The No. 1 Show In the World on Netflix Is a Car Show

Americans aren’t unfamiliar with the racing, not by a long shot. NASCAR is one of the biggest sports in the United States. However, Americans aren’t very familiar with one of the most popular forms of racing in the entire world, Formula 1. That is until Netflix got involved with the smash-hit original Netflix production about the sport. Formula 1: Drive to Survive season three is out, and the show is currently the number one show on Netflix in the world. 

How is a car show the number one show on Netflix? 

Formula 1: Drive to Survive is a television phenomenon. Who would have guessed that a reality/ documentary series about racing would be so popular? Why is it so popular? 

A Formula 1 Haas F1 Team race car moves down the track at a high rate of speed
Romain Grosjean driving the Haas Formula 1 Team on track at the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain | Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Of course, it’s easy to see why racing nerds and car nerds would be into it. The show spends as much time in the tall grass of cars and driving technique as it does anything else, but there is something else here that is getting to “non-car people.” 

Formula 1: Drive to Survive is a great introduction to the sport

Formula 1 is no budding sport, but after it changed ownership in 2017, the new owners wanted to grow the sport in America and other countries. F1 is massive in Europe, particularly, but we hadn’t really taken to it in large numbers over here in the states. As a member of the converted congregation, the first season of the show really opened in me an interest in the sport. 

Forbes reports similar types of conversions, from the neutral (myself) to the actively disinterested. 

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Two main things are happening here: 1; the show is just beautifully made, and the storytelling is captivating and dramatic. You don’t have to care about cars at all to enjoy the drama from these (mostly) young competitors. 2; The sport itself is so unlike anything most of us have ever experienced that the footage of them racing, passing, carving, and even crashing is so undeniably entertaining and awe-inspiring that you can’t help but want more. 

While all that is true on its own, the third and latest season is doubly entertaining and dramatic with the knowledge that COVID-19 hits early in the season, making for an unprecedented racing series. 

What is Formula 1 racing? 

Unlike most other sports, this one is the culmination of many different series that only allow a very small number of the best in the world to participate. This show would never work for football or baseball or some other such massive sport. Formula 1 only has 20 competitors per season, and it is international. Formula 1 racing is much closer to the Olympics than it is anything else in the sports world. 

What is a Formula 1 car? 

Formula 1 cars are more volatile and explosive than anything else on wheels. F1.com laid out all the newest rules and regulations for Formula 1 car specs. Like NASCAR, there are plenty of regulations surrounding what these teams can and can’t do with their cars. 

Most car regulations are fairly boring for non-car nerds. Most of them are meant to keep drivers and their teams safe, like measurements of aerodynamics parts and shapes and sizes of the body. However, things like weight and power are so unique to the sport that most decent drivers probably couldn’t drive one of these rocket ships if their lives depended on it. 

Formula 1 driver going around Bahrain at dusk
Daniel Ricciardo of Australia driving the McLaren F1 Team MCL35M Mercedes | Clive Mason – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images

These things are completely stripped of everything that isn’t going to either make the car go faster or save the driver’s life. These machines may seem simple at first glance, but they are far from it.

Formula 1 cars are engineering marvels, and the price tags show. Most F1 cars average around $10-$15 million per car. That may seem like a lot, but in the 2021 season, these teams are building turbocharged 1.6-liter V6 engines capable of hitting 200 mph. Not to mention, they are consistently rolling around 180 mph. 

The Netflix original, Formula 1: Drive to Survive is worth your time

The Netflix show has managed to pull people into a sport that they never knew they could care about. Something like racing specifically, or even cars, in general, have been relegated to something “Masculine.” The truth is, there is drama, intrigue, politics, aggression, friendships, and inspiration all through the sport. The show does a great job of highlighting this, but the show isn’t injecting anything that isn’t already within the car world and the racing arena.