TV Review: Drive to Survive

Drive to Survive is a thrilling and insightful look into the world of Formula One, which builds on from its success last year with the addition of Mercedes and Ferrari…

The 10-part docuseries retells some of the most dramatic moments of the 2019 season, with exclusive behind-the-scenes insights. These provide some of the most captivating moments, particularly the two episodes centred around the Red Bull driver swap between Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon which give fascinating glimpses of the personal lives of the two drivers. Another highlight is the eagerly anticipated look at Mercedes during their disastrous home race in Germany.

The series also shines a spotlight on storylines throughout the grid, with two of the best episodes giving insight to the struggles of Haas and Williams. Haas team principle Guenther Steiner gained a reputation for his uncensored rants last season and they return in full as he tries to cope with an underwhelming car and his two drivers crashing into each other. Claire Williams, deputy team principle of Williams, isn’t as blunt as her Italian counterpart and the series gives a fascinating look into her leadership style, which has been heavily criticised in recent years because of her team’s rapid decline in performance.

While these behind-the-scenes looks are brilliant, there simply isn’t enough of it and a lot of the episodes’ time is spent drip-feeding basic information to give baseline context to allow these moments to flourish. While this is undoubtedly needed to inform any casual fans the series is trying to appeal to, more knowledgeable viewers are left bored and at times annoyed by how a narrative is oversimplified or outright fabricated.

The series feels like a big waste of potential at it invents narratives to manufacture tension but ignore real storylines from the season, such as the fake rivalry between Sainz and Riccardo but ignores the bromance between Sainz and his teammate Lando Norris which illuminated the paddock.

Editing is also an area which at times is jarring, with interviews regularly being abruptly ended mid-sentence to fit the storyline of the episode. Netflix also seemed to hire a team of editors who are far too keen to use their power as there are parts where the audio will be of the car downshifting, yet the footage is of the car accelerating and moving up the gears. While this isn’t a major issue, fans will notice it and it is grating once it is noticed.

These flaws are only incidental though, and Drive to Survive is an enjoyable look into the world of Formula One which will entertain fans and engage newcomers looking to find a new sport to love. It delves deep into the personalities which make the sport so engaging and captures tasters of on-track action to send your heart racing at 200mph.

By Lewis Brumby

Feature image credit: Carscoops

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