“I Was Wrong” – Mercedes Boss Toto Wolff on Netflix’s Drive to Survive

Published 10/24/2021, 6:53 AM EDT
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN – MARCH 29: Mercedes GP Executive Director Toto Wolff and McLaren Chief Executive Officer Zak Brown talk in the Paddock before practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on March 29, 2019 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)


Netflix’s Drive to Survive has really helped take Formula One to a much global audience. The series has brought in new fans from around the globe and has become super popular on the streaming platform. Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff confesses that in its first year he was not a fan of the show.

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Wolff stated he has warmed up to Drive to Survive and recognized the importance of the series to the sport. The Austrian is now one of the primal figures in the show.

We were not keen at the beginning of Netflix: Toto Wolff

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As reported by Formula One, the Mercedes team boss mentioned he avoided the Netflix series in the beginning as they wanted to focus on the on-track performances.

“We were not keen at the beginning of Netflix because we wanted to concentrate on on-track performance and I was wrong. It’s clearly a big success,” said Wolff.

Formula One F1 – Dutch Grand Prix – Circuit Zandvoort, Zandvoort, Netherlands – September 5, 2021 Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff arrives at the circuit REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

“Everywhere in the world it was the number one documentary on Netflix for quite a while and it’s become part of Formula 1 and you can clearly see it’s beneficial and yes, we’re a sport and we need to stay true to the values of the sport and have no gimmicks.”

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“But sport is entertainment and I think these guys have brought us a new angle, a new dimension and the feedback that we get from fans is tremendous – especially here in the US,” said Wolff.

Zak Brown thinks Netflix has been outstanding for Formula 1

McLaren CEO Zak Brown also emphasized the importance of the series to the sport. The American has been a supporter of the show from the beginning and has benefited from the show.

Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 26, 2021 McLaren Chief Executive Officer Zak Brown during the press conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS

“I think Netflix has been outstanding for Formula 1. It’s driven a younger fan base, it’s driven a much larger fan base. It’s really had an impact in America. From what I can see – I can only judge the sport from what I know – so I can’t really speak to what happens in other teams.”

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WATCH THIS STORY: Toto Wolff Swears, Valtteri Bottas Bares: Funniest Moments From Drive to Survive

“I think it’s factual with a little bit of theatre added, and that’s what television is. I think it’s doing what we as a sport would like it to do, which is turn on a bunch of new fans. I think it’s been hugely successful,” said Brown.

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DTS has three seasons on the streaming platform, with season 4 currently in production. The show has a contract with the sport till the end of the 2022 season.

Have you watched Drive to Survive on Netflix? Let us know.

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Devang Chauhan

567 articles

Devang Chauhan is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having completed his graduation in Journalism and Mass Communication, he has a keen eye for writing engaging and detailed articles on F1. Previously a writer for Sports Social's 'Chase Your Sport' Magazine, Devang has been an ardent follower of the sport for over a decade and has attended two editions of the Indian Grand Prix.

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