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1 Mar 2020

Season 1 of ‘Drive to Survive’ made certain characters in Formula One look like “fucking rockstars and others, absolute wankers” to borrow a phrase of one of that first seasons headline acts - Guenther Steiner. But, like that difficult second album for recording artists it will be a challenge for those characters to shine through, especially with the sports two biggest teams partaking for the second go-around.

The Netflix series gives a fascinating insight into a world that most only ever live on the periphery of. But, no matter if you’re a die-hard fan or a total newcomer there’s more to the stories shown on screen. A deeper, sometimes even sinister narrative that can’t be dragged to the surface in the ten 30 - 40 minute episodes that make up each season.

So, I’ve decided to create a companion guide, something you can read after each episode or after you’ve binged the entire thing (like me, so I could create this).

Hopefully, each of these mini guides will only increase your desire to unfurl the inner workings of the sport further. A sport that’s not only won at the race track but back at the teams factories, in the meetings between teams, the FIA[1] and FOM [2], in the media and anywhere that political and psychological mind games can be played between all of the parties involved and some that are not.

Episode 1 - Lights out / It’s back...

Hello and welcome back. This episode is a reintroduction for those that watched season 1 and a brief guide to the main characters in the sport for those that are new. Mercedes and Ferrari abstained from season 1 and so it’s good to see their involvement in season 2 straight off the bat, even if they continue to take a backseat to the characters that defined the narrative in season 1.

One of the things that I feel deserved at least a mention and never got it were the technical changes that were imposed on the sport for 2019. They are small compared with the ones faced by the teams in 2021, but resource sapping nonetheless. So, in a highlights reel kind of way the main changes were a change to the design of the front and rear wings, primarily focused at reducing the aerodynamic losses caused to a trailing car by the turbulence created by the lead car.

The teams, albeit with the same set of regulations to follow, always come up with different ways of ‘getting around’ the obstacles placed in front of them. And whilst the changes should have slowed the cars down quite considerably, they were as fast as ever…

[1] The FIA is the sports governing body and oversees the creation of and policing of the regulations.

[2] FOM or Formula One Management is the commercial rights holder, of which Liberty Media are currently the controlling entity (Perhaps we take a deepdive into this and their predecessors at another time…). They promote the sport and see that it reaches the consumers eyeballs, be that in terms of subletting the rights for broadcast footage to the likes of SKY or negotiating deals with the circuits that the sport races on. 

I’ve bought them up, as the pair are often confused, especially by newcomers to the sport as there’s often some overlap between the two entities and they both have a vested interest in Formula One being the pinnacle of motor racing.

Season 2, Episode 1...


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