F1: Drive To Survive

April 27, 2019

Despite living in a Formula 1-mad country I've never watched an F1 race all the way through. I've watched the first few laps now and then, perhaps five times in 40 years. Compare that to GP or WSB races I've watched (hundreds) or soccer matches (thousands).

 

Why? There's no overtaking. Races are won or lost on 'fuel strategy'. Ugh... I'd rather listen to cricket on the radio that watch F1 in full Technicolor. Or so I thought. 

 

I was having my haircut at the local barbers (£10, nothing fancy). It's run by a father and son, keen racing cyclists and gearheads. The dad started telling me about an F1 documentary series on Netflix, F1: Drive To Survive, filmed during the 2018 season. He raved about it so much I decided to sit down and watch it with my son, Max. And we loved it. 

 

The access the documentary crew get to the racers, their lives, negotiations and professional failures is incredible. Plus it's unflinching when it comes to mechanic's screw-ups and personal rivalries between team-mates and opposing team managers. This is a great advert for F1, because it's not an advert for F1.

 

If I were Michael Lock I'd be doing anything, everything to get the crew to focus on American Flat Track next. 

 

The barber also explained that the onboard shots are so much more viscerally exciting compared to those shown by the host broadcasters during the races, because F1 coverage shows wide-angle onboard to get the maximum sponsor logo on screen, where the doc isn't bound by the same rules. I'm not sure if that's the case, but the onboard footage is wild. 

 

It proudly states it's from the 'Producer of Senna and Amy'. I have no idea what a producer does when it comes to a documentary, not in the same way I'd be impressed if it were from the director of Senna and Amy (two great feature-length docs).

 

Highly recommended and definitely not just for hardcore race fans.

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