With testing underway and the start of the 2019 Formula 1 season less than three weeks away, now’s the perfect time to relive the excitement of last season with a behind-the-scenes documentary every bit as epic as the sport it chronicles.
Netflix continues dumping truckloads of money into content with Drive to Survive, a 10-part deep-dive into the lives of F1 drivers on and off the track. The show, which debuts March 8, goes beyond the track to provide a potentially fascinating look at the pinnacle of motorsports and the lives of its best drivers.
I say “potentially” because although Drive was produced by James Gay Reese, who made the fantastic Senna (and Amy, about singer Amy Winehouse), racing documentaries are often boring. They’re usually poorly funded hagiographic passion projects that fail to humanize their subjects.
Still, this is Netflix we’re talking about, and the company has a proven, ahem, track record with documentaries. “Netflix was the perfect platform on which to tell the inside story of this incredible sport, says show co-producer Paul Martin. “F1 has long been a world of colorful characters and super-sized ego's, thrills and drama, victory and tragedy but until now that world has been largely hidden and secretive from fans.”
Despite my misgivings, the trailer looks intense. It opens on the grid with closeups of drivers seen through their visors. As the red lights tick down for the standing start, we catch glimpses of drivers and their families beyond the track. Voice-overs from the likes of Christian Horner and Daniel Ricciardo add to the tension. If you feel even the slightest love for the sport, it will give you goosebumps.