Formula 1: Drive to Survive is a documentary series produced in a collaboration between Netflix and Formula One to give a behind-the-scenes look at the drivers and races of the Formula One World Championship.
The first season covering the 2018 World Championship premiered on 8 March 2019, the second season covering the 2019 World Championship premiered on 28 February 2020, and the third season covering the 2020 World Championship premiered on 19 March 2021. A fourth season covering the 2021 World Championship was premiered on 11 March 2022.
Drive to Survive provides a behind-the-scenes look at the circuit that uses the world as its playground, highlighting the action and giving context to storylines that emerge both on and off the course.
When the first season was released in 2019, the documentary was streamed in 1 million households over its first 28 days in the sport’s home country of the U.K. It is just 9.1% of the total number of U.K. households with a Netflix account, but that is still a turbocharged performance as it has expanded the audience of the auto racing series.
“We understood that doing something like this that elevates new heroes in the sport has raised interest in the casual F1 fans,” said F1’s global research director Matt Roberts. “Many people come up to me at races / in the streets and say that they weren’t F1 fans, but they are now…because of the series.”
He added that “our fastest-growing audience has been the under 35s the past 2 years (helped by esports and Netflix)”, though F1 still isn’t firing on all cylinders. Netflix has helped to rev up the demographics of its television audience, but only 14% of its viewers are under 25, as we reported in 2019.
How Netflix boosted F1 on numbers:
In terms of audience growth, an enormous explosion in popularity since Drive To Survive first hit Netflix streaming queues was experienced in the United States. The Formula 1 calendar has recently committed to a second American race in Miami.
This is no small feat considering the Land of the Free/Home of the Brave has its own thriving ecosystem of motosports, which (previously) left very little room for its sexier European counterparts.
US Grand Prix attendance numbers in 2018: 264,000 vs US Grand Prix attendance numbers in 2021: 400,000. In terms of revenue, the dollar figure has climbed from a respectable US$1.15 billion in 2020 to US$2.14 billion in 2021 (+86%)
Formula 1’s Liberty Media-owned stock (NASDAQ: FWONA) has also increased in price by a noticeable margin, returning +62% since Drive To Survive season 1 premiered in March 2021.
This year, the entire fanbase is on track to exceed a billion, with 77% of new viewers who entered the fold in the past two years currently aged between the coveted demographic of 16 to 35.