Drive To Survive deny that Michael Masi thought: “What does Netflix want?”

Michael Masi’s decision-making in Abu Dhabi was not caused by his desperation to deliver entertaining TV, says the producer of Drive To Survive.
Michael Masi (AUS) FIA Race
Michael Masi (AUS) FIA Race

The 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix cost Lewis Hamilton an all-time record eighth F1 championship when race director Masi’s incorrect application of the Safety Car rule allowed him to be overtaken by Max Verstappen.

The jaw-dropping finale played out on Netflix series Drive To Survive, with Mercedes and Red Bull team principals Toto Wolff and Christian Horner’s now-infamous remarks towards Masi.

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Lando Norris has previously hinted that Masi was distracted by Netflix’s desire for drama: “It was obviously made to be a fight, it was for the TV of course.”

But James Gay-Rees, the producer of Drive To Survive, told The Guardian: “I think [Masi] was just under a lot of pressure and got things slightly wrong. 

“I don’t think he was thinking ‘What does Netflix want?’”

Gay-Rees also produced ‘Senna’ - the excellent film about Ayrton Senna - and is now making Break Point for Netflix, a series about tennis with obvious comparisons to Drive To Survive.

“There’s an appetite among audiences to go beyond the broadcast version of sport,” said Gay-Rees.

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing in the post race FIA Press Conference. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 22, Abu Dhabi
Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing in the post race FIA Press Conference…


“There’s a massive curiosity about elite athletes and a desire to understand sport in a different way, to see the personal investment by going behind the curtain.

“I think you will see a divergence of broadcast strategies that will make the experience less siloed and more fluid. As the narrative develops, the documentary piece and the live piece will become more integrated.”

The Drive To Survive series 5 release date has been revealed, and Verstappen will feature for the first time.

He has previously criticised the series for over-dramatising the storylines and relationships within F1.

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