How Netflix’ Drive to Survive reignited my forgotten passion for Formula 1

Essay about Netflix' masterpiece series about Formula 1 - Drive to Survive

17th April 2021 by ParkingPete

When I was a young boy, I used to love Formula 1. The tension before the start, the race, the overtaking, the crashes, the nerve wracking pit stops and the podium moments of pride and happiness. All of it. It was the time when Mika Häkkinen was driving for West McLaren Mercedes and he was the best. His main competitor was of course the legendary Michael Schumacher driving Ferrari. Everyone loved Schumacher, he was a hero for our entire street, every boy was wearing a Ferrari cap and when he rode his bicycle, he felt like racing in the Ferrari formula cockpit. But not me, nor my friend Richard. We were the only ones rooting for Mika Hakinnen (Richard) and David Coulthard (myself). We were the underdogs, running against everyone else. Oh boy, how good did it feel when one of the McLaren pilots beat the famous Ferraris.

But then the not so happy times arrived, Mika Häkkinen retired and so did my friend Richard. David Coulthard became the number one pilot for West McLaren Mercedes. The Ferraris and the legendary Michael Schumacher started to reign Formula 1 for five long seasons. The wonderful times when it was a fairly balanced race were gone. I was also growing older, going away for weekends, finding new interests and just slowly, without me even noticing, I completely stopped watching Formula 1. Not sure exactly how many years passed by, but I’m suddenly a fully grown man, with a job, wedding coming and all the other things that life brings, recognising names like Vettel, Räikkönen or Alonso, just from the news. I have not seen an actual Formula 1 race in ages.

And then one day Dave, a colleague of mine at work says: Hey, the new season of Drive to Survive is on!” I barely paid attention, but then he said: "It’s about Formula 1 and it’s great". On my way home I was thinking, hmmm, Formula 1, that used to be a thing back then. Let’s give it a try. To bring you into a perspective, he was talking about season three. I came home, switched on Netflix and boom, the mighty all-knowing algorithm was suggesting the new season of Drive to survive to me. I clicked play, laid back and deep dived into the season one, which is about the 2018 World Championship. I was watching some completely unknown dudes, racing for a completely unknown teams, it was great.

Picture of Mercedes Petronas Formula 1 car

Photo by Carl Jorgensen on Unsplash

It was so good that I watched five episodes at once. I was back. I felt for the drivers. I felt for the teams. Moreover I felt for the managers, the families and friends of the race drivers. It gave such an awesome perspective to the entire thing that only now I have realised how much work is involved in racing and that for some teams ending up fourth is a massive success. They got me back in. I managed to watch all three seasons just in time for the first Grand Prix of the season in Bahrain. And what a show it was. The battle between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton in the final laps was just incredible. Luckily for me the win went to Lewis Hamilton and my beloved Mercedes. I've texted my childhood friend Richard straight away! I have also discovered another awesome racing driver, who I’m certain will make it big in a couple of years - keep your eyes on Esteban Ocon racing for Alpine and enjoy tomorrow’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.


Next: Full insight into a successful Hacker News launch