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Is Formula 1: Drive to Survive up to the challenge of documenting an actual race?

  • "What DTS did not have in its first three seasons, somewhat oddly for a show about sports, was championship stakes," says Michael Baumann of the Netflix docuseries. "There was a title fight (kind of) in 2018, the year that matched with the show’s first season: Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel topped the table after 10 of 21 races, before Lewis Hamilton won eight of the last 11 and sauntered away with the title. But that wouldn’t have mattered for the show anyway—neither Vettel nor Hamilton participated in the first go-around. The 2019 and 2020 F1 seasons were even less dramatic, as Hamilton and Mercedes put the title to bed early in both campaigns. The genius of Drive to Survive, then, was its ability to create stakes and find stories in the middle and back of the competitive order—no small feat for a franchise created for a ringz-obsessed American audience. Over the course of months or years, Netflix tracked drivers like Pierre Gasly and Sergio Pérez on journeys of disappointment and redemption. Even the business side of the sport got a long look, as Force India went under and Williams and Haas nearly followed suit. Viewers came to understand the unforgiving world of engine supply politics and the tricky (and occasionally fraud-riddled) dance of recruiting sponsors. But that changes in Season 4."

    TOPICS: Formula 1: Drive to Survive, Netflix, Reality TV