Drive To Survive, the dramatised TV version following the Formula One season has become extremely popular in recent years.
It has increased the average to 70 million viewers per race with a significant number of people viewing the series over the races themselves.
The Lewis Hamiton and Max Verstappen rivalry stirred the 2021 season, after a tight contest all year, both drivers headed to the final with 369.5 points so the final meant all or nothing.
We all wanted a dramatic finale and that is exactly what we got.
The controversial race’s final laps were stuck behind a safety car after Williams driver Nicholas Latifi crashed.
With little time remaining before the race would conclude on a safety car, now resigned race director Micheal Massey only allowed the cars between Hamilton, who was leading the majority of the race, and Verstappen, a few cars behind, to overtake the safety car.
Under usual F1 rules, lapped cars are allowed to overtake the safety car however with the pressure of the race ending they didn’t have time for all the cars to un-lap so in unfair circumstances they only allowed the cars between the championship leaders to pass.
Knowing that Hamilton was on hard tyres and Verstappen was on new soft tyres and now wheel to wheel, Massey knew it would be a dramatic ending but what an unfair ending it was.
Verstappen overtook Hamilton on the final lap to win the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and with it, Drivers’ Championship.
The race win didn’t fall down to sporting integrity. It came down to the entertainment value for Drive To Survive. The season, deemed to be the ‘Red Bull season’ focused on the rivalry between the two drivers therefore a controversial and thrilling ending is exactly what the FIA had planned to boost the popularity of the reality show.
This concept has sadly ruined the foundations of sports, like the Hansie Cronje cricket match-fixing scandal, a fair game is no longer the priority, it is outside entertainment and monetary factors that dictate the outcome of huge sporting events.
Hamilton’s eighth championship was ripped from his fingertips all for the dramatic ending that must have been planned by the producers.