Drive to Survive first look suggests it will be a hit with fans

IF YOU are going to gamble then surely there is no better place to do it than Las Vegas?

That seems to be the case with Formula One, where it is a safe bet they will confirm that a race in Sin City will join the calendar, potentially as early as next year.

Max Verstappen refuses to take part in Netflix’s ‘Drive to Survive’ seriesCredit: Splash

The Austin Grand Prix was a huge success last year with 400,000 spectators

The Austin Grand Prix was a huge success last year with 400,000 spectatorsCredit: AP

It also attracted some high-profile celebrities such as Shaquille O'Neal (centre)

It also attracted some high-profile celebrities such as Shaquille O’Neal (centre)Credit: Getty

Interest in the sport has rocketed Stateside for the first time in F1’s 72-year history.

Last year’s US Grand Prix, which was held in Austin, Texas, enjoyed a bumper 400,000 crowd.

This year sees the introduction of a second race in the US — the Miami Grand Prix — on May 8.

The track is still being built but the event is already sold out. McLaren’s American CEO said at the start of the year this race will be “the hottest ticket of the year”.

To add a THIRD race in the USA seems a safe bet but it also marks somewhat of a gamble for F1’s American owners, Liberty Media.

The popularity of F1 in America is no doubt thanks to the success of the Netflix show Drive to Survive.

Season four launches this Friday and, interestingly, Pierre Gasly was the only current driver to turn up to the screening in London as the invitations had been sent out too late.

Another noticeable absentee was F1’s CEO, Stefano Domenicali, who was making a personal check on the developments in Vegas.

Having seen the first two episodes, the fly-on-the-wall documentary will again be a hit.

Yet there are signs F1’s luck with Netflix could be about to turn.

F1 insiders tell me they are getting a little frustrated by the splicing of footage to create rivalries which are not there.

In the first two instalments, Red Bull’s Christian Horner plays the villain and one wonders how long he will be willing to continue to act up to that — especially in an age when social media is so unforgiving.

And what about Lando Norris? In some scenes, the likeable Brit is seen uttering Daniel Ricciardo’s “Let’s f*** s*** up” catchphrase in a scene which is interlinked with the Aussie’s struggles on track.

Worth also remembering that a key figure in this season’s show, Max Verstappen, did not want to take part as he felt it was all “fake”.

It seems plausible that other drivers could follow suit and decide to fold.

If so, Netflix could be left with a rather poor hand to pick from and one wonders how that would impact American interest — and attendances at the three races — when the bubble bursts.


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