Netflix cameras in meetings could give F1 a boost
The gathering was one of Stefano Domenicali’s regular informal Saturday morning coffees, a custom started by his predecessor Chase Carey.
Drive to surviveCameras were following Toto Wolff to Montreal and were allowed to film the meeting.
They captured a heated exchange between Wolff, Mattia Binotto and Christian Horner over porpoising and bouncing, and the associated technical directive from the FIA.
F1 insiders suggested some of the meeting attendees were performing in front of the cameras, with Horner noting there was “an element of theatre” to the proceedings.
When asked if the cameras made a difference, Szafnauer replied, “Well, that certainly added to my reluctance to say anything! I don’t know, should Netflix be there? Or shouldn’t it not be there?
“I mean, I remember watching the Senna movie, and all those years ago they had cameras in these type of meetings. So is it good for the fans, does it help us all if they understand some of this stuff? Maybe.
“Does it create drama that otherwise wouldn’t be there?” I do not know. It’s hard to say, because it’s not a controlled experiment. You should have the same meeting without them. Then I do not know.
“But I’m sure people will guess that it has an influence. And, you know, maybe it is. Is it good? Or is it bad? I do not know. But I think that kind of stuff if the fans see it and understand it, it just creates a bit more appeal for our sport. I think that it’s good.”
Recalling that the footage won’t be seen until season five is released in February, he said: “But even then, it’s best not to see it at all. It’s a look back, Netflix.”
A video camera on the red carpet
Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images
Szafnauer recalls meeting fans on a flight who had been drawn to F1 by Drive to survive.
“I met one from Chicago, one from Michigan,” he said. “And both said we were ‘COVID F1 fans’. What do you mean by that? They said well, during COVID only F1 was on TV.
“So they said we’ve watched all the F1 races and then watched Netflix and now we have an understanding. And lo and behold, they’re traveling from Detroit and Chicago to come here for their first races. One of them is also went to Miami. So, [Canada was the] second race.
“But if it helps attract those people, because I think we have a great sport, it was a well-kept secret before, and if you expose more people to it, it’s better for all of us.”