“At the end of the day, if you can’t cope with pressure and scrutiny, you’re never gonna make it at the highest level in Formula 1.”
“You know, if they’re good enough, they swim, they survive. If they’re not good enough…”
Christian Horner, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Team Principal
There is only one who wins. Then, you can be second, third, twentieth, but still you’re not the winner. You’re a loser.
You can earn a podium thanks to someone else’s penalty, or fight until the very last second before the checkered flag: you still earn your points, you’re the man of the weekend, then another one comes and you can destroy everything.
This is what “Formula 1: Drive to survive” tells the audience from a particular point of view: the main protagonists.
Everything a driver says after a session, a Grand Prix, in an interview, is always a small part of the truth: every answer comes from PR’s advice, every problem is kept undercover, to protect the team from media speculations and from other teams.
Despite some bad video editing of the racing moments, to make the story more exciting on the screen, the Netflix documentary shows pieces of the story that we didn’t have access to during the 2019 season.
“People just think we have a car and it goes around the world to every race. A few guys change the tyres on it, and that’s about it.”
Claire Williams, ROKit Williams Racing Deputy Team Principal
After last season, where the main show was focused on the Renault - Red Bull agreement fight and on the Haas team, all eyes were obviously on Guenther Steiner. The Italian team principal, during 2019, had to deal with a lot of issues on the VF-19. These led to the end of the partnership with Rich Energy, their main sponsor, during the season, and a brutal, internal situation in the team which almost made the Team Principal drop both his drivers.
But this is just the start.
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BE CAREFUL, SPOILERS AHEAD
Drive To Survive Season 2 is seriously a roller coaster of emotions: if one is winning, the other one must lose, because there can only be one winner.
And so the duality starts with Daniel Ricciardo, choosing Renault over McLaren during 2018, realizing how Carlos Sainz, instead, made the right choice and is the right man for McLaren.
Both teams fought for the fourth place in the constructors and obviously Sainz’s podium in Brazil is the proven evidence of who, between the two of them, made the right choice.
Both ex Red Bull’s drivers, both in search of space and fresh air because of Max Verstappen’s cumbersome presence, the young drivers show the camera how their new journeys start, how difficult it is to adapt to a new team, a new car, of one of them succeed to this better than the other.
And, speaking of new teams, another big part of the show is dedicated to the Gasly- Albon switch.
“I wanna know guys that you tell the truth or not, so.. that’s why I just asked you to know in which way it’s being said.”
Pierre Gasly, Red Bull Racing - Toro Rosso (now Alpha Tauri) Formula 1 driver
The narrator for this story is obviously Christian Horner, a man who shows, in this documentary more than ever, how Formula 1 is made of people, but also money. It is a show, but it is also about result, about goals, and if you can’t reach them, you’re out.
Maybe this is the best part of the entire narration: the glacial point of view of a man who runs a company, two young drivers with a story behind, all while another young guy, Anthoine Hubert, lost his life doing what he loved.
The Red Bull switch is one of the highest points of the entire series, a line which goes on until the last episode, where Gasly takes his revenge and conquers his first podium. You must watch it to understand.
Again, if one is winning, another one is losing: Claire Williams shows everything that happened during last seasons, with the teams arriving late to the pre-season testing in Barcelona. From Paddy Lowe’s role in the story, to George Russell and Robert Kubica’s dreamy comeback to Formula 1, Claire knows what she wants: stay in Formula 1 and honor Williams’ story.
At the same time, Mercedes welcomes Netflix’s cameras for the first time at the German Grand Prix, the lowest point of the season for them. Mercedes and Hamilton have been flawless for six years, but still, after Niki Lauda’s loss, sickness and other issues, Lewis Hamilton still apologizes to his team for his performance, showing again what a real champion is.
Another champion who had some troubles last season is Sebastian Vettel: Scuderia Ferrari joins the documentary, telling the audience about the internal rivalry between the four time world champion and the young star Charles Leclerc, among all the issues Ferrari had during the season. And still, Toto Wolff calling Cyril Abiteboul to get Esteban Ocon a seat, all while Nico Hulkenberg lost the “musical chairs” game to stay in the paddock.
The element mixed in the documentaries bring the audience a very good insight into the Formula 1 world, thanks also to Will Buxton’s comments over the narrations. Still, this is very far from what the Paddock is really like, but some drivers, more than the others, are willing to share their side of the story, their emotions, their thoughts.
Formula 1 drivers are heroes to everyone, but the truth is that they’re humans just like us. They have emotions when they jump out of the car and Netflix’s Drive to Survive brings us a special access to the human side of Formula 1.
Racing is everything for them, racing is life. And here, you must survive.
Netflix's Formula 1: Drive to Survive is available worldwide on the streaming platform Netflix form February 28th.