SUZUKA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 13: Start during the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka Circuit on October 13, 2019 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Peter J Fox/Getty Images)

Netflix Formula 1 Drive to Survive Recommendation

Netflix Formula 1 Drive to Survive Recommendation
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Netflix Formula 1 Drive to Survive Recommendation. I already understand how awkward this recommendation looks. THiNC. is a movie site that specializes in mindjobs and cleverness. Heck, on a bad day, we might even recommend mainstream Hollywood movies if we have to. But sports? Racing? Gah. I know, something just feels really off about this whole thing – beginning to end. So, do me a favor, and don’t give me crap about this. Just hear me out, and maybe it’ll make sense by the end of all the words. Fair enough?

Deep breath. Okay, listen. I don’t really care whether you are a sports fan, of any sort, at all. This show is for you. I don’t care if you know about racing, or about cars in general. Doesn’t matter. Actually, the less you know, the more this recommendation is for you actually. You hardcore racing fans? I’m pretty sure you already know about this show, and you already hate it. So you elitists amongst us, can skip this one, and just pick up my next movie recommendation, and we’ll just go on like this recommendation never happened, okay? But for the hoi polloi of the racing world among us, trust me, you will enjoy this show.

To the uninitiated, the F1 racing circuit is a gratuitously expensive way for rich people to throw their money away. Land rockets with idiot men attached to them? Yeah, sounds about right. And when you or I watch a race… blue car, red car, white car, white car, passes red car, checkered flag, white car wins. Okay. Whatever. But there is so much more to the F1 world than just checkered flags and endless circling of random tracks around the world. But, without some sort of infield pass, we aren’t going to see any of those deeper details. It’s just not going to happen.

BUT WAIT, that is where the Netflix show, Formula 1 Drive to Survive comes in. Netflix pays a modest fee to F1 itself, and F1 distributes money to the teams based on how well they do in the season. (Which makes no sense to me because it is the struggling teams that seem to get way more air time on the show.) And it was rumored that the top teams got about a million dollars each, the lesser teams got something like $250,000. Which, in a sport where budgets are upwards of $500 million? That is peanuts. (The past couple years, with Covid, etc., the teams have agreed to drop team budgets to $145 million. Even so, $250,000 is more a budgeting hassle than a payout.) But it isn’t Netflix that needs F1, its F1 that needs Netflix. F1 actually saw their viewership worldwide drop over the years because of their decision to hide the races behind expensive broadcasting agreements.

Netflix Formula 1 Drive to Survive Recommendation

F1: Drive to Survive’s Brilliance

So F1 needs Netflix. But why? Why? It’s because the brilliance of F1 is all behind the scenes. And only seeing the races and a few odds and ends interviews tells nothing about the chaos going on behind the scenes. First, think about the difficulty of the task at hand. The physicality of crafting a rocket on wheels that can burst to 223 mph (359 kph) is unbelievably difficult. (Watching team HAAS see their cars do well in Qualifying, only to watch all their speed bleed away as the engines overheated is a great example of just how difficult this all really is.) So the engineering is complicated, and the melding of the engineering and the art that is driving is even more interesting. Then there are the personalities. Just watching blue car, red car, white car, red car, go round… you lose 99% of the brilliance that is the sport. The drivers, who are all basically fighter pilots, have egos the size of entire planets. They butt heads with other teams, and other drivers on the circuit. Worse, they are even fighting for position against the other driver on their own team. Heck, some of the greatest drama comes from intra-team rivalries. Watching Red Bull’s two drivers crash into each other, over and over again, is the epitome of chaos and this drama repeats itself across other teams as well as their two drivers fight for position in the team. And this chaos makes for glorious story telling.

The show also is a great primer for the uninitiated. I didn’t understand the rules for the larger Championship Cup, but as the series unfolds, you sort of accidentally osmose how the system works. It also will teach you how Qualifying works. How pit-stops work. (And don’t work!) It will also teach you what is necessary from a marketing and a budgeting standpoint. You meet the money behind the teams, the drivers, the mechanics, heck, you even meet the guys that change the tires in the pit-stops. Each episode sets up a dilemma, or a problem, or a new team you haven’t met before. And it then follows the team in to a race or two, giving you the highlights of what happened in the race specifically focusing on the team, or the issue, the episode is focusing on. In season 1, Hamilton of team Mercedes Benz wasn’t mentioned but like once? But he destroyed the field as he went on to win the cup. Again, the brilliance of the show isn’t in how it tracks the winners, but more so the personalities and the struggles and difficulties in the sport.

And one of the most interesting details worth watching is when the teams release a driver, bring on a new driver, or there is even the threat of a change in the sport. There are only 20 drivers total in all of F1. Twenty. So, one little move, or threat of a move even, will cause shock-waves across all the drivers on all the teams as the moves play out. And ultimately, the crashes, podium wins, the failings, all play into that larger drama throughout the sport.

But regardless of your love of racing. Regardless of your idea of watching cars circle endlessly around a track. Regardless of your over-all fandom of sports in general, or hatred thereof, I have a feeling pretty much anyone will love this Netflix show. I may, or may not, become an F1 fan. I’m not sure yet what I think of the races themselves, but I am definitely an enormous fan of the show itself. It brings a much larger scope and scale to the larger world of F1 racing… and it is really very addictive. I’ve now watched 6 or 7 races start to finish, and they are interesting. But nothing quite as good as the Netflix show itself. And I know this is sacrilege, but I’ve starting watching an episode, and then watching the races start to finish that the episode covered. I’m sure I’m breaking some unwritten F1 rules out there somewhere – but it’s a pattern that I’ve come to enjoy.

Don’t believe me that this should be your next Netflix series, check out this write up by The Ringer. It really does a great job of succinctly selling the show. If sport really is your thing, maybe check out my List of Best Sport Documentaries. Or possibly the marvelous Borg vs. McEnroe? Or maybe a look at free diving in the movie Big Blue? Yes, you are correct, I generally do not talk about sports movies – normally I find them way too formulaic and predictable. OH, HE LOST? OH, NO? HE SHOULD TRAIN. HE TRAINED! HE WON!!! WOOT!!! Bah. I mean, Kudos to Sylvester Stallone for his amazing Rocky screenplay that built this formula… but. Did you jump in and give the show a shot? Tell us what you like about it. Or heck, just make fun of me for being late to the show. Whatever… just do it down below in the comments!

Edited by: CY