Has Formula 1 Management succeeded in presenting the sport to a new generation of fans with its Netflix series ‘Drive to Survive’?
Daniel Ricciardo, Esteban Ocon and Kevin Magnussen are among the drivers who feature prominently in the series.
However several fans did remark on how little coverage the series gave to the championship fight between Mercedes and Ferrari. Both teams refused to allow Netflix’s crew the same access they enjoyed to the other eight teams.
Read RaceFans’ reviews of all 10 episodes – with spoilers hidden by default – here:
- “Episode 1: All to Play For” – “As an opening salvo, “All to Play For” sets the bar high”
- “Episode 2: The King of Spain” – “Proves there is ample drama in F1 even without the involvement of the two big teams”
- “Episode 3: Redemption” – “The testy exchanges between Williams and backer Lawrence Stroll are positively excruciating”
- “Episode 4: The Art of War” – “The take-no-prisoners Horner and Abiteboul exchanges make this the pick of the 10”
- “Episode 5: Trouble at the Top” – “It’s curious that McLaren’s plight is not shown against the rising form of Toro Rosso”
- “Episode 6: All or Nothing” – “I’d recommend skipping this one”
- “Episode 7: Keeping Your Head” – “If your name is Romain Grosjean, it will feel like five hours”
- “Episode 8: The Next Generation” – “The programme-makers felt the need to get creative with the facts”
- “Episode 9: Stars and Stripes” – “Contrived at best and artificial at worst”
- “Episode 10: Crossing the Line” – “Its faults notwithstanding, an essential watch for all F1 fans”
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F1 fans feedback on Drive to Survive
I think it is safe to say that Drive to Survive is my new favorite series. Even though I'm not the biggest F1 fan, this serious is fantastic!
— Alleric 'Ulti' Enslin (@AllericEnslin) March 11, 2019
I’m watching F1 Drive To Survive. Basically all the drama of the 2018 season but with that typical Netflix doc polish. Reminds me of the old HBO 24/7 NHL all access series. Can recommend 👍
— wnboo 👻 🎃 (@wnbe_) March 11, 2019
Just watched the @NetflixUK documentary F1:Drive to Survive. Brilliantly done. There should be one done after every season #F1 #RaceWeekend #TeamLH
— Andy Harker (@AndyHarker1) March 11, 2019
If you are even slightly familiar with F1 or are keen on sports in general then watch Formula 1 on Netflix.
Brilliant behind the scenes look as they track a F1 season.
— Ankur Bhardwaj (@Bhayankur) March 11, 2019
F1: Drive To Survive on Netlix makes what is a rich, pretty boy’s sport seem proper thrilling!
— David Brodlie (@DavidBrodlie) March 11, 2019
I'm not an F1 fan but I've been hooked on the Netflix 'Drive To Survive' series. Superb behind the scenes footage 🚥 (best emoji I could find)
— Colin Stewart (@RFC_Colin) March 11, 2019
Okay @F1 , thanks to @netflix and whoever else, you officially have a new fan in me for the 2019 season. That series gave me life.
— Lesego Kotane (@lsgktn) March 11, 2019
Anyone been watching the new Netflix F1 doc 'Drive To Survive'? Ignore the horrendously awful title- it really is worth a watch. Good for non-fans, but also some very illuminating behind-the-scenes stuff for F1 geeks too. Recommended (just ignore the faux 'commentary') 👍🏎️🏁
— Claire 'Pepper Bae’ Jones (@claire_CJ_jones) March 12, 2019
Just finished F1 #DriveToSurvive , great series. Good to see the drivers being ‘real’ and the true emotion of what they go through. Kevin Magnassun and Danny Ric 👍🏻
— Kai (@priesty_lfc) March 11, 2019
Really enjoyed Drive to Survive. Did bring out some personalities and stories that were very interesting and it didn’t gloss over stuff the way F1 has in the past. Liked the way it focuses on the midfield too. Changed my perception of a few teams/drivers.
— Niallmo Goes Cycling (@Niallmo) March 11, 2019
The new @F1 #DriveToSurvive Netflix documentary is well worth a watch – great stories and behind the scenes access in a season with plenty of drama. Felt sorry for Esteban Ocon but money backed drivers still rules over talent…
— Séan Walsh (@walshybhoy) March 11, 2019
So far the f1 documenseries makes me feel bad for @OconEsteban :-/
— Oliver Hunt (@ohunt) March 12, 2019
I’m not big on cars but the Netflix Formula 1 documentary is binge worthy. If your looking for something to watch I would highly recommend it. #F1 #Netflix
— Rachel Kimball (@LovSindarie) March 12, 2019
#FormulaOneDriveToSurvive is fantastic. 4 episodes in and it’s refreshing to see a behind the scenes look at F1.
— Dan Rogers (@DanRoger5) March 12, 2019
The new docuseries about F1 on Netflix is really quite good. Great look at the business of racing and some of the personalities (both drivers and others).
— Peter Dziedzic (@ptd3001) March 12, 2019
Zero interest in F1 as a sport but this Netflix doc is so good
— Zak (@notzakihas) March 11, 2019
#DriveToSurvive is an absolute masterpiece but the #JulesBianchi episode in particular is beautiful & emotional & everything that #F1 means to me.
— sarah (@sarahkeir1) March 11, 2019
F1 drive to survive on @NetflixUK is fun to watch. Especially the Red Bull/Renault relationship unfold…..
— Karl Gamble (@karlosgamble) March 11, 2019
Watching the @F1 doc on @NetflixUK and its excellent, im not a F1 fan but im intrigued by what happens behind the scenes of all sports.
The best bit is the @redbullracing/@RenaultF1Team rivalry, i had no idea it was so petty
— Peter Mcpartland (@PED7) March 11, 2019
That F1 racing doc on Netflix has me in the mood to start watching it. 2019 season starts this weekend ironically enough. Definitely pulling for the Haas team and Daniel Ricciardo this year.
— Dustin Beethe (@dustinbeethe) March 11, 2019
Pretty awesome to see @KevinMagnussen with @F1 get a taste of some racing on the dirt @carolinaspeed with @TonyStewart in a sprint car. Think I have a new favorite driver in Formula One.
— Derick Stallings (@derickstallings) March 11, 2019
Just watching that Netflix thing on F1, great for 4K visuals, but god on earth @alo_oficial’s race at Baku in 2018 is still a thing of beauty. That car shouldn’t have made the finish. How?! How!!?! #forzafernando
— Naithan Ariane (@NaithanAriane) March 11, 2019
the ocon focused episode of the f1 series on netflix just made me want to blubber. he deserves a seat and it’s so sad that he doesn’t have one 😭😭
— 🍊 Sinnie 🍊 (@Sinniebaby) March 11, 2019
Damn these little school kids in the @netflix @F1 doco are really holding Nico Hülkenbergs feet to the fire over his results. After finding out he hasn't won any GP's one of the kids challenges him to have "a growth minset" 😂😂
— David (@Daveo_au) March 11, 2019
Mercedes and Ferrari missed out
The worst thing about the Drive To Survive F1 documentary on Netflix is that Mercedes and Ferrari refused to feature in it for some unknown reason which really hurts it.
The two teams that were fighting for the championship in such an incredible season, and they're not featured.
— //HADZ// (@hadztv) March 11, 2019
Enjoying the @NetflixUK documentary on @F1 2018, very good insight to how the teams operate. It’s a shame that @MercedesAMGF1 & @ScuderiaFerrari decided not to take part which I think is petty and disrespectful to the F1 fans and the sport.
— Andy Priestley (@Priestley_AP) March 11, 2019
#f1 #DriveToSurvive is one of the best shows on @NetflixUK I can't wait for season 2 @F1 please try and make more teams take part.
— Andy (@DrewzerHD) March 11, 2019
Sure it would have been nice to have @MercedesAMGF1 & @ScuderiaFerrari title battle @netflix compelling recap of 2018 #DriveToSurvive
But the troubles face by rest of the grid reminds us all that #F1 is so much more
— Menebrio (@Menebrio) March 11, 2019
#DrivetoSurvive really got me excited for the upcoming F1 season. A pity Ferrari & Mercedes didn't participate at all but gotta love Max Verstappen! 🙌🏾🤣
— Bushido D. Brown (@Oageng_Mp) March 12, 2019
Just finished F1: drive to survive. Can't believe they almost completely ignored the Mercedes drivers.
Other than that, it was good.
— EMRacing (@emracing96) March 12, 2019
Hats off to @netflix for #DriveToSurvive #F1 @F1 series! Awesome job and amazing to relive the 2018 Championship, Great job! Will there be a season 2? @MercedesAMGF1 and @ScuderiaFerrari ….booo for not participating… too bad for you… you're missing out big time!
— Philippe Prochasson PhD 🧬 (@philoutweet4u) March 12, 2019
I love this #F1 on @netflix – Just a shame the World Championship battle plays out like a footnote in it. :l
— Kai (@SnowyKai) March 11, 2019
But not everyone is impressed
F1 Drive to survive on Netflix is such a disappointment, looks like they want to show drama and use some very creative editing to achieve that. Then Will Buxton acts like a total Fanboy who clearly is not a fan of some drivers. What a shitshow💩
— Pascal Ammerdorfer (@Pas_Ammerdorfer) March 11, 2019
This F1 doc on Netflix is much worse than the filler on Sky F1 between race weekends
— Charles COYS (@charlesrich82) March 11, 2019
Finished the @netflix #f1 drive to survive documentary thingy. It’s okay. But please get rid of that fake commentary voice over. Feels like commentary from the F1 game.
— Chaitanya (@ChaiAsInTea) March 12, 2019
Watched 3 episodes and I am so disappointed from the @F1 show in @netflix so far… I cannot believe they don’t mention ANYTHING about the timings and points and results about the races! They are trying to make a reality show by taking out the essence of racing!?
— Yousif Al Askari (@3askeri) March 11, 2019
My only issue with the @BoxtoBoxFilms F1 series on Netflix is that they create a narrative that is very disingenuous for new fans. Perez didn't cost Ocon a seat, and Verstappen didn't push Ricciardo out, Helmut Marko & Dieter Mateschitz did that all by themselves.
— Alistair McIntyre (@_alistairnz) March 11, 2019
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2019 F1 season
- McLaren Racing reports reduced £71 million loss in 2019
- Kvyat: Hockenheim podium last year was “my biggest achievement” so far
- How the FIA’s new encrypted fuel flow meter targets Ferrari’s suspected ‘aliasing’ trick
- “He smashed my office door”: 23 must-see moments from ‘Drive to Survive’ season two
- ‘I should have done a better job. There’s things that I know I can do better’
37 comments on “Netflix F1 series gets rave reviews from fans on social media”
Ben Needham (@ben-n)
12th March 2019, 11:45
I was neither here nor there on it. It was nice to have some Formula One content to pass the time before this weekend, but it was all a little too contrived in many places for my liking. The ridiculous sound effects they added just made my skin crawl (extra “skid” sounds, the driver heavy breathing before the lights go out or while overtaking etc.).
I see what they’re trying to do with it and appreciate that the truth has to be extended to the maximum for cinematic effect; but as a die-hard, it bothered me a little in places. With free-to-air options worldwide getting less common, this is the only way that Formula One can speak to a new generation of fans. Young fans won’t stumble across live Formula One while channel hopping anymore, but they may well have watched this (if they’re old enough for the swearing!) and become hooked. If so, then brilliant and the documentary has served a purpose.
The insights to specific drivers and stories were interesting, particularly the Ricciardo/Red Bull and Haas storylines. On the flipside though, I did find it a little boring and slow in places.
All in all, certainly worth a watch, but I didn’t feel as excited by it as some people did.
Jimmi Cynic (@jimmi-cynic)
12th March 2019, 21:45
@ben-n: You’re very diplomatic. I’m appointing you as my diplomacy adviser, before I go off the deep end slagging on it.
IMO, it was terrible for existing F1 fans and totally deceitful to newbies. While Liberty must be excited to see the hollywooding of F1, this format could have been used for Crashcar or Indy or [Your Generic Racing Series Goes Here].
The series producers didn’t explain why F1 is special – the hows and why of bespoke engineering. Why are these 20 drivers regarded as the best in the world (pay drivers excluded). Instead they just smash smash boom boomed into the faux drama of clashing drivers. With a little sociopathic team principal spice on top.
While many want more teams in F1, Netflix cuts the field. At the wrong end. Merc and Ferrari declined to be involved in the Netflix reality tv series. Only wish the other 8 teams had the dignity to do the same.
13th March 2019, 9:24
@jimmi-cynic I can understand how many passionate F1 lovers feels about the series, but the moment some friends texted me to say “I watched the Netflix series and now I’m hooked! Tell me more about F1” I thought that Netflix actually nailed it.
I mean, it is much more dramatic than it was in “real time”, but the 2018 season really offered all that drama. They did their work, they highlighted it. OK, the sound isn’t real, but the images are. And the voices and emotions are, too. Of course they put accents where they needed to, after all it’s a TV series, not a documentary.
The key is the suspension of disbelief: if you watch the series from an expert standpoint, you’ll never enjoy it. Simply put, it isn’t Formula 1. It’s a story, made with other purposes. You have to suspend your critical side to enjoy the show.
What was the purpose? To popularize F1 and to entertain, IMHO. If my little circle of acquaintances has any statistical meaning, they nailed the first and if my taste means something they nailed the second too.
David BR (@david-br)
13th March 2019, 0:26
@ben-n I can live with the special added sound effects, actually I liked them if I’m honest, they were fun. the only thing that really grated for me was the (presumably) fake live commentary (“and Sainz has beaten his fellow Spaniard Alonso to 7th place!!!! Astounding!!!!!” or whatever it was) mixed in with real commentary from the races. Obviously the absence of Ferrari and Mercedes makes the entire series lopsided, but then the media attention is usually mostly on them, so it felt like a counterbalance at least. It’s not exactly revolutionary documentary stuff, but in terms of reanimating F1, it’s surely a success.
12th March 2019, 11:50
I loved it and really enjoyed the insight and rawness of the paddock.
I must add, Horner makes a fantastic villain :D
12th March 2019, 13:13
I’m living it as well.
Not seen the whole series yet as I’m dosing it until Friday.
12th March 2019, 14:48
Much as Lawrence Stroll to Claire Williams throughout the robotic ken doll acting like of Lance.
12th March 2019, 11:50
A colleague at work love it – wasn’t an F1 fan but it was enough to convince him to start following some races.
If there are more out there like that then mission accomplished for those who put it together, I would say!
For me, it was ok. A little bit of a remedial education in many parts but it also had some genuinely enlightening insights – e.g. the dynamic between Horner and Abiteboul.
Rick D. (@partsguy20)
12th March 2019, 21:02
I laughed when Abiteboul told Horner something to the effect of “now you need an engine AND a driver!”. No love lost between those two.
I think this series was well done. Not perfect, but pulling back the curtain on our sport is always welcome in my opinion. I hope it wasn’t just a one-time thing!
12th March 2019, 12:16
It does seem like a winner for Liberty in particular – seeing the interest that non-F1 fans have shown in it.
If it does frustrate current fans for its contrived drama, but brings in new fans, I think Liberty will view that as a perfectly acceptable compromise.
12th March 2019, 13:14
I dont understand whos the target audience. If you’re new to F1 then you will not understand it from the get go. Especially the opening is very poor. I’ve tried it on partners and friend who do not get F1 and they were bored after 10 mins. If you’re a fan, nothing new will be shown. I literally do not know what ai’ve watching and whom its for
12th March 2019, 12:28
I have only seen the first 2 episodes since, for me, it all seemed a bit fake and over-the-top dramatic. Cearly made by someone looking at the world throught american hyperbolic filter. I could not watch it. It was almost as if the “drama” was the center element and the racing was a distraction. ex: Sainz being a lifelong Alonso fan and finally getting to race his idol.
I suspect Sainz Junior has a certain other Spanish Motorsport idol in even higher regard, and they share a bit of DNA here and there. Then there’s the whole Renault vs. McLaren, in 2018. Anyone who knows anything of Team’s power balances is mostly annoyed by the fakeness of the “drama”.
Ant then there is the constant back-and-forth from winter testing to whatever GP is in the episode, and slight hints of SJW propaganda, which I have also noticed during the live races.
Americans are ruining F1, can’t believe I am saying it, bring back Bernie!
12th March 2019, 12:58
I am Guessing that Sainz Jnr Genuinely did hold his Father in high regard. However he probably barely remembers his fathers efforts as he would have been too young. Alonso was in F1 during Sainz Jnrs most formative years in motorsport and I can’t see why it is hard to believe that he was a major hero to him. That drama is real and not contrived at all? I mean I can not imagine how I would have felt if I got to race against Senna, Mansell or Prost while they were still in professional racing!
I am loving the series and the “Contrived Drama” that people seem to be complaining about seems a little off as to me it is more Enhanced Drama rather than Contrived. F1 is full of drama and that is what many fans love about it. However F1 documentaries are often quite dry and rarely get this drama across at all. I watched the Grand tours mini film about Jim Clark and it was fascinating. It was enhanced by the artistic effects and was the better for it. If it was just the story told by a monotone voice then it would not have been as good.
Rick D. (@partsguy20)
12th March 2019, 21:04
I agree with all of what you said!
13th March 2019, 3:14
I thought your criticisms (minus the Saint one, but lee1 already covered that) were all perfectly valid until you brought up SJW propaganda and ended it with “bring back Bernie!” Then you lost all credibility.
13th March 2019, 17:57
Grid Girls being banned was the final straw, the camel’s parents were against vaxxination, and so it’s back was not strong enough to carry american identity politics. I predict it will be a rapid downhill from here onwards. Pay attention to the races this year and notice the subtle hints.
Do yourself a favor and memorize the part you quoted, and make it your mantra when the “W-Series” injects it’s first diversity driver into F1.
12th March 2019, 12:30
Mercedes are the new Ferrari, and Ferrari are still Ferrari. Not only on the media approach but on track as well. Does that make sense?
12th March 2019, 13:16
12th March 2019, 13:25
You’re ill advised to milk them; being bullies they won’t give you what you’re expecting ;)
12th March 2019, 16:10
@coldfly the bullies usually end up serving milkshakes, that what american movies taught me at least
12th March 2019, 13:26
I’ve been really enjoying it, and was expecting it to have a good impac t on casual and new fans.
The thing I think I liked best is how they really took the political drama, owned it, and made it a feature. For me, this is crucial to formula one (and I know many will disagree). If I want pure on-track action (and I do) I watch F3. F1 is a soap opera, and a much more long term investment as a viewer.
Now of course I’d love to see closer racing. And a closer championship with better revenue structures. But the politics between and within teams is actually an integrall part of our sport that we shouldn’t shy away from.
As for Ferrari and Mercedes absence… honestly, somebody else said it here recently too and I agree, it was better without them. And a good reminder for the people approaching the negotiating table in the coming months that we can make a fantastic “spectacle” with or without their input.
ferrox glideh (@ferrox-glideh)
12th March 2019, 15:41
Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
12th March 2019, 13:30
I binge watched this at the weekend and thought it was thoroughly entertaining. The misplaced dramatics where a bit jarring having followed the season, but this is easily forgivable if it helps bring a new batch of fans to the sport.
Already looking forward to the next seasons, and think Ferrari and Merc will be convinced to join this time after seeing the end product.
12th March 2019, 13:48
I don’t blame Mercedes for not being part of it. It would be a massive PR disaster to see Toto saying “Lewis, we’ve already been through this! You’re not getting paid unless you go out there and say Ferrari are faster than us!”
Ferrari wouldn’t even talk to the press last year, nevermind Netflix so I’m not surprised they didn’t get involved.
12th March 2019, 13:49
Its not that bad.
12th March 2019, 14:14
I enjoyed the series for what it is. The facts in some episodes were definitely moved in and out of context, creating some dramatic replays, but blurring the larger perspective. I was confused on the producer’s selection of those moments, when there were so many others to choose from that played out in real time. To their credit they did pick some good ones, like Daniel’s epic pass happy Hungarian GP (I loved that) and the Red Bull clash in Baku.
Aside from that, the series reinforced my choice of favorite drivers. But also my furthered my distaste of other shark-like characters in the business. This is mainly why I enjoyed it.
12th March 2019, 14:30
I would like to have one of these shows the monday morning after every race weekend. That is the way Liberty can attract new fans.
Mr. Fantastico (@latorres86)
12th March 2019, 15:34
They use to have a short video after each weekend with the highlights. I really enjoyed those and the production was top notch. Sadly they stopped making them.
Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
12th March 2019, 14:58
It was a bit over dramatic but it was good overall. After seeing the Charles episode, I would want him to win the title to honor Jules and his father tbh.
12th March 2019, 15:02
Didn’t do much for me at all – ended up skipping through some parts.
Can’t stand things being made much more dramatic than they actually were (sound effects, reactions etc), but I can see how it might get very casual fans or people who’ve never watched F1 excited.
Mr. Fantastico (@latorres86)
12th March 2019, 15:32
I ultimately think that Mercedez and Ferrari not participating is only detrimental to their own brands. Seeing the acceptance this series is having outside of the regular F1 crowd makes me think they missed out on a lot of free advertising.
Red Bull, as usual, being the masterminds of marketing saw the opportunity and took it.
ferrox glideh (@ferrox-glideh)
12th March 2019, 15:45
I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, especially the Force India story line. I hope that Ocon is able to capitalize on this.
ferrox glideh (@ferrox-glideh)
12th March 2019, 16:40
I also thought the way that the filmmakers presented Nico’s story in ep. 9 was interesting. Nico’s performance may have been overshadowed by Kimi’s performance in the media on that day, but Liberty has made up for that here.
12th March 2019, 18:39
All I want to know is if there is official confirmation of season 2?
12th March 2019, 22:24
Felt it was a bit underwhelming given the “unfettered access” they supposedly had…but that said I can appreciate the programme was never commissioned for diehards like myself. If it grows the casual audience, great, but compared to the likes of the Man City “All or Nothing” series, I feel there’s a lot more that could have been done to bring the viewer on a journey of an F1 championship.
12th March 2019, 23:16
I really enjoy it – it gives a good insight in some of what I miss when watching and reading about F1. Its not perfect, but it is a perfect start and I’m now looking much more forward to the season, because of this Netflix series – and I’ve only seen the first 3.
12th March 2019, 23:37
Didn’t do much for me.
I can see VERY casual fans and those that have never watched F1 getting excited about overly dramatic slow mos, fake sound effects and gasping reactions, but I think actual F1 fans would find it quite amusing.
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