Last year when Netflix debuted its behind the scenes docu-series called Formula 1 Drive to Survive in March, critics and fans of the sport said that it was one of the best things to happen to the sport. It gave viewers an unfiltered look at what goes on in the lives of all the drivers, behind the closed doors of the paddock and the sport itself. This also allowed a lot of new fans to tune in and allow F1 to reach a wider audience.
Among many, the biggest highlight from season 1 was Team Principal of Haas F1 Team, Guenther Steiner and his unfiltered speech. His explicit remarks about the team’s performances last year left them looking like “W**kers” instead of looking like “Rockstars”. A large portion of the audience wanted to see how the season unfolded for Haas, thanks to Steiner. Meanwhile, other notable moments of the season and races like Germany, Canada and Brazil were something F1 fans were excited to watch it.
While Mercedes and Ferrari both had refused to be a part of the first season, both teams were made to take part in the docu-series and that has only added to the fun for the viewers. After binging all 10 episodes, we concluded that while the show was spectacular, it left us wanting more which was a good thing but can’t help but feel a few key moments were missed. Before we move any further, we would like to mention that there may be some spoilers for the ones who haven’t watched it yet. But we will try and not ruin it for them.
The first episode primarily focuses on what went down in the 2019 season of Formula 1 as an overall outlook with a heavy focus on Redbull and Haas. The second episode is when things got really exciting as it goes deep into the garage and life of the Haas F1 team, and especially Steiner and the two drivers, Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen. The poor performance of the team and both drivers fighting on the track and crashing into each other brought out Steiner’s frustration and his signature line. It also focused on Haas’ sponsorship agreement and fall out with Rich Energy Drink.
Episode three was dedicated to the rivalry between Daniel Ricciardo’s move to Renault from Redbull forcing Carlos Sainz to switch to McLaren. The fight between Sainz and Ricciardo seemed a little more dramatically portrayed than meets the eye but it was a fun episode none the less. Parallel to this, the episode also showed Pierre Gasly’s struggle on his debut season with Redbull. In fact, most of the episodes extensively covered RedBull Racing’s 2019 campaign.
Episode four and 6 are the heaviest of the lot as both of them deal with two motorsport personalities that the fraternity lost last year. One was the death of the legend and former world champion, Niki Lauda. The second loss was the tragic loss of Anthoine Hubert. The Formula 2 driver’s fatal crash sent shockwaves through the paddock and the world as the 22-year-old driver passed away after a mid-race crash last year during the Belgian GP. Drive to Survive brilliant paid tribute to Hubert, while also allowing drivers who were most close to him vent our their feelings and their thoughts and mindsets.
The battle at Ferrari on track and internally is showcased in full glory in the seventh episode. The rivalry and relationship between the four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc has been put out in the open and their reactions to decisions of the team and each other, especially the incident at the Brazilian GP when both Ferraris collided. But one thing that Netflix left out of the edit was Vettel’s Canadian Grand Prix penalty and the moment he swapped the finishing positions in parc ferme before the podium ceremony. Hearing his thoughts after that incident would have been interesting.
The rest of the episodes talked about Williams and their struggle during the season with their car, the driver makes with Nico Hulkenberg being replaced by Esteban Ocon from 2020 and how drivers are getting ready for the upcoming 2020 season. On the other hand, Lando Norris, Daniil Kvyat and teams like Racing Point, and Alfa Romeo were left out entirely, the ending of the show was stolen by Kimi Raikkonen’s 5-second cameo. While every driver talked about what their plans were for 2020, their emotions and what it means to them, Raikkonen simply said “its more like a hobby for me. So obviously I don’t need to do if I don’t want”, had Netflix stopped it right there, it would have been even more satisfying.
Some, who did not follow the 2019 F1 season entirely, may find Drive to Survive difficult to keep up with the haphazard chronology. But cumulatively, it did the job reasonably well to round it all up at the ned. Needless to say, we can’t wait for the 2020 F1 season to begin as Mercedes have already created quite a stir in the paddock at pre-season testing. More importantly, we can’t wait for Formula 1 Drive to Survive Season 3. If you haven’t seen it yet, and you do have a Netflix account, unlike Ferrari’s Mattia Binotto, then the 40-off minute 10-episode series will be well worth your time. Whether you’re a fan of the sport, or only getting into the nuances of Formula 1, there is something for everyone.