New CEO Explains Why F1 Went Ahead With the Netflix Deal Despite Resistance From Teams

Published 08/06/2021, 9:11 AM EDT
NOIDA, INDIA – OCTOBER 26: Ferrari Team Principal Stefano Domenicali attends the official press conference following practice for the Indian Formula One Grand Prix at Buddh International Circuit on October 26, 2012 in Noida, India. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)


The world of Formula One has opened up to a new fan base ever since the release of Netflix’s docu-series, Drive to Survive. Another factor, that has been responsible for the growth of F1 is social media; allowing fans and drivers to connect with each other and build a relationship.

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CEO, Stefano Domenicali spoke out about how he first felt about Netflix approaching them to make a show. He also talked about how social media has helped the sport to grow and to appeal to a larger audience.

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Domenicali opens up about how Netflix and social media helped F1 grow

Speaking on an episode of the podcast, Formula One: The Iconic Motorsport. He said, “I think it’s very important to understand what is our vision for the future on that respect. By the way, when the Netflix project was presented, not all the teams and neither the media with whom we have the actual contact were very happy.”

“They were suspicious. They thought, ‘Well, they’re going to have something that we don’t have. They are going to do something that is out of the court of Formula One. So why we’re doing that? And I have to say, I don’t take any single merit for that, because it was done for the vision of Chase and Sean Bratches.”

NOIDA, INDIA – OCTOBER 26: Ferrari Team Principal Stefano Domenicali attends the official press conference following practice for the Indian Formula One Grand Prix at Buddh International Circuit on October 26, 2012 in Noida, India. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

He added, “So that was a job that was incredible, and the effect on the audience or non-avid fans is massive. Social media, like or not like it. It is a way to be connected to the people. And we know very well, that is not only for Formula One, all our people today want to be the protagonist. And the more we feel them, the protagonist of what we are doing.”

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How does Domenicali like the narrative of F1 in the Netflix series?

Many find the show to be fake. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen stated his thoughts about the series. However, the Italian boss doesn’t agree with the Dutch driver, as the show has carted to new fans.

He said, “It’s absolutely spot on when it comes to attracting a new audience. Is it real or is it fake? Look, if I gave you a commentary on the picture on the wall opposite me, it would have one story.

“If I asked one of my colleagues to comment on it, it could have a different angle. There are different points of view and of course certain things are being pushed in a way that’s more like a movie than sport.”

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Formula One F1 – Hungarian Grand Prix – Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary – August 1, 2021 Williams’ Nicholas Latifi in action REUTERS/Florion Goga

He also feels that the drivers hold a lot of importance in the sport. Domenicali stated the reason for the Dutch GP being sold out for the next three years is due to the presence of Max Verstappen. The Italian boss knows that the show might know the technical side of things and could possibly ask, “What is a cylinder?”.

Regardless, Domenicali understands what the show has done for the sport, and knows it has the potential to lure new fans to F1 for years to come.

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With three seasons already out and a fourth one currently being developed following the 2021 season, What are your thoughts about the docu-series? Let us in the comments below.

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Arpit Gomes

839 articles

Arpit Gomes is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Currently pursuing his Journalism degree from Xavier’s Institute, he is a big fan of McLaren and their driver Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo. Arpit always looks forward to the paddock moving to Spa and drivers dealing with the exciting Eau Rouge corner as well the straight at Monza.

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