Having watched the entire third season of Drive to Survive, I was intrigued but what others thought of the season 3 docuseries. I enjoyed it, as I have the first two seasons, and really found the same key elements in a slightly new recipe.
I landed on an article by the nice gentleman over at The Race and I appreciate their recommendations for a better series. They are clearly fans, not trying to be tedious or hyper-critical and heavy-handed because they are F1 journalists in the paddock. I took it in the spirit it was meant.
I agree with much of each author’s commentary about season 3. I think chief among those arguments is Scott’s comment with regards to possible COVID-19 impacted access and challenges that may very well have limited the content they could produce. I think that’s a reasonable assumption given Sky Sports F1 had to have Ted Kravitz, of all people, in the grand stands with a monocular for each broadcast.
Edd’s comments on treating the on-track action with respect holds true as well as the desire to use video footage to propel a narrative was sometimes out of sync which led to a feeling of forced narrative. Again, you have to work with what you have and if limited, they did the best they could and I have a lot of patience for it but on-track video is the one thing you would think they easily have access too in contrast to some of the inter-team dialog and meetings etc.
I also agree with Val in his assessment of twisted narratives. If you were to pick a teammate friction story, I am not sure I would have picked McLaren to twist into a fist fight type of storyline. I think the Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc situation may have had more teeth in it than Lando and Carlos. Again, access may have been a limiting factor here due to COVID or simply them being Ferrari.
Matt’s take is also an interesting one and it is actually one of the critiques I had about the Senna documentary. He was a larger than life character and the events around his career were so rich and deep that I felt there needed to be a few light dustings of narration to make the complete story, and most importantly, timelines more succinct.
This is what Matt is arguing with regards to Drive to Survive. Each episode focuses on a story or two but syncing those timelines and important story arcs could use with some text or narration.
For me, the success of Drive to Survive is fantastic. I think season 3 could be forgiven for some of the hiccups or jittery storylines and on-track footage for the very reason I think Scott appropriately suggests. But here’s the bigger point for me…
The reason I got in to Formula 1 all those years ago started with seeing a race but then again, I watched a lot of different racing back then. So what drew me to F1? F1 rose to the top when I got into the stories behind the racing. The drama, politics, drivers, teams, personalities, sponsors, owners, and altercations. That’s what grabbed me.
The more I got in to the stories behind the racing, the more I loved the racing. That is what the Drive to Survive series does and that’s why it is a big success and brings new fans to the sport. It is something the former owners missed completely but reading a recent interview with Bernie Ecclestone, I understand why he he did.
Back then, the owners knew their product was the races and any video out of the paddock. They felt the content they generated was the product and they were right but what they should have created was a series like Drive to Survive to take fans inside the paddock. The problem with that? They made lots of money for that kind of access so why give it away for free? The question now is, will they make money from giving that access to Drive to Survive by bringing new fans to the sport?
Time will tell but if you want to get new fans engaged, tell a story. That may be why the fine folks at The Race wrote the piece they did, the stories Drive to Survive were telling in season 3 were stretching it a little too far in their view. I enjoyed reading their perspectives on it.
What did you think of season 3?