Re- Formula 1- Drive To Survive

My wife hates sports but loves reality TV shows with a great narratives.

We watched 8 episodes of Series 1 of this on Friday and ended up watching qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix together today (and she has NEVER watched a sporting event with me). We’re going to watch the race together tomorrow.

This show is great because it’s about all the amazing stories of the 20 drivers that fill the 20 hottest seats in the sporting world (well the 19 apart from Lewis Hamilton, whose story we already know)

I had taken so little Interest in F1 since Hamilton and Mercedes had become dominant and didn’t realise that Bernie had sold out to Liberty Media. Now I understand why this show and F1 is going to grow to another level. It’s like sport and Simon Cowell’s X Factor rolled into one.

Sports’ narratives are all the rage: the stores behind those that compete at a high level but aren’t necessarily the winners.

This series can be filed alongside the more modest show about Spanish Soccer made by Amazon called “Six Dreams” which also celebrates great sporting stories.

Once again you’re bang on trend Bob.


Gordon Charlton


Entranced by it! Got my 6yr old son to start watching Races with me Sunday mornings.  Can’t wait to travel the world with him to see a race one day.

Netflix is driving culture.

charly salvatore


This is one of the best shows on TV! I’m amazed more people aren’t talking about it. We got addicted as a family to the first season, the one you are on, during lockdown and we just finished season 3. We didn’t know a thing about Formula 1, didn’t even know who Lewis Hamilton was other than a famous race car driver, and now we are dying for more! You will love each season more than the last. And it will confound you how one team and one driver can be so dominant in a sport that seems relatively even in technology and human capacity. But not so. And thus this is the only sport I know of where we spend most of our time rooting for teams 2-6.

The access is incredible. So smart of this sport to humanize everyone involved. Especially when trying to expand beyond its stronghold everywhere outside of the US.

Glad you found this and gave it a chance.

Larry Weintraub


Never thought I’d see you talking about f1! There’s so much history, scandal, and drama to sink your teeth into. The show is great and how I got into it as an American a few years ago. It’s a bit over-dramatized but it’s helped so many Americans get into the sport and it’s all because of Liberty. They opened the sport to the people, making the drivers and the teams (and their stories) more accessible. The previous owner was apparently behind the times and wanted to keep everything behind the curtain (like the record labels, what a coincidence!)



I got into Formula 1 in my teens thanks to the emergence of Jacques
Villeneueve, but like a number of other Canadian fans my interest in
the sport waned as he faded. Years later while on tour, my Production
Manager is telling anyone who would listen to check out this show
and…now I watch every race..most qualifiers…even practice
(practice!) whenever I’m able. I heard that season 3 of Drive to
Survive went to #1 worldwide on Netflix when it debuted earlier this
year, while races on TV are hitting record ratings levels in the US,
UK, and Canada, surely thanks in major part to Netflix. Can’t say I’m

Paul Gagnon


Just a tiny detail but the reason why neither Ferrari or Mercedes feature much in the first season is because they refused and wanted to protect their image. The first season was so successful on NF and as you rightly point out, generate so much interest for F1 that they agreed to be part of it afterwards.

Pascal Degove


I was going to F-1 races starting in 1973 so I am a true believer, but Netflix hit it out of the park with “Drive to Survive” I know three different people who wouldn’t go to a car race if you paid them who are now intensely following F-1 directly as a result of this series.
The reason you see very little of Lewis Hamilton in season 1 is because Mercedes and Ferrari would not agree to the terms of access. After they saw the success of the show, they quickly changed their tune.
Enjoy the season this year. It’s shaping up to be a huge battle between Hamilton and Verstappen. BTW you may or may not know this, but Lewis Hamilton is mixed race. His mother is white and his father is from Grenada. Just add his name to the other great mixed race individuals who excel in their chosen professions. I.e.: Prince, Derek Jeter, Barack Obama, Naomi Osaka, Kyle Larson (race car driver) Tiger Woods.
Jan Burden


Glad to read you dig it! Season 2 has more teams: from the success of season 1, and the exposure the pilots received, Mercedes and Ferrari accepted to be filmed. Season 3, during the pandemic, is the best so far; can’t wait for you guys to watch it!

Thanks to this show, seems like more Americans are interested in this sport (my friends are looking at the results, have their “favorite” drivers). This season there will be a race in Austin, Texas in October and next year we’ll have the Miami Grand Prix!

Thomas Duport


I was so skeptical when Liberty bought F1 from Bernie Ecclestone. I thought, oh no, it’s going to become another NASCAR, but to their credit, they have made it more accessible and fan friendly in the best way possible. Yes, their streaming app has a ways to go before it’s as good as the MotoGP app (another global motor sports extravaganza that is virtually unknown to American audiences), and sometimes the gap between the well-funded teams and their lesser-funded brethren is still too stark, but the sport is far more engaging than it’s ever been. Tremendous advances in driver safety, where now it’s rare that a driver gets hurt let alone killed, unlike the 60s and 70s, have kept the focus on drivers as world class athletes as opposed to odd balls with a death wish (no offense to the pioneers of the sport who made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of motor racing). Kudos to Netflix, in particular their executive Brandon Riegg who spearheaded the effort, for creating an extraordinary and humanizing series that has done more to promote F1 than anything else in recent memory. It’s almost better than watching the racing! (Almost). All we need is some women behind the wheel and hopefully that’s just a matter of time.

Chris Day
Los Angeles, CA


100% agree with you, Bob. My brother turned us on to Formula 1 on Netflix a few months back. We were instantly hooked. My wife maybe even more than me, and she’s not in any way a car person. She’s drawn to it by the backstories, the glamor and the money.

You mentioned the in-pavement cameras from WWS, but what about this show? They have cameras literally everywhere, not to mention the radio chatter between driver and crew. It pulls you right into the experience.

For sure, it’s a not to miss little gem on Netflix.

Check this out on some of their salaries!

Burke Long


One of the best series on Netflix. Only gets better with each passing year. And Hamilton, and Mercedes, definitely become more involved in the filming over the next 2 season. I do believe they realized their miss from the 1st season. Great show. Actually made me care about and start watching f1, hadn’t since the days when I was a child and spent Saturday’s tuned to Wide World of Sports and Jackie Stewart…



Spot on!  I’ve been an F1 fan for 26 years, but the Netflix show is better than watching the whole season.  This show is a much-needed condensed version for the person who hasn’t the time to watch every F1 Event.  I watch it all, but I have little interest in other sports, so that’s just me.  But the show is a well-produced summary of the stories, athletes, family backstories, politics, and excitement between the lulls of cars parading quickly through each track. Today’s drivers are so much more skilled than when I started watching in ’96. There are less offs and shunts because these drivers are indeed well-oiled clean-living athletic machines!  I got my wife to watch F1 when we met on the premise that you she wouldn’t see much in the way of bad-boy off-track behavior, cheap shots, course language and negative character flaws that show themselves in other pro sports (e.g. drugs, drunken foolishness, assault etc.).  Which has been refreshing that that story line is still mostly true in F1 – these drivers have to live on a clean edge in body and mind to have a chance to participate in F1 let alone win.

Eric Neumann


devour this entire series, without missing Lewis for a second. There is SO much content! The money! The safety! The tech! My god, the amounts of it are grotesque and enviable in comparison to any other sport. Not one of these people want to see another die just to race another day. And it is so well-produced, as if they couldn’t care if you’re interested. They are telling their stories. Hamilton could be a whole season, but they’ve captured what he’s truly up against: a psychotic 16 year old that knows his car probably won’t kill him. Whoa.

Terry Gottschalk


I was never a car guy…just never had any interest. Until I watched Drive to Survive.  And I am hooked….obsessed even.  I find myself reading about tire composition and slipstream dynamics.  The science and engineering make as much of a difference as driver skill level.  Fascinating sport.  And the Netflix series made these drivers reality stars.

F1 is one of the biggest $$$ sports globally, and the drivers are huge stars in Europe…but has historically not taken hold in the US.  That is about to change. The new Miami GP, and a rumored Northeast US GP set to be announced soon….we are about to see the rise of F1 in the US…and these drivers will become US celebrities.

The power of Netflix!!!

Glad to hear you are now a fan!

Rudy Falco
Longtime Lefsetz reader.


Yup – it’s the noise. Used to go to Grand Prix at Brands Hatch when I was a kid…you could wander around the pits for an extra five bob (shillings) and even get Graham Hill’s autograph if you were lucky – mesmerizing. and then I went to the last US Grand Prix in Austin (pre-pandemic); a great local hook-up and some moxie (…like the old days of just walking into any gig if you carried a metal briefcase!) and I was up in the Director’s box. It was fantastic…and, as ever, the noise. And the champagne. And Hamilton. And my brother beside himself with jealousy back in the UK.
F1 is the Dog’s Bollocks. NASCAR pales mightily by comparison.

Hugo Burnham


My wife and I randomly watched season 1 of Formula 1 last Spring and were instantly hooked.  We binged season 1 and 2 and waited anxiously for the arrival of Season 3 and were not disappointed.  We were not race car fans then.  I don’t know that we are race car fans now but we looking at the race results every second Sunday.

Steve Waxman


Ken Hensley, one of the founders and keyboardist for Uriah Heep was deep into F 1 about the same time as George Harrison. I believe I recall him mentioning George in that context. Ken is still touring Eastern Europe, both as a solo and with his own band, from his base on the south coast of Spain.

Norm Willis


F1 is akin to touring the biggest rock n roll show In the world , the drivers are the rock stars and as you’ll discover it’s a game of big boys with their toys generally reserved for wealthy families who can put their boys through the years of go carting to be eligible for a spot in this circus of power .
In Lewis Hamilton’s story as you’ll see he came up the ranks with no money plus being a black kid he was not expected to go all the way in a very much white bread profession .
Anyways it’s an extraordinary series with some extraordinary statistics on how they tour this behemoth of an operation.
Gunter from Haas is the standout I think with the hardest gig , Toto is the tactician and Christian Horner is the fallen king of the grid since the resurgent Mercedes but he has the pop star wife in tow .

Great series

Warren Bernard Amster


A co-producer friend of mine got me to watch Drive To Survive. He’s an F1 fan, and after I binged this series, I became an F1 fan. I even downloaded the F1 Mobile game for my iPad Pro. I’m watching the races and playing the game – all because of that damn show and how engrossing it was.

The pitstops are incredible with how fast they can switch tires and a front wing. Usually in about 2 seconds. AMAZING!

The question I have is also about the money. I see a lot of it going out, but is the air-time worth that much that it offsets what is spent? This is also a concern expressed by Hamilton in a recent interview. Claiming that the sport will no longer allow poorer families (i.e. those who are even millionaires) to compete in the future as now multiple billionaires are buying their son’s way to the top.

I’ve also told several people they need to watch the series, it’s that good.

Jody Whitesides


Hell Yeah! It’s amazing can’t wait for the next season!

Julien Jorgensen


I got instantly hooked!
It’s so good!
I watched all 3 seasons in 2 weeks.
Word is season 4 is coming 2022.

I’ve always been interested in Indy.
But it’s not the same.

We have an Indy series road race coming to Nashville this year.
I’ve looked into tickets.
I can’t wait to go.

Alex Torrez


The following two seasons are even better. And the last one, just out this year, is my fav, as it’s more about the characters and not the race. It made me a fan. Today, Monaco, was amazing!


Edwin Rojas


Bob – love the series too. You think it’s an elitist sport and you learn some of its best drivers come from working-class families. And the pressure! Podium is akin to an add at KIIS FM (if that were still a thing). By the way, is there a bigger star than Lewis Hamilton???  F1 reminds me that my sandbox is not the center of the universe and that cool can exist outside of America.

Joe Reichling


I look forward to checking out F 1. Went to Watkins Glen with George Harrison. Got into all the pits, met all the drivers.

Bob Meyrowitz


“Remember when George Harrison got into F 1? He was on to something….”

Yes, indeed. Especially the single ”Faster” commemorating the two Swedish F1 drivers Gunnar Nilsson and Ronnie Peterson.

Nilsson died of testicular cancer just one month after Peterson’s fatal accident at Monza…..


Morten Dahlgren


You are totally correct about the F1 series. There are numerous YouTube videos about F1 economics, logistics, etc. This one explains the unbelievable amount of money involved, where it goes and some interesting side deals with certain teams.

James C. Jankowski, FAIA


The movie Grand Prix and media comps to the Edmonton leg of the Can Am series in 1969 got me hooked, and motor racing has played a big role in my life ever since.

Among other assignments, I had the good fortune to be pit reporter for the 1987 Detroit GP, the last Formula One street race in the Motor City. That weekend, I interviewed the great Ayrton Senna several times. He was driving for Colin Chapman at Lotus at the time, and his talent was already obvious to anyone who followed the sport. His death at Imola in ‘94 was a significant personal loss.

Years later, while chief announcer at Heartland Park Topeka I conducted several long form interviews with the great American driver and car builder Dan Gurney. The deeper I dug, the more fascinating the sport became for me.

If you haven’t yet read Adrian Newey’s memoir “How to Build a Car,” I highly recommend it. Newey designed the car Senna died in, and he was raked over the coals by the civil authorities in Italy after Senna’s death, and seriously considered quitting racing entirely. But, he persevered, and is now considered by many to be the greatest aerodynamicist and race car designer of all time. He is clearly still at the top of his game because he designed the Red Bull car with which Max Verstappen currently leads the F1 world championship.

I submit that part of the appeal of motor sports is death always lurking in the background. I was in the paddock at Montreal the year Ricardo Paletti was killed in only his second Grand Prix start. Anyone who says racing fans enjoy watching drivers die is massively misinformed. To the contrary, the joy we experience around racing is watching supremely talented, committed and courageous individuals overcome their fear as well as the laws of physics… and as cheesy as it sounds, every time they bring the car home safely, they do in fact cheat death.

Jack Casey

Dr. Jack M. Casey, Gen. Mgr.

WERS-FM, Boston, MA


I have been a fan of Formula 1 since the early 90’s.  I loved Indy cars and used to take my kids to some of the races.  But as you pointed out, due to infighting and big egos, the Indy series was forced into two separate factions and lost its luster.  It lost me as a fan and others too.


Enter F1 into my life.  The greatest and most sophisticating racing cars in the world, and road racing on proper circuits with different kinds of turns, elevations, and long straightaways.  Forget ovals, this is positively thrilling.  And the races are short enough to hold your interest—about an hour and half.  I’ve gotten my whole family into it, we all root for different drivers and teams.  We even buy hats and jackets.


It used to be hard to find on TV but now it’s easy, usually airing on ESPN2.  Just record the races (which take place all around the world) and watch at your leisure.


Once I was in England on business and got to go to David Gilmour’s birthday party.  I’ve been friends with David Gilmour and Nick Mason for years having worked with them so closely on all the Pink Floyd projects.  The event was held in a large hall and looked like a bar mitzvah or wedding party—large round tables and chairs with fancy centerpieces and a stage for the band.  The best part was, the band that was going to play was David’s!  It was the group he put together for the On An Island album and tour.


As you can imagine the place was filled with rock royalty.  But I looked over and saw former Formula 1 Champion, Damon Hill there as well.  The Floyd’s are big F1 fans and over the years have raced period F1 cars themselves.  In fact, Nick has a whole car business renting out cars from his renowned collection for commercials, movies, etc.


By that point in my life, I was plenty used to all the rock guys and although I was looking forward to having a chat with some of them, I made a beeline for Damon.  I wanted to hear about F1 from the horse’s mouth.


Mr. Hill was so pleasant and so approachable I was almost in shock.  I told him I was a big fan, and asked if he wouldn’t mind a couple of questions.  “Sure,” he said, genuinely open for having a conversation.   I asked how a driver could keep his concentration up for an entire hour and a half, for over 50 laps, knowing where every turn is, gearing up and down accordingly, all while watching traffic and at speeds exceeding 180 mph.


He explained, “It’s like you get into a zone, it’s all you think about.  What sustains your concentration throughout an entire race is the knowledge that you are in a life and death situation—one wrong move and the consequences can be much more dire than just having a few cars pass you by.”


I asked if he still raced and again was shocked about how honest he was.  He could have easily thrown his scarf back over his shoulder with a rock star attitude letting me know that he was the great Damon Hill.  But again, he was very genuine.


“No, racing is a young man’s game.  When you are younger, you have no fear.  When you get older and have a couple of kids, you realize more the chances you are taking.  You can’t win with those thoughts in your head.”


Then he told me something really funny.  “You know, Dave and Nick race period F1 cars.  They have fun but sometimes think they are real race car drivers.  They are real race car drivers the same way as me going into my garage, playing with my band, and thinking I’m Pink Floyd!”  Ha, ha, ha.  The great Damon Hill turned out to be a quite a lovely fellow.


That conversation also reminded me of one I once had with Gilmour.  I told David having grown up in L.A. in the ‘60’s and having raced a bit on the streets in my 390 fastback Mustang that I always felt I had the potential to be a great racing driver.  He enlightened me with this reply.


“Rap, the difference is this.  When you drive, people are always telling you to slow down.  When you are in a real race and you are pushing the car and yourself to the absolute limits, feeling like you are going around turns on just two wheels and could spin out at any second, and then you pull into the pits and they tell you, ‘You have to go faster,’ that’s when you’ll know if you are a real race car driver or not.”  Gulp!


The Formula 1: Drive to Survive series is fascinating, and I guarantee you if you watch a Formula 1 race, you will be sitting on the edge of your seat!


Paul Rappaport


Welcome to the club, Bob!

Frank Poe


Honestly the best show I have seen in years, so addictive

Adrian Kelly

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