Brown says F1 has to accept Netflix's artistic licence

McLaren CEO Zak Brown says Formula 1 should be happy to accept Netflix's massaging of the truth in Drive to Survive, even though it has upset some fans.

Brown says F1 has to accept Netflix's artistic licence

The latest series of Drive to Survive has served to divide opinion among F1 supporters, with some revelling in the background insights while others getting riled by the way it has top-spun some drama.

In particular, the frequent cutting in of radio conversations or comments to play up controversy grated with some – and it was noted how it tried to portray a sense of conflict between McLaren duo Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris.

But despite the criticisms, Brown says F1 has to understand the wider benefits that have come from the Netflix series, which has proved to be hugely popular and help raised the profile of F1. 

"I think Netflix has been great for F1," said Brown ahead of the season opening Bahrain Grand Prix. "It's been trending number one.

"I think it was number one in 25 countries. So I think the primary goal of Netflix is to entertain and bring new viewers to F1. And I think it's accomplished that tenfold, which is great."

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Brown says Netflix's treatment of F1 should be compared to the way that Hollywood frequently puts entertainment over the need to be realistic in movies.

"[Look at] Top Gun," he said. "You watch it, and I'm sure every fighter pilot went, you can't do that in a jet. But it was a great movie.

"So, of course, all of us living in the sport know that Carlos and Lando had a great relationship, and there wasn't the kind of a tension portrayed there.

"Any time you get into a television show, they're going to create some entertainment that we all within the paddock know, maybe it wasn't quite like that.

"But I think that's okay, and I think what's most important is it has done some wonderful things to bring in new fans around the world. So we're very supportive of Netflix and what they're trying to accomplish, even if they take a little bit of creative licence here and there."

Brown's comments have been echoed by Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, who says he felt uncomfortable at times with some of the Drive to Survive treatment.

Writing in a pre-race column, Horner said: "I was recently asked if I winced whenever I watched it back, the honest answer is yes, constantly!

"It is a TV show but it is also showing a side of the sport that is not normally conveyed during a conventional weekend broadcast.

"It shows some of the characteristics and some of the personalities, which is presented in a certain way to engage the audience. But overall it is very positive for F1 and the popularity seems enormous."

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Series Formula 1
Author Jonathan Noble
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