Review: Drive to Survive


Photo courtesy Pascal Le Segretain/GettyImages. The Netflix logo.

As another Formula 1 season is just around the corner, Netflix recently came out with the third season of Drive to Survive. The show brings an in-depth view of the fastest sport in the world, Formula 1.

In the first season of Drive to Survive, a new look was never before seen as many behind-the-scene altercations were made public. This allowed for personality to shine for the good and bad, such as Hass Team principal Gunther Steiner and journalist, announcer and F1 digital director Will Buxton, and many F1 drivers.

Every team gets a particular episode, or episodes focused on them, allowing the viewer to get engaged and understand who the main personnel is in each team.

Like many sports worldwide, F1 was impacted by COVID-19 but not before the production of the show had begun. Production started before any major closures. No one was wearing a mask, but often drivers and team personnel were joking about COVID-19.

At the beginning of the series, audiences were introduced to the larger-than-life figure, Lawrance Stroll, who owns the Racing Point Formula one team. As the seasons were expected to begin, COVID-19 became more significant in everyday life, and drivers could be seen making jokes. It wasn’t until people contracted COVID-19 that people within Formula 1 started to take the situation seriously.

The first race of the championship would later be canceled due to COVID-19.

F1 is like many other sports. It causes tension between teams, and new viewers who are not knowledgeable may find it difficult to understand why. Often the tension is about off-track incidences, the first being between Redbull Racing and Mercedes that ultimately lead to an appeal that shows the length the teams will go to cancel other teams’ advantage.

The tension between the teams boiled over into the race as Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton crashed into Alex Albon, trying to get the first podium of his career. This led Albon to say that Hamilton is a “sour loser.” 

It is often said that in racing, your biggest rival is your teammate, and they are the first person you need to beat. Valtteri Bottas is a teammate to Hamilton, and with Hamilton being the leader of the team, Bottas had to play mind games with him.

Bottas helped Hamilton’s biggest rival, Max Verstappen, during qualifying during the Sochi Grand Prix. This later caused Hamilton to make a mistake that helped Bottas win during the third episode.

The fourth episode highlights Ferrari’s struggles from being so close to the pinnacle of the sport than just one year later struggling to be relevant. As Ferrari was going through a slump, their premiere driver Sebastian Vettel could not keep morale up as the team thought it was unprofessional to make jokes for a team video.

Like many teams, when things go bad to worse, everyone suffers. While Ferrari was struggling, it happened at the worse possible time as they were in their 1,000th Grand Prix but still were forced to be as positive as ever. This ultimately leads Vettel to leave Ferrari for Aston Martin Racing for the next season.

The connection between a driver and the team he drives for can often be looked at like a marriage, often having extreme highs and the lowest of lows. This becomes more evident than Daniel Ricciardo and Renault’s Formula 1 team because the team could not give him a competitive car causing Ricciardo to leave for rival McLaren before the season started.

However, during episode five, the most important thing is that Racing Point was protested against many teams because they had copied parts from another team. This led the Racing Point owner to make an impromptu speech in which he sounded like a dictator rather than a team owner.

Episode six greatly highlights Frenchman Pierre Gasley through the struggles that many drivers have and must conquer. After being dropped from Redbull racing, he had everything to prove that they made the wrong choice. Gasley would win the Italian Grand Prix in a midfield car a moment that many would see as one of the wholesome moments of the whole series.

Racing drivers are often seen as invincible, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Romain Grosjean was involved in a crash that caused his car to split in half then caught on fire as he was trapped. Grosjean was able to free himself from his car after being trapped for about 20 seconds with only minor burns to his hands. Team principal Steiner would go on to say, ” it was an act of God.”

Formula one, a sport that rewards the people who never give up. After Grojean’s crash, Sergio Perez finished on the podium but was unable to finish the race. At the very next race, he would win after being in the last place of all the cars still running after the first lap. To date, it is his first and only wins after 199 races.

For the hardcore fan of Formula One, it has faults, such as during the Show, cut scenes are at times from the different tracks or different areas of a specific area on a circuit. It can also be difficult for new viewers because terminology can be difficult to understand without knowing the sport.

Drive to Survive allows for the casual viewer to gain interest in the world’s fastest sport. Three seasons are starting about the 2018 Formula one season that can currently be seen on Netflix.