS hasn’t gone as far but one feels if the ratings drop it probably will….

  22. So straightforward as he is. Admirable.

  23. I watched the first season of DTS & I think about half the 2nd but other than watching the odd clip i’ve not watched season 3 as it’s just obvious that it isn’t a show for me.

    I just don’t like the elements that I can see through, The fake drama, Artificial sound effects & use of footage that doesn’t match whats been discussed & stuff.

    I’ve said this before but I just wish there was an alternative show aimed at the more knowledgable & dedicated fans like me which was more of a pure documentary rather than more of the docu-drama I feel DTS comes across as. Or at least give us a proper end of season review again rather than the Youtube highlights with Sky commentary that the official Bluray reviews are now.

    1. Duke Video still does a traditional and official F1 season review.

      1. @alianora-la-canta They do but they are now just clips from the world-feed broadcast with Sky’s live commentary which are basically the same as the highlight clips they have on Youtube/F1TV.

        They work OK as a review of each race but they are no longer the sort of in-depth review that tells the story of the season in the way they used to. They used to go into the story of the weekend more, Not just show clips from the world-feed but have exclusive interviews, features & other footage from the sessions/races.

        The official reviews as they have been the past 3-4 years are just not that good imo and i’d prefer something more like how they were done in the past.

        1. @stefmeister That is a sad reduction in quality. While the 2003 review had virtually no “bonus footage”, it at least had someone talking about the footage who was not one of the original commentators. To go worse than that seems pointless.

  24. Thank You Max. This was necessary. You are my hero much more and all over again.

    1. The overplaying of Grosjean’s fiery crash was it for me. The only thing I liked last season was Hamilton’s coverage in the last episode with Walgrove’s Winner taking it to the ( much awaited) end credits.

  25. If it were for Netflix they want DTS to look more like Squid Game.

  26. I don’t even have to watch a minute to know that it’s all fakery and that he will portrayed as the bad guy (he should really have understood this earlier).

  27. Good for him keeping it real. Literally.

  28. I’m fine with Max doing so, but FWIW Drive to Survive has created a lot of new F1 fans amongst my social circle. It is doing what is supposed to do, from Liberty’s perspective. And now I have more people to chat F1 with!

    I still watch it for fun. The Sainz/Norris “rivalry” in S3 really aggravated me though.

    1. It’s a difficult balance, I know that my social circle is far more knowledgable about F1 than I’ve ever known. Which is fun in a way, but I can’t watch Drive to Survive, it creates faux drama when the actual sport has enough drama already.

      But faced with a niche sport with no one to discuss it with, or a ‘over-hyped’ Hollywood style sport, I’d lean towards the latter, it’s not nice, but it does make the sport more sustainable. More eyes on screens etc. We can always choose to observe the sport in a more factual way. And we do, because we’re here, on this website; I support Max in his decision, because any of us could be depicted in any way, and Max is taking ‘agency’ of the story.

      The problem is if all teams and drivers do the same, and we go back to the ‘Bernie days’, I love the openness of Drive to Survive, I just wish it was more factual. @nanotech

  29. Initially I intended to watch the series after the positive reactions, but I have not seen an episode yet.
    And as later I learnt that there is a good amount of fiction/alteration added just to have more show elements, and by the time the episodes are rolled out, I already know most of the stories, I am not interested in DTS anymore.

  30. I guess Max is like an articulate Kimi Raikkonen, as in he can actually explain why he doesn’t want to say anything…

    Clearly DTS has been guilty of manipulating interviews, especially with their editing, to ‘tell’ a narrative, usually one of many on and off track rivalries, that may not exist or exists in a much milder version. Max is good enough (valuable enough) to Red Bull to stand against the pressure for media exposure of any kind or quality if it doesn’t suit him. It is a touch ironic that he drives for a team that is literally, really in Formula 1 to publicize a drinks brand, but the again so what. He delivers what they (and Formula 1) need on the race track.

    1. US Media selling a narrative instead of facts?

      Spot on!

  31. Good call. DTS has become too dramatic for my taste, although seasoned F1 fans are likely not the target audience.

    That said, I’m thoroughly enjoying the “If (incident) was in Drive to Survive” over the top meme videos!

  32. The first season of DTS was quite good I felt. The second season was pretty much the ramblings of a middle aged Italian man.

    The less said about the third season the better.

    Having said this, I still see it as an important tool to attract new audience.

  33. Silly Max. Doesnt he know it’s just for entertainment? Not like they would tarnish his image or anything. It’s just exposure.

  34. Nell (@imabouttogoham)
    22nd October 2021, 4:38

    I stopped watching it once the artificiality of it became too much to bear for me, much more than my desire to satiate myself with F1 content in the off-season. I’m glad it’s drawn in more viewers to the sport, including some of my friends.

    Bloody Will Buxton though…

  35. Hopefully this will spark more drivers to do the same. Other drivers such as Norris and Sainz have joked about it subtly but nobody has actually been brave enough to stand up to it. Fair play.

  36. I’m not sure I buy that Verstappen is really naive enough to believe anyone interviewing him for media is not going to be interested in a “One-on-one interview to the person who would like to know me.”. Obviously he is free to not participate if he feels wrong, but it’s not like a DtS interview is a massive outlier when it comes to journos prodding, prying and twisting what soundbytes they get to their purpose. That’s just film journalism, which has been part of the sport since Max was a naughty twinkle in Jos’ eye.

    1. Kind of mixed feelings here.

      So far I’ve mostly enjoyed DTS’ interviews, but can’t stand the race action as edited in the show. Too much drama, I guess.

      It’ just the opposite during the regular season: I love races, and can’t cope with dull interviews.

    2. Ouch- I posted a reply instead of a comment.

  37. yep, explains a lot why it’s so popular and tracks in the USA.

    i look at it as drama, leave out reality and it’s easy to make it look exciting.

  38. Take part in “Racing Incident”!

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