If you’re looking for a show to binge during Spring Break, Netflix just dropped season four of the docuseries Formula One: Drive to Survive. This is a docuseries about Formula One racing that follows the drivers and teams throughout the year as they travel around the world to compete to be the World Champion.
Drive to Survive offers a unique experience to fans and those unfamiliar with the sport. It shows a mix of moments from behind the scenes that those outside the teams are not normally privileged to. You get to see drivers on and off the track and interactions between different teams. There are four seasons of the show, so you get to know a lot of the drivers and team members on a level that isn’t possible otherwise.
I found this show last summer and binged the first three seasons in two weeks. Suddenly, I was picking a favorite team (McLaren) and driver (Lando Norris) and marking days on my calendar making sure I wouldn’t miss the races. It is a fast-paced, cutthroat and elite sport that is slowly gaining more traction in the States, and Drive to Survive is a reason for this growth.
If you aren’t interested yet, maybe I can convince you by giving you a rundown of the sport and the upcoming season.
Formula One is made up of 10 teams, each with two drivers. This makes it one of the most elite and exclusive forms of auto-racing in the world. These teams fly around the world all year competing in anywhere from 20 to 25 races. This year the teams will be competing in 23 races, two of which will be held in the United States. One of the races will be held in Austin, TX and the other will be held, for the first time, in Miami, FL. There are even rumors that because of the growth in popularity, Las Vegas, NV could become home to a future race. The rest of the races take place all over the world in countries like Australia, Great Britain, Monaco, Italy and Brazil, just to name a few.
Teams compete for two different awards that are given at the end of the season: the World Driver’s Championship and the World Constructors’ Championship. The first is given to the individual driver that earns the most points and the second is awarded to the team whose drivers end the season with the most combined points. Points are awarded to the first 10 finishers of each race, and additional points can be earned by the driver with the fastest lap at a Grand Prix and by the top three finishes in a Sprint Race (three Sprint Races will take place this season).
The grid also features a mix of new and old drivers. Most teams sign their drivers for two-year contracts and last year, a few drivers’ contracts were up. This led to a lot of moves. With the retirement of Kimi Räikkönen and the departure of his teammate Antonio Giovinazzi, there were two openings at Alfa Romeo. Valtteri Bottas lost his seat at Mercedes to George Russell, so he was the first to make a move to this opening. The other seat was filled by Guanyu Zhou, who will be the first Chinese driver in F1. Former Redbull driver Alex Albon was also recruited to fill the empty seat at Williams left behind by George Russell’s move. The other drivers all remained with their teams from the previous seasons.
The 2021 season was a wild one, and 2022 is lining up to be just as intense. Last year’s winner, Max Verstappen, is coming into this season looking for not only his second World Driver’s Championship but also to help his team, RedBull Racing, become the World Constructors’ Champion. His biggest opponent is Lewis Hamilton, a seven-time world champion who’s looking for an eighth. Hamilton and the rest of the Mercedes team have dominated the sport for many years, but could that be changing? Other teams such as Ferrari and McLaren are making waves already after their performances during preseason testing. Could this be the season that more than just two teams are fighting for the title?
The season kicks off with a double-header starting on March 20 in Bahrain. Race coverage is spread across three days as there are three practice sessions, a qualifying session and finally, the race. The race will be shown on ESPN on Sunday at 11 a.m. EST. This race will be followed by one in Saudi Arabia on March 27. For more schedule information, you can check out the Formula One section on ESPN’s website.