“I saw you on Netflix!” – McLaren F1 CEO Zak Brown has lauded Liberty Media for their social media initiatives and Drive to Survive (DTS), opening the sport to millions of fans.
Drive to Survive on Netflix has been a resounding hit, allowing F1 to reach new fans across the globe. McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown is particularly impressed with it, crediting Liberty Media for their intentions to open the sport to millions, something which predecessor Bernie Ecclestone did not do proactively.
“He (former NFL player Michael Strahan) came up to me in a New York restaurant. A very polite guy who likes McLaren. And the first thing he said to me was, ‘I saw you on Netflix!’ So I think that made a difference, especially in the US.”
“The exciting thing about Formula One is that it’s closed off. You couldn’t look inside. People have wanted to see what’s going on in the Formula One paddock for years. But they were not allowed to. But now we have opened our doors and many are amazed. It’s given Liberty the opportunity to grow the sport very quickly and do things like Netflix.”
Netflix series “Formula 1: Drive to Survive” has had a massive impact on F1 globally.
• Social media engagements up 99%
• Over 75% of F1’s audience growth in 2020 came from ages 16-35
Now, they will race in Miami for the next decade. pic.twitter.com/aWHNdmcrqs
— Joe Pompliano (@JoePompliano) April 22, 2021
Brown defends minor DTS criticism
The Drive to Survive S3 was not comprehensive in nature, missing out on some key events, for instance, the Williams takeover by Dorilton Capital. It has also been criticized by the outspoken Max Verstappen for its apparent lack of authenticity.
Netflix also took creative freedom to show tension between Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz after the latter’s decision to move to Ferrari. But Brown has come out in defense of the American entertainment giants, who have done a stellar job with expanding the reach of this incredible multi-dimensional sport.
“Any time you get into a television show, they’re going to create some entertainment that we all within the paddock know, maybe it wasn’t quite like that.
“But I think that’s okay, and I think what’s most important is it has done some wonderful things to bring in new fans around the world. So we’re very supportive of Netflix and what they’re trying to accomplish, even if they take a little bit of creative license here and there.
“I think it was number one in 25 countries. So I think the primary goal of Netflix is to entertain and bring new viewers to F1. And I think it’s accomplished that tenfold, which is great.”