7 Must Watch F1 Documentaries in the Winter Break before the Start of the 2021 F1 Season

Published 12/26/2020, 7:08 AM EST
Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and McLaren is interviewed by the media during previews to the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

The time period between December and March is one of the most boring phases for an F1 fan. With no action throughout the three months, some fans prefer watching the entire season again. Some prefer reliving much older races.


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Well, apart from watching races, it would be quite interesting to watch documentaries. Ever since F1 started receiving incredible responses from around the world, quite a lot of documentaries and recreated movies have started to show up.

This could also pretty much be the only option to keep the love for Formula 1 going. Now, let’s take a look at some well-rated documentaries related to F1.


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F1 Drive to Survive

Not surprised to come across this particular name, right? Well, Drive to Survive has to be one of the best F1 documentary series ever made. As of now, Netflix has released two seasons, with each comprising 10 episodes.

Drive to Survive aired on Netflix in March 2019, focusing on the 2018 season of F1. The series depicts the behind-the-scenes of drivers, teams, and their bosses.

Although the series’ season 1 released rather quietly without much recognition, it gradually started receiving more attention. Eventually, as Netflix released the second season, the global response was immense.

Drive to Survive isn’t something an F1 fan would want to miss. Moreover, with the third season likely to drop by early next season, it could be the perfect time to start with the series if you haven’t watched it yet.

Senna (2010)

This documentary revolves around the racing legend Ayrton Senna, and his incredible career in Formula 1. The film hit the roof of fame when it reached the theaters, as quite a lot of film festivals opted to play the film, including Sundance and Melbourne. The movie won around six awards after being nominated in eight categories.

There are some F1 fans out there who are unaware of Senna’s astonishing career in the sport. The movie depicts every single moment of his time in Formula 1.

The film starts off with Senna entering Formula 1 in 1984. Following his race wins and championship wins, the movie ends with his funeral following a painful fatal crash in Italy during the race in 1994.

The entire country of Brazil wept after losing Senna, as the country eventually declared three days of mourning for the young Brazilian world champion.

1 (2013)

The movie ‘1’ is a documentary film portraying the level of risk that Formula 1 carries. It reveals the fact that F1 drivers are always dancing between the line of life and death when driving the dangerously fast one-seaters.

Drivers like Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Michael Schumacher, Martin Brundle have starred in the film as interviewees.

The documentary shows raw footage of crashes. It also details the fatalities of each and every driver, from Ayrton Senna’s fatal accident to the unfortunate recent death of the young Frenchman, Jules Bianchi.

Although it could be quite disturbing for a few viewers, it is definitely a reality check to the ones who believe that F1 is a safe sport. It may be safer now. However, the movie showed what damage a raw-powered F1 car could do in the 80s and the 90s.

McLaren (2017) – F1 documentary on Bruce McLaren

As the title suggests, McLaren is basically a documentary film based on the life of Bruce McLaren, who founded the racing team, Bruce McLaren Motor racing team, which ruled the F1 grid and other series as well for quite a lot of years.

The movie is a recreation of the racing legend. However, there are several clips throughout the movie that show McLaren’s interviews and archival footage.

Williams (2017) – F1 documentary on Sir Frank Williams

The film depicts the life of Sir Frank Williams and his family. Apart from their personal lives, the movie also illustrates how Frank founded the Williams racing team and how his family joined hands together to keep the team afloat in Formula 1.

BBC Films took up the movie’s production as the movie made its way into the theaters in Ireland and the United Kingdom later on.

Ferrari: Race to Mortality (2017)

The movie revolves around the towering figure, Enzo Ferrari, and his brilliance in carrying his racing team to the top in Formula 1. The film celebrates the deserving drivers that got the Italian F1 team, their name and fame, which is still lasting after over 60 years.

The film also portrays one of the friendliest teammate battles in F1 between the two Ferrari drivers, Peter Collins and Mike Hawthorn.

Rush (2013)

Although Rush isn’t a documentary film, it is still a film worth watching. The movie was recreated to rekindle the memories of one of the most fierce battles in Formula 1 history between Niki Lauda and James Hunt.

The film, starring Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl, revolves around the two drivers’ entry into F1 and how they wound up to be rivals, and subsequently friends despite the contrasting personalities.


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Rush also details the scary crash that Lauda fell victim to, and Hunt playing a crucial part in his recovery from the disturbing accident, which partially burned his face.

Eventually, the movie ends with Lauda’s voiceover about hearing the news of Hunt’s passing, after retiring from F1, which turned out to be quite emotional.


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Overall, the above-mentioned films hold decent critique reviews and are definitely one of the best documentaries related to Formula 1. These are particularly a must-watch for all the F1 fans around the world. Don’t miss it.


Rohit Kumar

590 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.