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Williams family frustrated and upset at Netflix snub

NEWS STORY
31/03/2021

The husband of former Williams team boss Claire Williams has hit out at what he perceives a snub by the makers of the Drive to Survive documentary, Netflix.

The third series of the documentary series was released on 18 March to mixed reviews, with many feeling it seeks to sensationalise certain aspects of the sport.

However, Mark Harris, husband of Claire Williams, whose father, Sir Frank Williams founded the legendary Grove outfit, admits frustration and upset that arguably two of the biggest stories of the 2020 season were seemingly ignored the documentary's makers.

2020 saw the Williams family sell their legendary team, the most successful British outfit in terms of constructors' titles, and while this didn't get a mention in the documentary, nor did team driver, George Russell when he replaced Lewis Hamilton in the Sakhir Grand Prix.

Talking to Instagram, Harris claims it defies belief that neither story was mentioned, Russell himself having taken to Twitter to comment: "Getting to episode 10 and realising you're not in #DriveToSurvive", and accompanying the tweet with a selfie showing the British driver sporting a clear look of disbelief.

"It is impossible to hide the level of frustration and upset I feel around the latest season of Netflix's Drive to Survive," wrote Harris.

"It is hard to believe that there was a more important story (other than COVID-19) than the sale of one of the most historic, successful and treasured teams the sport has ever seen," he added.

"Over 50 years in the sport, 16 world championships and the legendary team principal Sir Frank Williams and the family leaving a sport that they helped make what it is today, and barely a mention.

"What a disgrace. It feels like a total lack of respect to SFW, Claire and the team itself."

While admitting that the protocols in place last year due to the pandemic made filming more difficult than usual, Harris insists that this doesn't justify the team's total omission.

"It's easy to say there wasn't access granted," he wrote. "No, access wasn't granted to any film crew other than Williams' own to the very private moments when Claire had to tell the team that the family were having to sell and leave the sport they love and breathe for.

"But an abundance of footage was made available by the team and all crews had access at all other times. What a shame it wasn't used."

Of course, at a time F1's powers-that-be claim that new manufacturers, teams and race hosts are beating a path to their door, the demise of one of the oldest and most successful on the grid might not fit the agenda.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Vampiro, 06/04/2021 0:11

"I personally think there is more to this story. Mr Harris states that "No access was provided", so I think no story was included! Or maybe, the Williams Family tried to sell (and control the footage) and Netflix sent them off to pound sand?

The Williams group has lived off fumes from the past glory for a long time. As someone mentioned earlier, their mismanagement has left them off the main screen for way to long!

My 2 cents, for what it's worth."

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2. Posted by geordiemik, 05/04/2021 23:58

"I was a bit surprised at the lack of any info at all about the Williams changes or Russell's perfomance in the Merc. It seemed very strange. I wonder what they would have done if Ferrari had made another of their threats to leave F1? "

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3. Posted by kenji, 03/04/2021 1:21

"C'mon chaps...what's all this 'Netflix has their own agenda'? Time to fess up or is or all a 'hill of old garbanzos'?"

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4. Posted by kenji, 01/04/2021 23:50

"Am curious to know what this 'agenda' consists of ?"

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5. Posted by Apexing, 01/04/2021 16:18

"You would think that with Hamilton announcing this morning that he'll be driving with Williams next year, Netflix would've covered the team better than they did..."

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6. Posted by Editor, 01/04/2021 15:57

"@BrightonCorgi

"Netflix has their own agenda"

Aint that the truth... and we're not just talking F1"

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

7. Posted by BrightonCorgi, 01/04/2021 15:23

"Netflix has their own agenda. Williams sale and Russell's brilliant fill in are not part of it. "

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8. Posted by kenji, 01/04/2021 1:25

"@ Motor Sport fan.... I think that you'll find that the story has already been told..many times over. It is now boring, just like Mercedes winning everything. Without constant variation in competition it becomes stale. I was a massive supporter of Williams for many many years but when they turned on Mark Webber they lost me forever. Many years later when FW was being questioned about some of his decisions he said that one major one he regrets was 'letting Webber go'. They were ill prepared to face changes in their MO and all the toys had to go...FW has to sell off his private jet, Head had to dispose of his company helicopter and other perks that they enjoyed. Nothing wrong with having these toys but having the wrong business plan, as stated by BE, rather proves a point. Mismanagement brought them down. IMO anyway.
"

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9. Posted by Great_white_shark, 31/03/2021 20:22

"Is he masochistic? It saved them a lot of embarrassment so they should be thankful for that. It's like when Britney Spears had her very public mental breakdown, I am sure she would have preferred to stay out of the limelight."

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10. Posted by @R1Racing71, 31/03/2021 19:43

"I think it maybe time Pitpass did their piece on Williams. Lots of people, good people have been and gone in the past few years and the same could be said of the sponsors.
I’m a Williams fan through and through - but it’s time for a balanced piece to put everything into perspective."

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11. Posted by JamesJCR, 31/03/2021 15:33

"I too was struck by the lack of respect shown Williams. I’m not suggesting they should have received ten minutes but their contribution to the sport deserved more.
I was also dumbfounded that Pierre Gasly’s win at Monza got deserved coverage right up until the most emotional visual of the season and then they did not show it. His time alone on the podium, sitting on the step, not wanting to leave. A moment to remember forever."

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12. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 31/03/2021 13:56

"@kenji
Still a story worth telling, the good and bad."

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13. Posted by kenji, 31/03/2021 12:03

"@ Motorsport fan...Williams were a big part of F1 history but they became arrogant and lived beyond their means. I would suggest that you read Mark Webbers book and also that of Adrian Newey to get a real picture of what and who Williams really were. FW tried to dud Mansell and again he tried to short change Mark Webber by reneging on salary agreements. They lived too long on their past glories and paid the price. Is this what you want for a Netflix story? There's a whole lot more if you dig deep enough. Adam Parr also tells many interesting stories."

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14. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 31/03/2021 11:16

"Swearing and crashes will always be shown in front of a real story, a whole episode could have been given over to this truly remarkable story from Sir Frank doing business in a phone box, the drivers and constructors world championships through to the sad downfall and the selling of the team, a Netflix special to balance things? "

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15. Posted by kenji, 31/03/2021 0:49

"The Williams team has, over the past few years, become an irrelevance. So they sold out. Yes, that's somewhat newsworthy but only of minor importance within the bigger picture. The media have played it up based on their other British hopeful, Russel. Take him out of the equation and there's nothing much more to say really. D to S 3 was a good program and quite enjoyable despite the Williams omission."

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