Coronavirus and Netflix Formula 1 are forcing themselves to reinvent

After years of monotony and predictability, Formula 1 appears to be reinventing itself thanks to the coronavirus crisis and the popular Netflix documentary, “Drive to Survive.”

The Grand Prix for Imola this weekend It can be exciting. Even before the first Formula 1 race of the season, at the end of March in Bahrain, rumors spread that Max Verstappen was the favorite to win this year’s world champion title instead of seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton. The Dutchman did not live up to his ambitions in the first race, but with the arrival of the Formula 1 Circus in Europe, he will have another chance.

Dutchman Max Verstappen could be starring in the first European Grand Prix of the season.
© Reuters

Matches Verstappen opportunities A whole lot of reforms that have been implemented in Formula 1 in recent months, Under pressure from the coronavirus crisis, but also from Liberty Media owner. In 2017, the company spent $ 8 billion to endure the Formula One Group and is intent on shattering some taboos to restart the faltering money machine left by Bernie Ecclestone.

Killer budgets

Maneuver space was very limited and this was an additional leverage for Liberty to push forward with long-awaited reforms. The coronavirus crisis prompted the organization to tackle The main problem of Formula 1 circus: boredom. In recent years, races were highly anticipated. Since 2015, it has only happened once that a Formula 1 driver has won a Grand Prix by a driver who is not part of the Ferrari, Mercedes or Red Bull teams. In 2020, the last two have won no fewer than 16 out of 17 races. Reason? The huge gap separating the top three from the otherss. Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull have huge budgets, eliminating competition in a sport in which perfectionism has reduced its chance to a marginal factor.


Millions of euros

This year, to narrow the gap between the richest teams and the rest, each team has a budget of 121 million euros.

To stimulate competition, this has been a question for years Set a maximum budget that teams can invest. Every time this measure was faced with a veto by the richest teams. Liberty Finally Won The Showdown: This Year, Teams will be able to spend a maximum of $ 145 million (121 million euros) excluding pilot bonuses, marketing costs and salaries of the top three employees. Real bleeding for the big teams. In 2019, the Mercedes team had a budget of close to 350 million pounds (400 million euros), including salaries and marketing expenses.

Analysts expect this budget cap to make little difference in the early years. The advance of the top three is that it will allow them to remain the masters of the game for years to come. Then the league title fight should become even more exciting.

On the basis of the new rules, prizes will be distributed more equitably among the teams.

Another component is the equality of income distribution. Of the $ 2 billion F1 raised during the pre-Covid 2019 year, more than $ 1 billion were paid out to the teams. In addition to the fixed bonus, teams get a bonus based on their performance. Based on the new rules, the prizes will be distributed evenly among the teams, which means that Small teams will no longer get 40 or 50 million euros, but 60 or 70 million, which can make a big difference. For their survival.

2021 will be a transition year. To reduce costs, The teams will not be able to offer new cars until next year. This year, they’ll have to run with 2020, which pretty much explains The battle that looks even more fierce between Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) and Max Verstappen (Red Bull). At the same time, it is A disaster for the rising teams. Williams, Haas and Alfa Romeo They had already given up on this season before it even started. They were close to launching new single seats, but they’ll have to run for another year with cars that had already failed last year.

The three teams have already made it clear that they will not be competing for the prizes. These are six of the 20 cars in Formula 1. A heavy loss to the competition.

Magnets for rich men

The monotony of the races is only part of the problem. Formula 1 must also adapt to an aging population. Even if Liberty has seen a two-year comeback of youth. In 2019, the average number of viewers increased to 93 million per Grand Prix, the highest number in years. 77% of growth comes from young people between the ages of 16 and 35.

The Netflix series emphasizes people behind the scenes rather than the races themselves, which are attracting a younger audience.

Everyone agrees on that This return to the popular Netflix documentary “Drive to Survive”Which kicked off its third season at the end of March. Puts serial Focus on the people behind the scenes Rather than the races themselves, thus attracting a younger audience.

There are enough interesting people in and around Formula 1 Circus. The famous former owner Bernie Ecclestone may have disappeared behind the scenes. The environment is still full of weird personalities, grandiose conceit and especially the wealthy. Ecclestone once said, “You always find billionaires willing to spend a fortune on Formula 1 magic. They spend more than they planned and then disappear. But there are always new people.”

Clothing mogul Lawrence Stroll took over the leadership of the Aston Martin team for their return to Formula 1 after a 60-year absence.

Austrian billionaire Dietrich Matischitz, owner of Red BullHe is now at the top of Formula 1, but it cost him around € 1 billion in the first five years to get there. The Ineos owner, James Ratcliffe – whose net worth is Forbes estimated at $ 17 billion – they pitched the team Mercedes Benz. And the Aston Martin Back in Formula 1 for the first time in 60 years thanks Its new ownerClothes pole Lawrence’s Outing.

These billionaires either take their kids there or take them out. Not only did Stroll buy the F1 team, but he also secured a spot in the team for his son. In Team Haas, Nikita Mazpin, 22-year-old son of Dimitri Mazpin, got a job as a driver. The Russian oligarchy, which had accumulated its wealth from the chemical group UralChem, plus his son brought a large bundle of money. Since this season, the team has been dubbed Team UralKali Haas, referring to UralChem’s fertilizer subsidiary.

Behind the scenes isn’t always a magician

This gives The exciting plots of “Drive to Survive”. Nikita Mazpin hadn’t yet run so much in Formula 1 that he was actually causing his first scandal.. A video posted on Instagram showed how he assaulted a woman. Then an initial apology was taken from social media, after which the Haas team forced him to make amends again. In the first race of the year in Bahrain, Mazpin had hoped to end the case with good results, but was unsuccessful: he crashed after two laps. It was my first retirement of the season.

Formula 1 attracts a completely different crowd from last year’s motorsport enthusiasts.

Fans of “Drive to Survive” also loved the story of former Red Bull driver Alex Albon, whose mother spent years in prison for fraud. Formula 1 attracts a completely different crowd from last year’s motorsport enthusiasts.

The teams are not yet used to the Netflix cameras in the pastures. Technicians especially do not like being watched while working on cars. And team owners aren’t always happy. Documentary that sheds light on the difficult relationship between McLaren drivers. Veteran Carlos Sainz regularly clashes with British Belgian Lando Norris. Arguments between colleagues can spoil the entire season. Team leader Zach Brown didn’t wait to say “Drive to Survive” took everything out of context. He also said he had reservations about the “same Hollywood style” for the Netflix team.

But despite this annoyance, The “drive to stay” appears to be a key link to the survival of the F1 economic model.


  • Formula 1 embarked on the path of a A whole lot of fixes to fight the main enemy: boredom.
  • The aim is to boost the competition by placing the “sticks in the wheels” of the three teams that outrageously dominate the races: Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull.
  • The measures mainly consist of Budget ceiling for stables And better distribution of income.
  • Formula 1 also owes its revival to success Siri Netflix “Drive to Survive”The highlights are not always glamorous behind the scenes of the ring.
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