‘Formula 1: Drive to Survive’ Season 1 Review

By Daniel Hart
Published: March 8, 2019 (Last updated: November 11, 2023)
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Formula 1: Drive to Survive - Netflix Docuseries


Relying on the dramatics of the sport, Formula 1: Drive to Survive is an insightful docuseries that goes behind the scenes of the FIA 2018 season.

Here is a boring fact about me: Formula 1 is the only boring sport I like. Forget cricket, forget golf and forget watching dope-ridden cycling – Formula 1 is my lazy Sunday watch, while most of my friends despise it. I did wonder how Netflix docuseries Formula 1: Drive to Survive would format each episode. The direction chosen was sensible.

Rather than involve themselves with the drivers at the top driving for the championship each week, Formula 1: Drive to Survive gives the fans a more open view of what happens in the paddock. The main gripe a neutral Formula 1 fan has with the daily coverage is its preferred route to focus on the premium championship outfits; I’m a sole supporter of Lewis Hamilton, but it would be good if I learned more about the other teams – I don’t switch off if he crashes out of the race.

Formula 1: Drive to Survive attempts to make the viewers understand how dangerous the sport is; on TV it is easy to believe that it looks safe because we are not there to breathe in the polluted air and stand near the extremely hot engines. The documentary series does a really good job in dramatizing the moments where an incident occurs, and the effects it has on the team.

Speaking of teams, Formula 1: Drive to Survive does an excellent job in investigating the members of each outfit, rather than focusing on the driver. It makes a salient point in the opening episode that once the driver is racing, he is on his own, stuck in his cockpit in a bubble, while his garage is running around panicking, looking at data and waiting to switch tires. If you honestly analyze the sport, what happens off the track is as important as what happens on it, and sometimes more entertaining.

Formula 1: Drive to Survive scopes the entire 2018 season, case studying various drivers and documenting specific scenarios that happened. If you watched the 2018 season, then you will know what happens, so the excitement is not as impactful, but witnessing behind the scenes is intriguing. The Netflix docuseries is not particularly unique in the way it is directed, and sometimes it relies on dramatic music to get its point across, but if you are into sports documentaries, which seem to be in trend these days, then you will get on fine with Formula 1: Drive to Survive. 

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