Formula 1: Drive to Survive season 3 review – an exciting reminder of the high stakes in the sport

By Daniel Hart
Published: March 19, 2021 (Last updated: 4 days ago)
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Netflix series Formula 1: Drive to Survive season 3


Formula 1: Drive to Survive brings incredible insight, and it feels like it gets better with each instalment.

Formula 1: Drive to Survive has quickly become a staple series on Netflix, mostly because it gives fans that exclusive look behind the scenes that they are not privy to on the usual sports coverage. The sport is so heavily veiled with technical speak, quick interviews and the race to the chequered flag, that it can often miss the emotions that run behind the people. The series reminds viewers that humans run Formula One, and there’s a lot at stake.

It isn’t easy to talk about Formula 1: Drive to Survive season 3 without talking about covid-19. We are reaching that stage in the streaming schedule that content cannot avoid discussing its impact in all media forms. The first episode is fascinating, where it brings a sense of dreaded nostalgia, much like the emotional finale of Last Chance U: Basketball season 1. It’s horrifying to watch the complacency we faced professionally and personally while the world slowly became its own virus experiment. Lewis Hamilton is outspoken in his words before the Australian Grand Prix, condemning the decision to go ahead with the race, despite sports around the world being cancelled and borders being shut — his famous words at the time were “cash is king”.

But once season 3 gets by the calamities of episode 1, Formula 1: Drive to Survive returns to its stride; it shows how the sport responded with virus measures and restrictions. There were no fans, but the sport, by and large, was back, and it had a revised calendar to ensure that the teams could finish the season. Of course, there was an advantage — the drivers were by definition away from each other, welded into the cockpits of their cars, so the venues only had to ensure that the teams had specific measures in place.

Like the previous seasons, Formula 1: Drive to Survive brings incredible insight, and it feels like it gets better with each instalment. Where previous seasons tended to stray away from giving a full-circle view of all times, season 3 has taken on the challenge of becoming more wide-ranging, with the Netflix team trying to enhance the behind-the-scenes experiences. We feel the anxiety from the other teams when they suspect that Force India had copied Mercedes’ model; we feel the Ferrari team’s frustration as they have yet another average season.

READ: Formula 1: Drive to Survive Season 5 Review

Formula 1: Drive to Survive season 3 explores the pressure put on the teams and the unique personal stake; the sport is not a certainty in career security, and we are reminded frequently that drivers are one race away from losing their seat, or team bosses are a single technical error away from being replaced. It’s a cutthroat industry, and fans will be enamoured by the documentary’s honesty; this is as much a business as a sport, with high-flying, wealthy people running it.

So alas, with the third season gracing our screens, fans will only hope that this continues, and we look forward to Formula 1: Drive to Survive to cover the 2021 season.

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