The dichotomy of Formula 1 sets up this way: There’s the extraordinary passions on display during the races from the drivers, teams and the fans. Then there’s the backstabbing behind the scenes.
Both elements — the racing on track and the chatter in the paddock — receive full measures of attention in the continuing documentary seasons about F1 televised on Netflix, where the objectives seem to be to pump up the anxieties, the death-defying crashes, and the verbal sniping.
“Formula 1: Drive to Survive” enters its fifth year of backward-looking race-by-race coverage, starting with Episode 1 airing on Feb. 24, focused on 2022’s opening event in Bahrain. That track will also host the start of the 2023 Formula 1 World Championship, set for March 5.
The stars are out in force in the trailer and in the debut episode, with last year’s Grand Prix winner Max Verstappen getting the lion’s share of attention in the interview close-ups, ruminating about being aggressive (duh). His boss of the Red Bull team, Christian Horner, explains how the other teams target his “because we win” (double duh). Former champ Lewis Hamilton mulls about “mistakes creeping in.” Ferrari shows up plenty in the coming season apparently, mainly crashing its cars. Expletives abound from just about everyone.
Even though there’s no Formula 1 Super Bowl — wouldn’t that be fun — the sport has grown in popularity recently in the United States, thanks in part to the “Survive” series. This coming season will see three races in the States, in Texas, Miami and Las Vegas, and with American Logan Sargeant driving for Williams.
As far as offering up more details on the first episode … well, we’re sworn to secrecy. But we will disclose one teeny-tiny word: Kevin Magnussen. Wait, that’s two words.