Review of the documentary series Formula 1: Drive to Survive

Pros: Racing dramas; real emotions; unique footage and interviews; a brief recap of the events of the 2018 racing season; absence of Mercedes and Ferrari Cons: Absence of Mercedes and Ferrari Formula 1: Drive to Survive

Genre documentary series
Creator James Guy-Rees
The film stars Charles Leclerc, Christian Horner, Max Verstappen, Pierre Gasly, Cyril Abiteboul, Nico Hulkenberg, Daniel Ricciardo, Gunther Steiner, Romain Grosjean, Kevin Magnussen, Zac Brown, Carlos Sainz, Lawrence Stroll, Sergio Perez, Lance Stroll, Esteban Ocon , Fernando Alonso, Vijay Mallya and others.
Formula One Channel, Netflix
Year of release 2019
Episodes 10
Site IMDb

Formula 1: Drive to Survive is a recap of the 2018 racing season, focusing on the rivalries between teams and drivers, personal conflicts, aspirations and the drama that the sport is rich in. The series consists of interviews with drivers, team owners and managers, sports journalists and experts; filming in headquarters and paddocks, in the homes of racers. Naturally, there were also fragments of racing, which are presented in the film in such a stunningly vivid and emotional way that they will never be shown during official broadcasts. So even if you closely followed all the twists and turns of the 2018 season, in Drive to Survive you will see the same races from a different side. An excellent occasion to remember the past season on the eve of the new one, because the series was released on Netflix on March 8, and this weekend, March 16-17, the 2019 season starts with a race in Albert Park.

Drive to Survive is a joint production of Formula One Group and Netflix, and the creator of the series was British producer James Guy-Rees, known for his love of documentaries, especially sports ones. His track record includes such critically acclaimed films as Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010), Senna (2010), Amy (2015), Ronaldo (2015) and Maradona (2018).


Even though the championship administration was involved in the project, they were unable to convince some of the teams to allow the film crew into the pits; paranoia about industrial espionage in Formula 1 was always high. It is quite logical that these teams turned out to be the leaders of the peloton, Mercedes and Ferrari. It would seem that a series about the 2018 racing season without the two leading teams would look flawed, but in fact this only benefited Drive to Survive, because the official broadcasts of the race already consist of almost 90% of the confrontation between Mercedes and Ferrari. so there is simply no screen time left for the other teams. In the series, the creators were able to pay attention to the other teams, in which no less dramatic events took place. And in general, the fight for 4-6 places turned out to be so exciting that it almost eclipsed the fifth championship of Lewis Hamilton, who is shown literally briefly in the series.


But the creators paid maximum attention to young drivers, because at the end of 2018, two-time world champion Fernando Alonso left Formula, and the composition of most teams underwent significant changes. The 2019 season will be the youngest since 1950, that is, since the first official championship.


The 2018 season had many bright moments, and the writers of the series were able to turn them into real drama that looks no less exciting than the intrigue in most game series. This is the sad fate of Force India and Vijay Mallya personally; confrontation between Red Bull, Renault and Haas; the conflict between Red Bull and Renault, which led to a personal conflict between Cyril Abiteboul and Christian Horner, a change in engine supplier and the poaching of a driver; the dire situation of Williams and Claire Williams’ attempts to return her father’s team to some glimmer of its former glory; the confrontation between Sergio Perez and the young Esteban Ocon, as a result of which one of the drivers lost his place; the ambitions of Charles Leclerc, who after his first year in Formula 1 was able to realize his dream; the rise and fall of Roman Grosjean and much, much more.


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Each episode is dedicated to a particular story, unfolding over several stages, but as a whole the series begins with the start of the season and ends with the final race. So, if you haven’t watched racing for a long time, Drive to Survive is a great way to get up to speed, understand who’s who in modern Formula and fall in love with this sport again.


It worked for me, an avid fan in 2002-2012, who stopped watching after Schumacher’s second retirement; I got ready to watch the race in Australia. All that remains is to choose who to root for. Charles Leclerc looks very promising, especially driving such a car, again, “Luigi is always a Ferrari fan!” However, now that, thanks to the series, I am so familiar with the drivers of Haas, Renault and Red Bull, it will be very difficult to choose just one. Max Verstappen, Pierre Gasly, Daniel Ricciardo, Carlos Sainz, Sergio Perez – all deserve to win and are very ambitious. For some, the podium will already be a huge success, while others are aiming for the champion’s crown. Let’s see, this season promises to be interesting.


Let’s hope Formula One and Netflix renew the show for a second season, and this time force Mercedes and Ferrari to open their pits.


A unique and very emotional look at Formula 1 racing

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