Netflix’s Formula 1: Drive to Survive finds pressure at the core of F1

Daniel Ricciardo is one of the best drivers in F1, and he absolutely shines in <em>Formula 1: Drive to Survive</em>, a new 10-part documentary on Netflix.

Enlarge / Daniel Ricciardo is one of the best drivers in F1, and he absolutely shines in Formula 1: Drive to Survive, a new 10-part documentary on Netflix. (credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

For much of this century, the sport of Formula 1 was trapped in amber. Its owners were more interested in sucking out profits than reinvesting them. As a result, the sport’s management was able to ignore the Internet for as long as possible, a fad that would soon surely die. But in 2017 Liberty Media bought F1 from the vultures, with a promise to embrace the Internet, not ignore it. And it has. F1’s YouTube content is great, and the sport got a bit more tolerant to people sharing their experiences on social media. Last year, Formula 1 launched a streaming platform in markets where TV contracts made that permissible. And now, F1 is on Netflix.

Formula 1: Drive to Survive is a 10-part series from the producer of the documentaries Senna and Amy. It’s officially blessed, which means cameras got access to everything in a sport that has spent years redefining the art of keeping people out. The series follows F1 across the 2018 season, one that I think was better than most of the recent hybrid era what with two teams vying for the title. Don’t expect to see much of that story, though. When Liberty asked all the teams to take part, Mercedes and Ferrari told them to pound sand.

That means no Lewis Hamilton trolling his haters or Vettel talking about pressure and unforced errors. Their loss is the rest of the sport’s gain, and the show is better because of it. Daniel Ricciardo shines, swearing like a trooper along the way. As does Guenther Steiner, the similarly foul-mouthed team principal for Haas, the sole American team in the sport. The title makes plenty of sense: each episode, we get a new example of the pressure one can feel at the leading edge of motorsport.

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Source: Ars Technica

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