Three-time Formula One champ Max Verstappen says while he’d “like to win” seven or more titles, an obsession with records won’t be much of a factor when it comes time to decide when it’s time to hang up his helmet. More important to the dominant Dutchman: Whether F1 maintains its focus on the sport, or the Netflix hit docuseries “Drive to Survive.”
In an interview with Time, which writes that Verstappen has grown “weary” of F1’s obsession with marketing, the runaway driver says: “I would just keep in mind that the actual sport comes first, instead of the show… That, for me, is very important, and that eventually will also decide if I stay or not.”
“Drive to Survive” has been rightly credited with a massive interest uptick among American viewers in a motorsport that often runs its races in the wee hours. The show has also been criticized for amplifying or even concocting drama – something Verstappen says he has no interest in watching:
“I don’t need to watch it because I know what happens,” Verstappen told Time. “I’m also not very interested to hear from our neighbors how they saw their season. I know my side of the story. For me, that’s enough.”
“Drive to Survive” is currently filming its sixth season and had its cameras planted in the paddock as Verstappen ascended to the top of the podium three seasons ago, when he took his first title – ending a record-tying seven-championship run for the British Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, and kicking off a run of domination that some viewers find increasingly dull.
“Would I like to win seven? Yeah, why not?” Verstappen said. “But even if I don’t win seven, I know that there’s still so many more things in life than F1. I’m already very happy with what I have achieved.”
Just don’t expect the laser-focused driver to do much glad-handing along the way: Time reports that he had little time for Prince Harry, who stopped by the Red Bull garage about an hour before the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, last month.
“I’m not a people pleaser,” Verstappen said. “I mean, [Harry is a] super nice guy. And it’s good to shake hands, say hello. But I’m here to do my job.”
The much-hyped next (and penultimate) race of the F1 season comes Nov. 18 in Las Vegas and will be broadcast in the U.S. on ESPN.