Lando Norris, McLaren, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

Portions of Drive to Survive are “definitely not correct” – Norris

2022 F1 season

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Lando Norris has raised concerns over parts of the new season of Drive to Survive, which he said do not accurately reflect events as they happened.

The McLaren driver said parts of the new fourth season of Drive to Survive, which debuted last week, includes sections in which video and team radio audio from different races have been combined to give a false version of events.

Norris said the series reflects well on him, having finished ahead of team mate Daniel Ricciardo for much of last year, but questioned the accuracy of Drive to Survive in places.

“Episode two is the first proper introduction to Daniel, myself and us and McLaren,” Norris explained. “I think it’s good, it gives you good insight. I think for my side it looks good, maybe not so much from the other side.

“There are obviously some comments and things here and there which are maybe out of place which, when you’re the person that it’s about, you maybe don’t agree with it so much, because it can make you look like you said something in a time and place which is definitely not correct.”

He called attention to footage from the Bahrain Grand Prix in which audio from another race had been used to exaggerate the rivalry between him and his team mate.

“There’s a bit of me and Daniel going side-by-side in turn one when we’re not even close,” said Norris. “And [on the team radio] I claim he pushes me off which is from a completely different race.

“So there are things which maybe are a bit too much like that, and I maybe don’t agree too much with it.”

Other drivers have also accused the series’ producers of going too far in their efforts to manufacture drama. Max Verstappen last week restated his refusal to participate in the programme which he previously said had “faked” storylines.

However Norris believes the programme can make a positive contribution to Formula 1’s popularity providing its creators avoid the temptation to over-exaggerate.

“On the whole I think things are still just exciting and good for everyone,” he said. “As long as they don’t over-do it and literally make someone look like they’ve done something which they definitely haven’t done, I think that’s too far. As long as I don’t do that it’s good.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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53 comments on “Portions of Drive to Survive are “definitely not correct” – Norris”

  1. Entertainment, not sport.

    Is anyone surprised that the 6 episodes of adverts aren’t exactly a documentary?

    1. Indeed, if you view DTS as entertainment related to F1 it is a cracking watch. If you are watching it for anything else you are likely to be disappointed. Here is my comment from a few days ago which I made after watching the first episode:

      “On Drive to Survive:

      I watched the first episode of Season 4 last night (life conspires to keep you off the sofa when you have a job, a wife and two children) and I have to say liked it. This surprised me as I was expecting not to having read everyone’s opinions on it.

      Is DTS flawed, yes, of course it is. As a hardcore fan I would love to watch a programme which did a bit more than just scratch the surface. I know they hype things up which don’t need to be and that they bend the truth to make some things more dramatic. But what you cannot deny is that it is entertaining. And it is entertaining whilst focussing on the sport which we all love, which makes me like it. I don’t watch DTS for serious journalism, in depth insight or to get in depth technical analysis, there are many other places to go to get that information. I like seeing what Toto Wolff’s living room looks like, I like seeing team principals telling other team principals to “go away” in a fruity manner, I like hearing Karun Chandhok and the Chairman of the Bahrain Motorsport authority telling Red Bull they hope they beat Mercedes. I like seeing F1 people being….well being people for the want of a better phrase.

      Can we not all just accept it for what it is: F1 based entertainment. If you do, you may find that, like me, you like it.”

      1. RandomMallard
        15th March 2022, 22:10

        @geemac

        This sums up my thoughts pretty well (though not having Netflix, my opinions are based on short clips I’ve seen and other people’s thought). As piece of television entertainment/drama, Drive To Survive is a very well put together show that ticks all the boxes in those categories. What it isn’t is a documentary, it’s a TV show. There’s nothing wrong with that as such, you just have to approach it differently. Personally, it’s not a format or show I’m particularly interested in (and as I previously mentioned, I don’t have Netflix), so don’t intend to watch it in the near future. I can understand it’s appeal to some people, and why others are put off by it.

  2. Telling lies for money, what’s that called?

    1. Main Stream Media.

    2. I’m surprised people are surprised, or even upset, about this.
      I love DtS as it gives me a dramatised recap of the key stories of the previous season, and some golden open mike recordings.

      Every documentary is made like this (most are even worse as they re-enact conversations and events).
      Do people really think that any of the sequences in those nature documentaries really happened as depicted? They also edit together different scenes to make it more dramatic.
      The only thing that makes DtS different is that it doesn’t have David Attenborough ;)

      1. The only thing that makes DtS different is that it doesn’t have David Attenborough ;)

        That would be awesome! Can we start a petition to get Sir David Attenborough to narrate the next season?!?!

      2. I’m not surprised someone in comments has to come along and make out I’m surprised, so they can try and come off as smarter :) You can love DTS, it’s up to you, but no other documentaries are not like this: they don’t start with a factual program and alter it.

        Yes it’s dramatic, but as Lando has tried to explain, you can’t trust it. So it’s not a documentary at all, and your calling it one shows how well they’ve succeeded in duping you. For money.

        1. but no other documentaries are not like this: they don’t start with a factual program and alter it.

          ignorance is bliss

          1. Fake is fake

      3. It’s not only DtS – it’s the live broadcast as well.

        Compare onboard comms with broadcast comms on F1TV and you’ll notice the times don’t match (which is sometimes valid and understandable), order is wrong (sketchier if communication is broadcast before an event happens), or altered (really bad putting in beeps to up the stress, while there is no swearing going on at all)

        1. “broadcast before an event happens”
          Note: I don’t mean time travel ;-)
          Usually happens with a replays where sometimes comms are broadcast before the event in the replay, while in reality it was after the event.

        2. There’s a difference between when radio clips are played on F1TV & the world feed as the team radio on the F1TV onboard cameras feeds is live/uncensored. It’s sometimes a bit out of sync depending on any delay in the system but it is all live & unedited.

          We used to play out team radio live on the world feed but after Giancarlo Fisichella swore over the radio during the 2006 Bahrain GP we were forced to switch to delayed transmissions due to complaints from broadcasters & regional TV regulators.

          As to the process. The team radio is monitored at Biggin Hill & anything those monitoring it feel may be relevant is cut, edited to remove anything that may be offensive & sent over to the director at the track who will play it in as soon as possible should he think it’s worth doing so.

          1. @gt-racer Until today, I was entirely unaware of Fisichella’s 2006 Bahrain GP swearing being the cause for slightly delayed radio comms on the world feed. I didn’t even remember such a thing from 16 years back.

          2. @jerejj When the F1 digital+ service was running & we introduced team radio in 2000 it was all live & uncensored. We were able to get away with swearing for the most part as it been a premium/ppv service meant guidelines for things like that were more relaxed.

            When we began to take over production of the world feed in 2004 we introduced team radio to the world feed at the Chinese GP & initially played it out live. I think there may have been 1-2 occasions where we weren’t quick enough to cut the audio before swearing made it to air but those went largely unnoticed.

            However at the 2006 Bahrain GP Fisichella was having some technical issues & pitted, We opened up his radio channel as it was just his race engineer talking to him at the time but as Giancarlo left the pits & dropped a few F Bombs & although we did cut the feed very quickly it didn’t go unnoticed. Several broadcast partners raised concerns about the potential & broadcast regulators such as Ofcom in the UK also investigated & recommended extra precautions be made.

            After that it was decided we would move away from live transmissions & instead have people monitor the radio channels & cut out things they felt were relevant to send to the director who makes the ultimate decision on what makes air.

    3. Telling lies for money, what’s that called?

      Journalism?
      Politics?
      Sales?
      Marketting?

      I could go on…

      1. I was thinking more a word that means telling lies for money. Pretending things happened that actually didn’t, to get subscriptions from innocent drama seekers.

        Then for Liberty Media’s F1, these innocents arrive at real F1 expecting to watch a sport that is that fictional degree of dramatic: looking for conflict, expecting an unreal level of angst, confrontation, emotional suspense… when in reality it’s a technical exercise in excellence. And then of course the temptation arises to jazz it up a little, when the opportunity arises to have a fresh champion along with a massive injection of angst, conflict and emoting. See? It all fits together. But it is a fraud.

      1. Hahahaha

  3. It’s not a docu-series anymore, it’s just a highlights reel. Once the novely was gone, it’s just more manufactured drama. They got it the other way: they should’ve tweaked reality in the first season to get everyone onboard and then make it closer and closer to reality, specially in a season that by itself contained top caliber drama all the way.

    1. I agree. At some point watching this latest series, I actually found myself wondering whether we’d see it around for much longer. Maybe it does what they claim i.e. attract new fans and race the profile of the sport but for me, it just felt stale/flat in a way that previous seasons didn’t. Maybe this is because the actual season of racing was so epic/dramatic that this attempt at dramatizing it pales in comparison?

    2. @fer-no65 Exactly ! My interest plummeted quite quickly, and I really think too there is more than enough drama to get a nice series. It is fully focused on drivers, exaggerating a lot of stuff, while if it was a slightly wider picture it would include engineering, team and constructor dramas. I mean, I never hear anyone complaining about a “slow news day” when a season is ongoing. Plenty of stuff to show instead of faking problems.

      For once, I agree with Domenicali in that they will have to find something new to keep my interest up.

  4. Sport is dramatic by it’s very nature. Especially at the top level with so much as stake. It’s totally unnecessary for them to manufacture additional drama where there is none. Even more so last season which is probably the most dramatic one since 2016.

  5. Let’s not pretend like Mazepin didn’t pay a lot of money for that positive commercial where they spun his chickening out due to some incoming rain in to a master stroke because of the fact that Russian clouds are different than those everywhere else around the world, and he is the only one that can read them. Only to finish in front of two others who dnf’d. And that he oh so heroically unlapped himself, to still finish two laps down…

  6. And this is why I no longer watch Drive To Survive. Couldn’t get through the first episode of the last season given the manufacturing of spectacle.

    As mentioned above, there’s no need to make last season more dramatic than it was. I do wonder what stuff they’re going to make up to top it for next season…

  7. I agree with him, although faking & overdramatizing stuff + placing words or shots from another occasion have been a thing since DTS started.

  8. Definetly worst series. Not sure how the mucked it up with the content they had

  9. He has a point that they certainly shouldn’t be using quotes out of context or editing footage together to pretend something happened that didn’t in reality. I realise I’m not the target audience and hence I don’t complain much about the show but making up stuff cannot be a good idea for the long term health of the sport when the fans with the least knowledge are being fed fantasy as fact. There was enough great stories last year that they shouldn’t need elaboration imo.

  10. My biggest criticism of DTS in the past few seasons is the increasing appearance of the Ginger Witch – she really is irritating….. but actually a perfect match for Horner

    G

    1. People can complain about things like DTS but comment above proves that it’s doing it’s job and is attracting kids to the sport which can only be a good thing.

      1. This seems more like a garden variety basement-dwelling misogynist to me.

        1. Hardly – couldnt be further from the truth…. She is just a truly irritating person
          Gender has nowt to do with it

        2. G (@unklegsif)
          16th March 2022, 9:49

          On reflection, my terminology was incorrect – apologies, and self reported my comment above

  11. Like Max winning the Monza sprint race and Danny coming second….

  12. I think the current format of DTS has run its course. Its style of story-telling, introducing the characters, building a nice arc, taking a bit of creative license worked when there were a lot of casual fans who knew little about the sport.
    Given the incredibly close and controversial 2021 season we had, F1’s fan mix has now changed to less casual fans and more die-hard fans.

    And for that revised F1 fan-mix, the current format is not ok. Till now, Netflix helped increase F1 popularity. But now, it seems like Netflix is taking advantage of F1 popularity by creating controversies (aka ‘creative license’).

    Here are few suggestions on improving:
    1) Have episodes come in during the season, say once per month or so on. Stories when they are fresh have better impact
    2) Try to spend more time with the mid-field and lower mid-field. The Tsunoda and Mazepin episodes were better this time. The front of the field is already saturated when it comes to attention from media.
    3) Try to go into the technical / strategy side of F1. One of DTS’ strengths is it is able to create content which can be consumed by casual fans. When it comes to strategy-side / technical side, most of the typical die-hard fans also become equivalent to casual fans. If they bring more to light on those side of F1 (a bit like the F1 TV pro inside stories), that would generate more interest
    4) Focus on historical seasons too. If DTS can make content like Rush by using historical footage and voiceovers from actual individuals, that would be great. Think of Keith’s historical season reviews on racefans which follow the current season and make for great reading content. Similar content on DTS would be great.

    1. @sumedh Your suggestions are good, especially the first one, which I’ve also hoped for, although I’m okay with all episodes coming simultaneously but wish they came in January or about a month before season-opener at the latest rather than preceding week Friday.

  13. Quelle surprise.

    A driver knowing that this is a work of fiction but continuing to participate anyway doesn’t exactly add positively to my opinion on their character.

  14. Are not all documentaries edited, falsified to some degree, exaggerated for some effect, time lapsed, to produce a storyline that would be easy for a narrator to create a story. That often is not what really happens in nature

    1. Exactly! All Narrative Is Fiction. Period.

  15. Like every documentary ever made

  16. , includes sections in which video and team radio audio from different races have been combined to give a false version of events

    Game over for DTS. Useless content, sign of the times.

  17. I cant watch Drive to Survive, typical trash “documentary”, not only do I know the ending… Everything is made to be a drama and far too much cringe.

  18. Nikita “I know a russian rain cloud when I see one” Mazepin.

    Give Guenther a spinoff.

  19. The funny thing is – especially last season – that there is no need for the fake stuff whatsoever!

    You could do a perfectly accurate and exciting account of the 2021 season in the typical DTS style WITHOUT making up rivalries, using wrong team radios and explaining basic stuff!

  20. Manufactured nonsense. Just like last years drivers championship.

  21. For tourists and old ladies.

    Whether its ‘dramatised’ is not the point. ‘Senna’ was as hokey as the hokey cokey but it was brilliant all the same. This is effective as a grabber for the sport but not for f1 fanatics.

  22. Do we still get the F1 annual season review?

  23. DTS has “its own truth”, so I do not see why they did not go all in this season and make 2 versions of the final episode with different outcomes. No impact to DTS integrity and I might have even watched it.

  24. I haven’t watched DTS this season and won’t. The format just doesn’t interest me.

    Personally, I would like it if the series was similar to those WWII documentary series/Air Crash Investigations/ Investigative films (the current one on Boeing for example).

    Putting things that happen into a broader picture for all aspects of the sport.

  25. SuprisedPikachu.jpeg

    You don’t say…

  26. DTS is for publicity. To bring in new fans. Its working. It was never meant to be an accurate account of the season. We lile drama. We like having a villian and a hero. And an anti hero. We like soapies. DTS gives us this. Its great. We discussing it. We debating it. Its working then. It must stay.

  27. Max already told so but Lando wouldn’t listen. 😉

  28. False version of events, false champion… that is what is really left of F1.

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