Formula 1 has grown in terms of viewership ever since Liberty Media entered the fray, taking over from former supremo Bernie Ecclestone.
Opening up its doors to Netflix for the blockbuster docu-series Drive To Survive paved the way for a great deal of following for the sport, with viewers gaining fresh access to seeing drivers’ personalities and backroom politics.
A new series is expected to be out ahead of the upcoming season and although it received a muted reception last year, most F1 fans are still expected to tune in.
While it has revolutionised the sport in many ways and made many people involved in F1 household names, Haas boss Guenther Steiner spoke about some of the negative impacts it has had.
Steiner’s image has certainly sky-rocketed ever since the inception of the show and he is seen as somewhat of a ‘rockstar’ in the series.
Such has been his popularity that his team has even started selling merchandise honouring his presence in the team.
Steiner explained how the increased eyeballs can also act “as a burden”.
“I did my job, people liked what I do,” he said.
“Liberty Media and Netflix got the best out of it and, all of a sudden, a lot of people know you! But it’s not something that I planned years ago, thinking ‘I need to be this, that, and the other’.
“It just happened, and sometimes it is quite a burden as well. Everybody watches you, a lot of people know you.”
The biggest benefit of the Netflix series has been in roping in the next generation of fans.
While Netflix has increased its demand from teams in terms of coverage since the first season, Steiner doesn’t want to turn his back on them entirely as he also understands the importance of getting such screen time.
“In general, for Formula 1 it’s good,” Steiner said.
“If a younger generation of people are interested in Formula 1, that secures our future. And it’s not only me – a lot of other people were in it as well. It’s just the modern times of Formula 1, it’s what people want to see.
“We gave them what they wanted to see and, all of a sudden, you’re in the middle of it. It’s a bit more tiring now than it was three or four years ago, but you just plan for it and live with it. I have to do more interviews now. But you can ask everybody in the team, nothing changes.”
Steiner is not one to hide his emotions and his no-nonsense attitude is attributed to his increasing popularity thanks to the show.
He himself argued that he doesn’t script anything or do special acts just for the camera. Rather, he focuses on just being himself.
“I think it’s because I don’t change – they filmed me doing my job, I didn’t act or play anything and that is the reason why I don’t watch it. I don’t want to change,” he said.
“I don’t think I would be happy with how I see myself or how I act, so the best is not to look and then we stay who we are and we do the same job. If people like it, fine. If they don’t like it, fine with me as well, I’m not getting upset about it.
“I think people like it because it is genuine, there is no playing an act. I don’t have any social media channels at all myself, thank god – that could be damaging!”
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