Drive To Survive Was Truly a Disappointment
Okay, we get it Racing Point, Renault and McLaren Fought for 3rd place.
Drive To Survive [DTS] season three debuted on Netflix on 19th March, it followed the brilliant 2020 season. Which was one dramatic season, with positive COVID-19 tests putting drivers out of races, and replacements coming in last minute to surprise race winners and podium sitters. But DTS seemingly missed a lot of that out meaning the season was truly a disappointment.
In a season where Ferrari was not exactly a shining star in the F1 paddock, it left third in the championship standings up for grabs. This came down to Renault, Racing Point and McLaren fighting for the best of the rest spot. As Red Bull and Mercedes were fighting ahead of everyone for first.
But if you watched DTS 3, you'd have been convinced this fight for third was the only thing to happen this season. When in fact it was a small part of the season.
2020 allowed for some stuff we will never get to see again. Multiple drivers missing races due to COVID-19, unlikely this would happen again due to the number of coronavirus vaccines that are now being given. But this led to some fantastic moments...which we never got to see. George Russell, jumped right into a Mercedes W11 having never testing in it and being to big for the car, all because Sir Lewis Hamilton tested positive for COVID. The race was also dramatic with Mercedes messing up and Russell losing his more than likely win. We saw none of it. Along with that, we saw none of Nico Hulkenberg's surprise return.
The drama which came with what happened to Russell at Mercedes and Hulkenberg at Racing Point was big and a unique experience in F1. These were un-manufactured moments that could be captured and shared with a new audience of Netflix viewers but also F1 fans who wanted to relive a brilliant season.
Instead, they focused on third, which seemed overly manufactured, with year-old radio messages being used and most of the episodes being focused on them. We heard a lot of, Renault team principal, Cyril Abiteboul being upset and their reactions to races.
Of course, Box to Box Films was sticking to a filming schedule but the drama seemed made for the sake of entertainment. Yes, it was a tense battle for third but was it dragged out? Yes, and it was not the most dramatic story of the season.
There was also Williams, they got nothing. After over forty years in Formula 1, the family left. But we saw nothing of them, the team got mentioned in the battle of Renault and McLaren verse the Pink Mercedes of Racing Point in the dispute over brake ducts. But that was all we seemed to get. The story of Williams' takeover felt it should have been focused on the memory of the family. It is a big part of the history of F1 and fans new or old who should be told of them.
The reason I bring up history is we got a lovely segment of history on Hamilton verses 2016 World Champion Nico Rosberg during the Mercedes episode. So if we could have sat down interviews explain how Bottas wants to beat Hamilton like Rosberg did and Rosberg talks about it. Why could we not have the emotion behind Williams leaving the sport? It was a big part of the season for fans.
Again using Rosberg as an analogy to Bottas and Hamilton felt manufactured, despite the fact we had drama and content such as Williams'.
These moments we didn't get to see were crucial and almost important elements to the season which made it so good. It felt we were robbed of things that were remembered and wanted to see all for the sake of a battle for third place.
Now, DTS is good for F1, it continually brings in a new audience. An audience which F1 needed to carry on and be able to thrive further as a sport. But is this season just did not deliver.
Look to season two, the Mercedes episode specifically. The level of dramatic the German Grand Prix in 2019 was, was high. It saw blunders at the home Grand Prix for the German team. We saw raw behind the scenes reactions of the likes of Hamilton and Toto Wolff to how the team performed. It was amazing. But it was drama we wanted to relive.
It was a shame we didn't get as many raw moments as season two. As mentioned there were struggles as to why in the form of a pandemic. But the season underwhelmed with not capturing big moments.
Overall, it was a good season. It just truly disappointed with missing the crucial and raw dramatic moments we wanted to see.