Formula 1’s popularity in the United States has surged, and it’s not solely due to the three races held in the country, the admirable character of the American F1 team’s boss, or the emergence of a new young American driver accumulating points in the world championship standings. The real catalyst is Netflix’s “Drive To Survive,” a captivating docuseries that skillfully narrates the recent Formula 1 seasons, employing selective editing and a subtle reshaping of facts for dramatic effect. This series crafts villains, spotlights heroes, and provides viewers with a digestible overview of the F1 world.
Despite the sport’s long history since the 1940s, many F1 stories predate current world champion Max Verstappen and breakout star Daniel Ricciardo, stories that Netflix fans may be oblivious to. “Brawn: The Impossible Formula 1 Story,” a remarkable Disney+ series premiering on November 15, explores one such tale—the miraculous 2009 season of Brawn GP. This underdog story, largely unknown to new American fans, unfolds like a fantastical legend, akin to hearing about the Chicago Cubs’ century-long championship drought until their improbable victory in 2016.
While Formula 1 has become easily accessible in the United States, thanks to broadcast deals and streaming services, the Brawn GP story remains unfamiliar to many. The Disney+ documentary delves into this incredible narrative, exploring its enduring impact on the sport. The series introduces new rules, shines a spotlight on emerging engineers and team bosses, and reveals the fate of the team after its iconic season. Whether a fan of “Drive To Survive” or a newcomer to F1, the Brawn GP story stands as one of the greatest underdog sports tales, providing thrilling television.
The documentary details Ross Brawn’s role as the technical director for Scuderia Ferrari, his contributions to their championships with Michael Schumacher, and his subsequent decision to retire. However, Honda’s F1 team offered him a position to run their team. Facing the global financial crisis, Honda decided to withdraw from racing, leading Brawn to negotiate the purchase of the team, ultimately creating Brawn GP. Initially conceived as a survival plan, the team’s car, named in tribute to Brawn, turned out to be exceptionally competitive, dominating other teams and causing a stir in the F1 community.
The series not only explores the intricacies of the Brawn GP saga but is enhanced by its host, Keanu Reeves. Reeves, a racing enthusiast with a profound knowledge of the sport, injects infectious enthusiasm into the interviews. Serving as an equal star alongside key F1 figures, Reeves elevates the documentary beyond a sports story, making it a captivating tale of human ingenuity, perseverance, and collective triumph over adversity. “Drive To Survive” showcases why Formula 1 is cool, but “Brawn” transcends the sport, illustrating the remarkable qualities of people.