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Full speed ahead – F1: Drive to Survive season three review

The Netflix Original Series, Formula One: Drive to Survive, gives viewers a look behind the scenes at all the drama, action and politics that follow the multibillion-dollar Formula One (F1) circuit around the globe.

With the 2021 F1 Season now in full swing, the third instalment of the Netflix series Drive to Survive is the perfect way to get your F1 fix in between race weekends and recap on the wild ride that was the 2020 season.

Fast-paced, entertaining and action-packed, Drive to survive offers entertainment value and insights to both new and old F1 Fans alike, although it can occasionally be guilty of overselling certain angles to create drama.

As with the previous two instalments, Season three of Drive to Survive follows a number of drivers, teams, owners and team principles through 10 action-packed episodes.

The teams that are mainly focused on throughout season three are the powerhouse pace setters Mercedes, the challenging Red Bull, the midfield McLaren, Renault, Ferrari and Racing point along with the ever-entertaining but rarely successful Haas.

One of the strongest elements of the series is its unique ability to display the contrast in personalities of the extremely varied characters on the F1 circuit. From the hugely successful Mercedes team principal, the cool, calm and collect Toto Wolff, to the crude and often cringe-worthy comments of struggling Haas team principal Guenther Steiner alongside the often joking and laid-back Australian Daniel Ricciardo, a driver for Renault. The combination of personalities is what makes the show so enjoyable.


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While Drive to Survive does a great job of giving viewers an insight into the views of the drivers and team principles, it can occasionally be guilty of overdramatising situations and drawing out particular moments to create tension.

The first episode is a perfect example of that. Although crucial to the teams testing and car development, the winter testing period rarely has many insights for fans as to which teams will perform the best.

To be the fastest car in winter testing rarely equates to having the fastest car for the season, and I feel the series focuses too much attention on this period. In fact, the entire first episode doesn’t feature a race weekend, as it covers the impact of coronavirus as the teams arrive in Melbourne Australia, with the race weekend eventually being cancelled.

However, my biggest criticism of season three drive to survive is in its portrayal of the horrific yet non-fatal crash of Roman Grosjean in episode nine. For almost five minutes viewers are left with the suggestion that they may have just witnessed a fatal crash involving Hass driver Roman Grosjean.

Although crashes are an unavoidable part of any high-speed motorsport, the way that it is used as a tool to intensify the drama and tension in this episode is disappointing.

As someone who watched this race live last year and experienced the emotions, the dread and the horror as we waited, hoping for good news that seemed so unlikely to come, I cannot fathom how it’s necessary to recreate that moment in the way they chose.

It echoes a wider problem in the current F1 world, with drivers such as Daniel Ricciardo openly critical of the official Formula One’s social account for promoting crashes in its top 10 moments of 2020.

It’s important to understand when watching Drive to Survive that although it gives unprecedented access to the world of F1, many rivalries, comments and situations need to be taken with a grain of salt. While never presenting specifically fake information, the series will often find the most inflammatory comment or the most dramatic angle in order to entertain the viewers.

If you are thinking about sitting down to watch Drive to Survive, expect to be entertained and gain an insight into the exciting world of F1, but don’t expect to always be presented with the most neutral and informative angles.

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