Sometime ago, Formula One fans were hyped when a Netflix series based on the 2018 season was announced and a trailer was dropped. However, some were curious to see why Mercedes and Ferrari were not so prominent.

To that effect, the makers of the series accused Mercedes and Ferrari of disappointing the sport with their non-participation.

Eight of F1’s 10 teams agreed to provide Netflix with behind-the-scenes access. This will likely lead to a number of secrets revealed. However, it was surprising to note that the programme skims over the championship battle. Many would expect the championship fight to be one of the highlights, if not the main focus. Sadly, both Mercedes and Ferrari elected not to participate.

The absence of Lewis Hamilton, arguably F1’s biggest star, and the sport’s top two teams, is a major blow to F1’s owners Liberty Media. The aim of the documentary series is to crack the United States markets.

“Mercedes and Ferrari wanted to operate under different terms to the rest of the teams, and us, as producers, and Netflix as the broadcasting platform, didn’t feel comfortable with that,” said executive producer Paul Martin.

“It was going to be all-or-nothing and if those terms were good enough for the eight other teams, it should have been good enough for Mercedes and Ferrari, too.”

A still from the trailer

Martin believes that the two did a disservice to the fans and the sport by remaining aloof.

He admitted that they were lucky that the likes of Red Bull granted them access. Teams like Renault, Haas, and the rest were more than willing to jump in.

According to a Mercedes spokesperson, “We were delighted to see that last season’s compelling, year-long battle for the championship between Ferrari and Mercedes helped drive 10 per cent growth in unique viewership for F1 worldwide and made the sport the fastest growing in the world on social media.”

The source continued, “Competing for the world championship is an all-consuming business that demands every ounce of focus from the entire team; we are driven first and foremost by performance in every decision we make.”

However, Scuderia Ferrari were unavailable for comment.

With the loss of a subject like Hamilton’s charge to his fifth world championship, the series had to shift focus. The series opted to shine a light on the sport’s other intriguing sub-plots. This is inclusive but not restricted to the Red Bull intra-team rivalry, Daniel Ricciardo’s surprise decision to quit Red Bull for Renault, the feud with Esteban Ocon and Max Verstappen in Brazil and many others.

McLaren’s miserable campaign also makes for perfect fodder for the series. Even the Haas F1 team have their share of the spotlight.