10 Shows To Watch Before "Drive To Survive" Season 4
The world's anticipation for "Drive to Survive" Season 4 is palpable. The sport experienced record growth the past few seasons as the Netflix show introduced an entire new audience to the wonderful world of Formula 1: fast cars and big personalities. This season, fans can expect plenty of drama as the rivalry between Red Bull and Mercedes was at an all-time high while Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton dueled it out for the drivers championship. But there are other moments like Daniel Riccardo's win at Monza that have fans getting their popcorn ready.
Before "Drive to Survive" returns on March 11, there are plenty of other great shows and movies for Formula 1 fans to enjoy. Some are documentaries diving even deeper into the history and personalities of the sport. Some are not Formula 1-specific, but showcase other aspects of racing and highlight the brands that fans love to root for or love to hate. There's even some Formula 1-adjacent shows that fans will get a thrill out of even if four wheels and a halo aren't the central figure.
Here's 10 shows to watch before "Drive to Survive" Season 4's release:
"Schumacher," the Netflix documentary about the greatest Formula 1 driver of all-time, opens with the legend scuba diving peacefully, a stark contrast to the intensity of his career on the track. We learn about how his entire career was strategic, even racing as a child for Luxembourg instead of his native Germany to give him the best chance to compete. If you thought the rivalry between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton is cutthroat, this is a great look at the history of the sport and how intense competition is nothing new. We hear from veteran journalists, executives and fellow drivers to give full context to who Michael Schumacher is.
"Ford v Ferrari"
"Ford v Ferrari" is based on the true story of Ford's underdog run to win 24 Hours of LeMans. It plays off the stereotypes of Ferrari being the almighty enemy, but shows that the United States does have a role in international racing. With Williams adding Logan Sargeant to its drivers academy, the introduction of the Miami Grand Prix and the Andretti Family's desire to have a team in Formula 1, this is a great film for American fans to take pride in their racing heritage. And it's hard to beat a cast starring Christian Bale and Matt Damon.
As Formula 1 becomes more and more embedded into pop culture, catch up on a show that was brought to the United States by the pop culture king himself: Drake. "Top Boy" follows drug lords Sully and Dushane as they navigate life in London. The cast features British rap stars Little Simz and Dave. It's an emotional roller coaster parallel to the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. There's a much-anticipated new season of "Top Boy" coming out March 18 as well.
"Fernando" is an Amazon Prime series following a driver who some argue should be in the Formula 1 GOAT conversation. The series chronicles Fernando Alonso's humble upbringing, his rise in Formula 1 and his quest to capture the triple crown of auto racing: winning the Monaco Grand Prix, 24 Hours of Les Mans and the Indianapolis 500. The show does a great job of giving the story behind a character Formula 1 fans already know and love.
It has been decades since a woman raced in Formula 1 and the person perhaps who's come closest (prior to the establishment of the W Series) is Danica Patrick. ESPN journalist Hannah Storm profiled the racer's career in the 2017 documentary, "Danica." The film examines Patrick's journey from karting with her sister to racing in England to becoming the first woman to lead at the Indy 500. The film explores the power of fate, the double standards Patrick faced being a woman and the importance of building a brand. Patrick changed the attitudes of several about women in motorsport, even that of her own father. As she built her career in IndyCar and NASCAR, she maintained the stance that her life wasn't just about racing, but about wellness, family and fun.
"Fastest Car" is a Netflix series that pits exotic sports cars against sleeper cars that their owners lovingly built. The series shows the duality of car culture, contrasting the world of the entitled elite who bought a fancy car because they could with the blue collar workers who put their blood sweat and tears into their mighty machines. But not everyone matches the stereotypes as some of the exotic car owners tell their stories of hard work and resilience. Sports car enthusiast Amber Blonigan's story is especially inspiring. It's great for Formula 1 fans to see the automotive side of some of their favorite teams like McLaren.
Even if you're relatively new to Formula 1, you've at least heard the name. Ayrton Senna was a championship driver for McLaren and the inspiration for Lewis Hamilton to start racing. While Michael Schumacher is widely regarded as the greatest of all time, Senna's grit gives a whole new meaning to the term "drive to survive." This award-winning documentary, which is available to rent on Amazon Prime, follows the Brazilian's ascent in the sport and details how his legacy lives on even as his untimely death leaves fans wondering what could have been.
"Neymar: The Perfect Chaos"
Formula 1 mirrors soccer in many ways as it grows in its global presence. As the sport continues to prosper on social media and fans flock around the personalities of the goofy Daniel Ricciardo and the heartwarming Sebastian Vettel, we can look at the phenomenon of Brazilian superstar Neymar as the blueprint for an athlete and pop culture icon. "Neymar: The Perfect Chaos" shows that as incredible as Neymar is on the pitch, perhaps what has cemented him in sports history is his role as one of the first global celebrities in the digital age.
"Race: Bubba Wallace"
Bubba Wallace has been paving ground as a Black driver in NASCAR. While he's not the 7-time World Champion that Lewis Hamilton is, he's had his fair share of victories and the pressure of his role is worthy of this Netflix series, "Race." Pretty clever title, right? NASCAR is a sport rooted in the Deep South, where the Confederate Flag was still widely accepted until Wallace spoke out against it as a symbol of racism and hate. The show chronicles the historic year of 2020 and how the COVID pandemic created uncertainty in the sport, but racial tensions and the murders of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd were a tipping point for the world and for Wallace to speak out against social injustices. Oh, and he races on a team owned by Michael Jordan.
"The Art of Racing in the Rain"
"The Art of Racing in the Rain" is based off a book about an aspiring Formula 1 driver and his dog, who is his biggest cheerleader. The heartwarming story is told through the eyes of the dog. It shows the realities of how difficult it is to get into F1 and the many sacrifices that drivers must consider, including time with family. Ferrari, yet again, is the star of this film ( the dog's name is Enzo), but it's a well-rounded look at motorsport in general. As the driver, Denny, faces seemingly insurmountable odds in his family life, he channels lessons from the track to overcome. It's a story that truly inspires, as any good sports film does.