In anticipation from the previous season, I was excited to see “Formula 1: Drive to Survive” Season 2 announced for Netflix. The documentary series, revolving around the 2019 Formula 1 season, released Feb. 28 and it has delivered just as much as last year’s season.
The main difference, though, is that all 10 teams are now featured on the series, which gives the viewer a full look at the grid throughout the year. Mercedes and Ferrari are the two heavyweight teams in Formula 1, and this season allows us to see that even the biggest of teams can have the hardest of falls.
As the episodes progressed, the topic shifts from one team and their drivers to another. “Boiling Point” showcases the struggles involving the American team, Haas F1, as they fight to stay powerful amidst the growing field around them. Tempers seem to flare as week after week the team succumbs to crashes and mechanical trouble.
Considering that the episodes go from team to team, you don’t necessarily have to watch in chronological order. Of course, other than having the first and last episodes to show the beginning and ends of the 2019 season. The producers continue to touch on all sorts of subjects within Formula 1 racing and highlight just how human the sport really is.
Two of the more sobering moments of the series come in episodes 4 and 6. Episode 4 shows when Niki Lauda, one of the more legendary Formula 1 drivers and lead in Mercedes Motorsport, died from kidney complications in the middle of the season. The team continued forward in the face of adversity and also in the memory of their fallen comrade. With all of this happening around the anniversary of Mercedes’ 125th year in auto racing, the circumstances of Lauda’s death had to have been dramatic for everyone involved.
Episode 6, on the other hand, came as a surprise to everyone involved in the sport of F1. As the episode showcases Thai national Alexander Albon and his recent promotion to Red Bull Racing from their junior team in Scuderia Toro Rosso, the audience is taken to the Spa-Francorchamps racetrack in Belgium. While the cast of drivers is interviewed mid Formula 2 support race, a violent crash occurs that would lead to the eventual death of Frenchman Anthoine Hubert. Hubert was one of the many drivers that Albon grew up with and the loss affected the entire community as they were forced to go on with the main race the next day.
It’s personal segments like these that make me appreciate the series as a whole. Having kept track of Formula 1 last year, I was already aware of how certain races would play out. Regardless, witnessing the human side of each driver — sides that might not be presented from race to race — is still very entertaining. Even if you’re not an auto-racing fan, I highly recommend checking out the series to see just who’s dedicated enough to go for it in Formula 1.
Both seasons of “Formula 1: Drive to Survive” are rated TV-MA and are now streaming on Netflix.