drive to survive f1 netflix

Why ‘Formula 1 ‘Drive to Survive’ leads sports TV documentary race

drive to survive f1 netflix

From captivating storytelling to unprecedented behind-the-scenes access, ‘Formula 1: Drive to Survive’ has redefined what sports documentaries can achieve.

Its immense popularity and impact in television and sports media highlights a significant shift in how audiences engage with motorsports. Delving into the success of this series, the broader influence on television and Netflix’s role in this transformation reveals why ‘Drive to Survive’ is at the forefront of sports filmography.

The Impact of Drive to Survive on TV & Sports Documentaries

‘Formula 1: Drive to Survive’ is a Netflix documentary series that provides an in-depth look at the world of Formula 1 racing. Launched in 2019, the series offers unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to drivers, team principals, and the intense competition that defines the sport.


By combining thrilling race footage with personal stories of triumphs and challenges, ‘Drive to Survive’ has captivated a global audience, including many who were previously unfamiliar with Formula 1.

The series has been a game-changer in sports documentaries, achieving remarkable viewership numbers and widespread acclaim. The show has reached over 6.8 million viewers worldwide, significantly boosting Formula 1’s popularity, particularly in markets like the United States where the sport has a smaller following.

The success of ‘Drive to Survive’ lies in its ability to humanise the sport, presenting the drivers as relatable characters with personal stories that resonate with viewers. This narrative approach has broadened the appeal of Formula 1, making it more accessible and engaging for a wider audience.

The documentary’s format balances intense racing action with off-track drama and has set a new standard for sports documentaries, influencing how other sports are portrayed in the media.

The Broader Impact on Television & Sports Media: Female-led Docuseries

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As Drive to Survive generated increased interest in motorsports, future documentaries also seek to do the same by documenting female racing. In motorsports, the all-female F1 Academy was launched in 2023 to help female drivers reach higher levels of motorsport.

Covering women in motorsports, a new female-led documentary of the same name is scheduled to premiere on Netflix in 2025. The docuseries will focus on the journeys of aspiring female drivers, providing an in-depth look at their challenges and triumphs within a traditionally male-dominated sport.

The relevance of the upcoming ‘F1 Academy’ documentary lies in its commitment to diversifying the narrative around racing and is a significant step for “introducing and encouraging more women to participate in racing sports.” Reese Witherspoon champions women with this upcoming series by showcasing the experiences of these talented women, as ‘F1 Academy’ aims to inspire a new generation of female racers and fans.

Netflix: The Platform to Watch for Top Sports Documentaries

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In recent years, Netflix has had much success with its documentaries and has released some of the best documentaries about sports on its platform.

For example, the acclaimed ‘Formula 1: Drive to Survive’, has captivated audiences with its behind-the-scenes look at the high-octane world of Formula 1 racing. Its platform has become a go-to for sports enthusiasts, providing an immersive look at the triumphs, struggles, and personal stories behind the headlines.

Additionally, the platform’s documentary ‘Schumacher’ provides an intimate portrait of the legendary Formula 1 driver Michael Schumacher, further cementing Netflix’s prowess in delivering engaging and insightful sports content.

Several motorsport documentaries outside of Netflix have also helped broaden the appeal of racing to global audiences. Over the years many documentaries have focused on the inception of Formula 1 racing teams, such as ‘Williams’, ‘McLaren’, and ‘Ferrari: Race to Immortality’

The Success of ‘Drive to Survive’ and Its Lasting Impact

‘Formula 1: Drive to Survive’ has revolutionised sports documentaries, boosting Formula 1’s global popularity and setting new storytelling standards. Its success has inspired a wave of similar productions and broadened the sport’s appeal.