Netflix has delivered a new, young, American and female audience to Formula 1.
That is the view of Christian Horner, the Red Bull team boss, when asked about the controversial series Drive To Survive which is often criticised by ‘purists’ for blurring the lines between reality and drama.
“It’s a bit like the Kardashians on wheels at times,” he told Bloomberg.
But while that may be a valid criticism from some, for others it is good news – including Red Bull from a commercial point of view.
“I think of the 25 new partners we’ve introduced in the last three years, 21 of them are US-based,” Horner revealed. “Three of them are in the Fortune 500.
“Formula 1 is on fire at the moment.”
And he said Netflix has played a huge role in that.
“We’ve seen massive growth – the whole phenomenon through ‘Drive to Survive’ has introduced Formula 1 to a whole new audience, a younger audience and very much an American audience,” said Horner.
“What Drive to Survive has done, it’s done a great job of explaining the sport and bringing a new fanbase in, a young fanbase, a female fanbase as well. It’s showed some of the characters and some of the competition that goes on behind the scenes.”
So successful is Drive to Survive, however, that it has attracted attention for putting some tobacco-affiliated brands in front of that new and impressionable Netflix audience.
The FIA rejects that criticism, telling AFP news agency it remains “firmly opposed to tobacco advertising”.
“We are not in a position to interfere with private commercial agreements between teams and their sponsors, nor with broadcasting agreements,” the sport’s governing body added.