Formula 1 and Netflix team up to create a docuseries following the 2018 season

The new Formula One season season is underway, and the triumph of Sebastian Vettel has added a spanner to the works. Lewis Hamilton started raceday in pole position and was the heavy favourite to take the chequered flag on Sunday in Melbourne, only to be overtaken by Ferrari’s Vettel who grabbed the first points of the season.

Over the weekend, to coincide with the start of the championship, F1 announced that they and Netflix have teamed up to create a docuseries which will follow the 2018 World Championship and will air in early 2019.

If the first race of the season is anything to go by, we might well see the rise of Ferrari and a battle between Hamilton and Vettel for the title documented by the series which will be executive-produced by Academy-Award winner James Gay Rees, who was involved in the production of Senna.

In the past few months we’ve seen plenty of partnerships between on-demand platforms and rightholders – mostly football clubs and leagues. It’s clear that OTT and sport is a growing partnership, but whereas there are always stories about live rights potentially being snapped up by live-streaming platforms, it appears to be documentary and entertainment content which is really taking off.

It’s clear that sport is moving beyond simply being a live event you have to catch at a certain time, and is becoming more and more a brand of entertainment like films, TV and music, that people consume in their free time.

Sean Bratches, F1 Managing Director of Commercial Operations said: “Formula 1 is a global sport that we are actively repositioning from a motorsport company to a media and entertainment brand. The agreement with Netflix serves to chronicle the fascinating story of what transpires behind the scenes during a grand prix season. This is a perspective of the sport that has yet to be unveiled to fans around the world. This series will unleash a compelling vantage point to the sport that will delight fans and serve as a catalyst to entice new fans.”

Ian Holmes, Director of Media rights, said: “We are delighted to welcome a Netflix Original to Formula 1, a brand which has screened so many successful productions. This collaboration represents a new way of capturing our sport in all of its exciting aspects. There is nothing like F1, its layers of engineering complexity, allied to the enormity of human endeavour required to get through a Grand Prix season. The chance to present our sport through Netflix, to their worldwide audience, in an original and unique format, is something that we are very much looking forward to. This is a tremendous opportunity to showcase F1 and attract new fans to the sport.”

Bela Bajaria, Vice President of Content for Netflix: “This partnership with Formula 1 furthers our mission of working with world-class brands and production partners to produce best-in-class unscripted series. We can’t wait for this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix and to embark on an incredible season across the world.”

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Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 831 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and editor of Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan_

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