“When a driver starts to get scared, he has to stop doing this job.” This is the concept with which the first episode of Formula 1 opens: Drive to Survive, the new episodic documentary by Netflix, entirely dedicated to the Formula 1 circus.

A series that, along the lines of the one recently dedicated to Juventus, lingers within the teams and the private lives of managers and drivers, recounting an aspect of the top motorsport series, which is often not shown on television.

Developed over ten episodes, the TV series follows Grand Prix after Grand Prix throughout the 2018 season that has just passed, however, focusing – in a very intelligent way – the attention on many second-tier figures and teams, avoiding top teams such as Ferrari and Mercedes (exception made for Red Bull) more known in the media and in the spotlight.

And it is precisely through the stories of Gunther Steiner (Haas Sporting Director), Cyril Abiteboul (Renault F1), and Zak Brown (McLaren CEO), we will go to experience a season “in the company” of these teams that, due to smaller budgets than the top, they fight for positions far from the podium; positions that require a lot of work and sacrifice on the part of the whole team to get to points in every Grand Prix.

Unpublished images, which tell of the political weight that some teams exert in the paddock.

The beauty of “Drive to Survive” lies precisely in the elegance and precision with which the cameras told the behind the scenes of F1. Over the course of the ten episodes, topics read and debated by fans are touched upon, such as: the passage of Ricciardo from Red Bull to Renault, the difficulties of Williams and the cumbersome presence of Lawrence Stroll, the engine case between Red Bull and Renault, Fernando Alonso’s perplexities about McLaren, and even one of the moments that shook the paddock the most last year, the Force India receivership.

In all this, the cameras are constantly attached to the protagonists of this story, often annoying the directly concerned, but thus managing to show an unprecedented scenario for any Formula 1 fan. An almost intimate view of the teams, supported by a series of interviews with those directly involved which makes everything even more credible and truthful.

The rather substantial presence of Christian Horner (Sporting Director of Red Bull) also offers an insight into the most important teams, thus also showing the dynamics of those teams that gravitate to the upper floors. What is most striking about this documentary is the enormous transversality of the topics touched upon. Thanks to a pleasant and always very tight editing, within each episode it is possible to follow a particular event, amalgamated however within the images of the race weekend (some unpublished), thus transforming the story into a waltz between the track and paddock. All this is obviously reinforced by an unprecedented visual quality for a documentary on this motorsport, with splendid images in ultra HD, which linger (thanks also to excellent shots) on many details of the cars and drivers.

The documentary also manages to offer very intense moments, like the one in this image: the embrace between father and son Ricciardo.

Last, but not least, is certainly the one related to the language used. As far as we are concerned, the choice to never enter too much into a too technical vocabulary leaves the documentary the possibility of being enjoyed even by those who are not very familiar with F1. If it is true that the target audience is quite clear, the documentary tells a fascinating story that can be appreciated in a genuinely transversal way.

The only flaw that we have found so far (after six of the ten proposed episodes) concerns the dubbing in Italian. The choice made for the voice actors detaches the spectator a little from the emotions that the team principals and the drivers experience respectively on the wall and single-seater during the race. If you have no problems with the English language, we recommend viewing in the original language.

Net of this, Formula 1: Drive to Survive is an incredible insight into the lives of these drivers and their teams. A fascinating and well-packaged documentary, which clearly tells you about current F1. For us it is green light, so a nice PLAY!

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