Behind the scenes of F1’s biggest drama: Horner vs. Netflix

Netflix’s forthcoming season of the Formula 1 series “Drive To Survive” is set to feature the unfolding scandal involving Christian Horner and the ongoing internal strife within Red Bull Racing. The revelation comes from James Gay-Rees, a distinguished producer known for his work on groundbreaking sports documentaries, during an interview with the Telegraph newspaper. Gay-Rees highlighted the accusation directed at him by Horner, stating, “That’s what Christian said to me,” followed by Horner’s blunt charge, “‘This is all your fault’.” With a hint of irony, Gay-Rees noted, “‘But apparently Lewis losing the 2021 championship was all our fault too,'” showcasing a mix of responsibility and jest.

The influence of the Netflix series on Formula 1’s visibility and demographic has been profound, according to Gay-Rees. He shared, “Liberty (Media) knew they needed to get younger people involved,” and expressed surprise at the unexpected viewership, “but I don’t think in their wildest dreams they thought 16-year-old girls in LA would be watching Formula 1 races.”

Given Max Verstappen’s dominance on the track, the next season will inevitably delve into the challenges and controversies surrounding Horner and Red Bull. Gay-Rees pointed out, “It’s problematic from a narrative point of view because it’s so one-sided.” Acknowledging the necessity of covering the Horner debacle, he admitted, “It will have to be referenced in some capacity.” The task ahead involves balancing the storytelling to satisfy all parties involved, including Netflix, the audience, and the documentary makers themselves. “They will all want it to be told in a particular way, so it’s about treading that line to keep everybody happy, and to keep Netflix happy, and us – so we can sleep at night with the decisions we’ve made.”

The tension seemed to ease slightly during the Melbourne event, following rumors that Verstappen might leave the team. Reflecting on Horner’s current situation, Gay-Rees speculated, “I think Horner is looking ok for the time being,” but cautioned, “but it doesn’t feel like it’s done yet. It will all depend on how it plays out.” Despite the uncertainty, Gay-Rees offered a compassionate view of Horner’s ordeal, stating, “I don’t know what he got up to, and I genuinely don’t have an opinion on it – but he’s been through it and you wouldn’t wish that on anybody.”


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