There’s a lot of secrecy in Formula One. From teams obsessively hiding whatever they’re doing with their aero bits and oil compounds, to even the tire supplier trying to stop them from poking into their innards too much. This might make F1 a strange place for reality TV cameras, but it appears that’s not actually the case. Today, F1 confirmed that it’s now taping Netflix’s Formula 1: Drive to Survive Season 4, which, as we already know, has been one of the sport’s most successful moves ever.
The series will be released in 2022, presumably in a similar early-year slot to its predecessors, before F1 testing commences for the new season. Executive producer James Gay-Rees had actually confirmed that there will be at least seasons 4 and 5 earlier this year on a podcast.
Netflix’s cameras have been obvious in the paddock this year and drivers have repeatedly let it slip about filming, including the exquisitely awkward McLaren drivers interrupting their own horrific vibes to proclaim that they’ll probably be the main stars.
The popular series is credited with getting F1 back in front of millions of new fans, as well as re-attracting old ones who’d slipped away as TV deals increasingly slid behind paywalls. According to reports earlier this year, F1 is on course to have a billion fans by 2022, and that’s in no small part because of Netflix.
Despite criticism about some of the heavy dramatization—and strange interpretations of events—from curmudgeonly old F1 stalwarts like this writer, the way Netflix has shown a more human side of a highly technological sport has been commendable.
Other series have all followed now, Formula 2’s Chasing The Dream is, appropriately, a junior version of DTS and all-female W Series has released its own multi-part documentary called Driven. Heck, even NASCAR is going there. Formula E’s made multiple behind-the-scenes efforts, including a feature film that continues to haunt me. But, nothing’s ever quite hit the stratospheric popularity, and drama, of Drive to Survive.
Related to the drama and some good news for Red Bull fans; Netflix embedding with a team has famously somehow coincided with its messiest weekends. Ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix, looks like it’s picked Mercedes…
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