How Drive to Survive modified the sport for Components One
Ahead of the new season of Netflix’s behind-the-scenes docuseries, we speak to the show’s producers about how it is driving renewed interest in the F1 brand – and why other sports are taking note
Since the first world championship race back in 1950, Formula One has grown to become the world’s most prestigious motor racing competition and one of the most watched sports on the planet, thanks to its thrilling mix of high speed, supreme skill and intense rivalry. In recent years though, the sport has been in a state of flux. Following F1’s $4.4 billion acquisition by Liberty Media in 2016, it subsequently hired its first director of marketing and unveiled a high-profile rebrand by Wieden + Kennedy, based on research which suggested that many fans felt the sport’s glory days were behind it.
What F1’s bosses didn’t know at the time was that a documentary by streaming giant Netflix would end up providing the jump-start that the sport needed. Debuting in 2019 with a ten-episode season, which was filmed during the previous year’s championship, Drive to Survive allowed fans to witness first-hand the sport’s machinations, offering behind-the-senes footage and interviews with its biggest names as they prepared to battle it out for the world championship.
Now on its fifth season, Drive to Survive is the brainchild of Box to Box Films, the production company founded by James Gay-Rees and Paul Martin. The executive producers met during the making of Asif Kapadia’s BAFTA-nominated Diego Maradona film, with Gay-Rees having previously worked with the director on Amy, which looked back at the life of singer Amy Winehouse, and seminal sports documentary Senna, which did the same for Brazilian motor-racing legend Ayrton Senna.