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Why Max Verstappen Isn't In The New Season Of 'Drive To Survive'

Why Max Verstappen Isn't In The New Season Of 'Drive To Survive'
By Eoin Harrington Updated

The new season of Netflix's Formula 1: Drive To Survive finally arrived on Friday morning, but it was missing the 2021 world champion Max Verstappen.

Though much of the season focuses on the battle between Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton for last year's drivers crown, the Dutchman refused to take part in any of the interviews for the series, which he described as "nicely over-the-top."

It's a real blow to the series, which has depended so much on the fly-on-the-wall content for its iconic moments. The absence of any access to Verstappen has really detracted from the show's portrayal of one of the most dramatic title fights in F1 history.

Verstappen refuses to be interviewed for "fake" Netflix series

The Netflix series has been credited with a huge surge in popularity of Formula 1 worldwide. The likes of Daniel Ricciardo and Gunther Steiner have become household names based on their antics in the series, but it has not been without critics.

Certain episodes have twisted the truth of on-track battles and off-track relationships, as well as over-dramatising moments of tension between drivers.

Red Bull have been one of the biggest features of the series thus far and, given the title battle they shared with Mercedes all season long in 2021, it was only natural that they would be a prime focus of season four. The dramatic circumstances in which Verstappen and Hamilton collided on multiple occasions in 2021 made for prime Drive to Survive material.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4ongTQ2N0Y

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So, the fact that Verstappen refused to take part in the new series is a real blow to Netflix.

Ahead of October's United States Grand Prix in Austin, Verstappen spoke to the Associated Press and revealed that he has refused to be interviewed for the new season of Drive To Survive, which he described as "fake".

I understand it needs to be done to boost the popularity. But from my side as a driver, I don’t like being part of it.

They faked a few rivalries which don’t really exist. So I decided to not be a part of it and did not give any more interviews after that because then there is nothing you can show.

The problem is they will always position you in a way they want, so whatever you say they will try to make you look reckless or try to make you…whatever fits the story of the series.

The concept of "fake" storylines has been an accusation lobbied at the show. The worst offender came in the most recent season, when a tense "rivalry" between McLaren teammates Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz was portrayed. Norris and Sainz are famously good friends, and have remained so even after Sainz's departure to Ferrari.

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Verstappen and Hamilton's rivalry was genuinely bitter at points last season, but Verstappen did not expect the Drive to Survive producers to keep the storyline down to earth whatsoever. Speaking to The Race at pre-season testing in Bahrain this week, Verstappen said:

I won’t change my mind. I think that was already ruined after season one. I’m quite a down to earth guy. I just want it to be facts, just don’t hype it up.

I understand of course it needs to be like that for Netflix – people like that. That’s what every series on there [does] as well, or documentary or whatever you call it, it’s just not my thing.

I’ll probably watch it and see how nicely over-the-top it is and then just continue with my life and I’ll probably watch some other documentaries on Netflix.

It's a real shame that, in the first season of Drive to Survive's run that there has been a season-long title battle, the eventual winner refused to take part in the series.

It will be fascinating, however, to see if more drivers follow in Verstappen's lead for the next seasons of the Netflix show.

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SEE ALSO: Next Year's F1 Calendar Exposes The Real Priorities Of The Sport

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