You just need to read the title of this article to realize, like many members of the Formula 1 community, I too happen to be somewhat… skeptical of Netflix’ hit series Drive to Survive.
Sure, things started off innocently enough. The show brought in millions of fans (and their wallets) to the races, and apart from a few overdramatized bits and extra sound effects, we didn’t have much to complain about.
Now four seasons in, Netflix’s editors have begun taking liberties with the footage that may make a good fan might raise an eyebrow or two. From excluding groundbreaking moments to straight up scripting errors, season four Drive to Survive is entertaining to watch but for all the wrong reasons.
After witnessing the grossly overhyped rivalry between Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz Jr. in season 3, reigning champ Max Verstappen publicly stated that he would no longer be associated with Drive to Survive… right before clinching the title in one of the most hotly debated championship battles in F1 history.
The result is a watered-down version of Max vs. Lewis, told primarly through the voices of Red Bull team boss Christian Horner and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff. Hamilton does feature in the season, in some of his most vulnerable exchanges with Wolff, but it’s unfortunate that the season’s greatest highlight was told with one of the key people missing.
The culprit is none other than Netflix’s tendency to write their own on-grid relationships, which Max wanted no part of. Shame!
Possibly one of the greatest missed opportunities in motorsports entertainment — Drive to Survive simply glossed over Kimi Raikkonen’s departure from F1 after a record-breaking career that established him as the most experienced Formula 1 racer of all time.
Even during his last race, the editors simply hover the camera over Kimi with no comment, ignoring the Iceman at the end of one of F1’s most celebrated careers.
Ah, Fernando Alonso. Two Formula 1 championships, three top-level endurance championship wins… if there’s a man that could tell you everything you need to know about the last 15 years of racing, it’s him.
…which is why the Drive to Survive creators chucked any faith we had left in them into the bin, as they compared the 40-year-old legend to 26-year-old Pierre Gasly. Alonso was also somewhat ignored by the editors with barely any footage or documentation, despite providing a god-tier wheel-to-wheel battle versus Hamilton in the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Seriously. Not only does Alonso have nearly two decades of experience over Gasly in the grid, he’s also got a win record 32 times that of his young ‘rival’.
There’s honestlyway too many of these to count. With every passing day, the r/Formula1 subreddit fills up with example after example of sneaky edits, constantly reused footage, and even misplaced clips from the wrong tracks. Here’s a few that I’ve managed to spot:
The list keeps going on and on.
Sure, we get that simply watching the race play out can be boring to F1 newcomers — the show’s main audience. But after one of the most dramatic and exciting seasons of the modern era, was it really that necessary to cut-and-paste audio from all over?
The result is a strange, inaccurate mess, with a few unchecked errors to boot. Here’s a few more examples of this shifty editing trick:
Drive to Survive Season 4 is currently streaming on Netflix. Don’t say you’ve haven’t been warned.
(Featured Image Credits: Netflix, FIA)