Esteban Ocon Reveals How Netflix’s Drive to Survive Contributed to His Renault F1 Signing

Published 01/31/2021, 4:00 AM EST
Esteban Ocon of France and Mercedes GP looks on in the garage during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of China at Shanghai International Circuit in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)


It is a known fact that the world-famous documentary series, Drive to Survive, helped the fans understand the inside story of F1. However, did you know that an F1 driver actually benefitted from this series? Well, it was the young Frenchman, Esteban Ocon.

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According to the 24-year-old, the Netflix-prompted series partially helped him secure a seat at the Renault F1 team. Prior to the arrival of the DTS team, the Frenchman was stranded in Mercedes as a third driver.

What did Esteban Ocon say?

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According to GPBlog, while speaking to Ladepeche, Ocon opened up about how Drive to Survive guided Renault into securing a deal with him amid a massive pool of drivers.

Filming started when I was active in the role of reserve driver at Mercedes,” the Renault driver said. “Netflix put me in the spotlight then. Netflix put me in the spotlight then. I don’t want to suggest that I was brought in by Renault because of Netflix, but it did help.

Esteban Ocon of France and Renault Sport F1 looks on from the garage during Day Two of F1 Winter Testing at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)

Ocon entered the F1 paddock amid decent expectations and drove fairly well over his first season with Force India. However, Lawrence Stroll‘s buyout of the team led to his son, Lance Stroll, replacing Ocon in the team. Unfortunately, it was an untimely sacking for Ocon, as the grid was already locked out.

Hence, considering he was being managed by Mercedes’ team principal, Toto Wolff meant that Ocon had to stick around the Silver Arrows for a year. And then bloomed the arrival of Drive to Survive, which bolstered his future in F1, just when he thought his career as a full-time driver had ended.

Ocon compared Liberty Media’s reigning with Bernie Ecclestone’s

The Frenchman opined that, during Bernie Ecclestone’s F1 era, the outside world shed no light on the sport, as any kind of filming was off-limits around the paddock.

However, the entry of Liberty Media welcomed an entirely different and refreshing era, which constantly had the interaction with the outside world.

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Esteban Ocon of France and Mercedes GP looks on in the garage during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)

In the past, everything was locked up. And it was not allowed to film in the paddock,” he said. “Now it’s even a Netflix capturing everything at the tracks. That extra interest in the sport might just have been worth it.

Liberty Media have definitely changed the perspective through which fans view Formula 1. Furthermore, the greeting of Netflix into the paddock has only strengthened the fandom for the sport.

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So, in time, will Formula 1 take shape into the most famous and recognized sport in the world? Well, only time will tell.

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Rohit Kumar

1161 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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