Formula 1: Drive to Survive returned to Netflix last week and I'm here to tell anyone who hasn't watched it that they should. It is, quite simply, the best sports-related television show available right now. Trust me, I've watched any show you could possibly suggest, and Drive to Survive is better, even if you aren't interesting in motor racing.
I don't watch Formula 1 regularly and only really started paying any attention to it a few years ago after seeing the first season of the show. Drive to Survive is in its third season and has gotten progressively better each year. The latest 10-episode series focuses on the COVID-impacted 2020 F1 campaign and takes as deep a dive into the sport it covers as any sports documentary series I've ever watched.
So what makes the show so great? Well, to keep it simple, everyone hates each other. The teams hate each other, the owners hate each other, the drivers hate each other, even the drives on the same teams can't stand one another. It's an aspect of the sport I've never considered, but literally every single person attached to the circuit is competing with everyone else.
That creates great drama as the teams jockey for position, while the drivers within those teams attempt to out-drive each other. There's so much toxic energy that it carries a reality-show vibe. The difference is that away from the track, most of the people involved seem like decent people. But put them in a racing context and it all changes.
The main storylines in Season 3 deal with the simmering competition and deteriorating relationship between Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, Ferrari's awful season, Daniel Ricciardo's strained relationship with Renault, virtually the entire circuit complaining about Racing Point's potentially illegal car and the fiery crash that nearly killed Haas driver Romain Grosjean.
The series is engrossing and will make you care about a sport many in American ignore. It's phenomenal, comprehensive and the cinematography and camera work is the best I've ever seen in a sports television show.
If you've never watched Formula 1: Drive to Survive, start streaming it now. Begin with Season 1 and work your way through it. I guarantee you'll get sucked in and wind up loving it.