“They’re not there to be known or shown or whatever”- Former F1 driver says Netflix’s Drive to Survive contributed to the controversial ending of the 2021 season

Samriddhi Jaiswal
|Published January 21, 2022

Former F1 driver John Watson thinks that Drive to Survive played part in the dramatic ending of the 2021 season.

In the final race of the 2021 season, Lewis Hamilton led the entire race only to lose in the last lap due to a controversial decision made by the race director.

This led Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to claim his maiden title in F1. The race director Michael Masi has received a lot of backlash in the aftermath of the season finale.

Former Formula 1 driver John Watson believes that Netflix’s Drive to Survive played a major role in the dramatic end of the season. He said that following the presence of a Netflix cameraman, the FIA got way more involved in the show in Abu Dhabi than it should have been.

He said, “there are channels for challenges. But not as a part of what I feel has become the consequence of the access given to Netflix and Drive to Survive, wherein we’ve now got this type of ‘Support Act’ to the stars.”

“These people, i.e. the FIA and their officers, some of them have become a part of this ‘show’. They’re not there to be that – they’re there to adjudicate. They’re not there to be known or shown or whatever.”

Also Read: Toto Wolff demands actions not words from FIA after Abu Dhabi GP results amidst ongoing investigation

Drive to Survive has a lot of content to work with

Many in F1 have boycotted Drive to Survive because of their habit of dramatising the sport. Max Verstappen criticised the show for presenting him as the villain in the previous seasons.

Watson further said, “They are people that should be behind the scenes and shouldn’t at any point of time be given acknowledgement. That’s not their job, and that’s not what they’re in that position for.”

Moreover, the former driver believes that Masi has lost credibility in the sport. There have been several discussions about his competence and bias last year.

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Therefore, Watson queries how many teams will have faith in the race director in 2022 and beyond. “I just wonder what kind of support there is for him amongst the teams going into a new season – can they rely on his judgement? Is it unimpeachable? Or is it going to be questionable?” he said.

“Every time he makes a judgement, is it going to be challenged over the airwaves? ‘Have you made the right call?’, or, ‘Here are the reasons why you made the wrong call’ – that’s the wrong way!” Watson added.

Also Read: Nikita Mazepin determined to work better with his Haas crew after struggling to cope in his rookie F1 season

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About the author

Samriddhi Jaiswal

Samriddhi Jaiswal

Samriddhi Jaiswal is an F1 editor and writer at The SportsRush. She started her career as a business journalist but soon found her calling in lights out here we go! Samriddhi has been a Ferrari fan even when her interaction with F1 was occasional. Her first real experience with the thrilling sport came when Charles Leclerc clinched his iconic victory in Spa and Monza and painted the track red. Now, a Tifosi, Samriddhi is a hardcore fan of the prancing horse and can relate to the chaos within the Italian camp and also admires Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher. Off the track, she finds her home in books and musical instruments.

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