As a result of the increasing craze for motorsport films, a wide selection of F1-based documentaries have appeared in recent years.
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Fans of Formula One can find solace in rewatching classics like Grand Prix or finding new favorites like Ferrari: Race to Immortality.
To fight off the symptoms of motorsport withdrawal, all of these videos are available without ever having to leave the comfort of your couch, offering something for everyone from the most ardent fan to the most casual F1 viewer.
1. Grand Prix 1966
There are three love tales intertwined with action moments in this Oscar-winning film about a fictitious Formula One season. It’s the racing in this film that has made it one of filmmaker John Frankenheimer’s best hits, despite some criticism of the plot. As a tribute to the golden era of motorsport, Grand Prix has racing sequences that stand up to even the most technologically proficient modern counterparts. It’s a must-see for all Formula One aficionados.
Along with the historical footage, new dramatic footage and conversations with individuals who knew Bruce McLaren help tell his story. The most stunning aspect of the documentary is that it reveals the incredible devotion and commitment he instilled in those who worked for him as he went from humble beginnings in New Zealand to the pinnacle of motorsports. McLaren’s pioneering founder’s story continues to be poignant as the company fights back from a rough few of years.
3. 1:Life on the Limit
In terms of interviews, “Life on the Limit” features the best of the best when it comes to a wide range of racing legends, from John Surtees to Lewis Hamilton. Race car racing began in the early 1900s, and it’s been a long road from then to today’s Formula 1. Documentary emphasizes the difficulty of balancing safety and excitement in a sport that is inherently risky by using rare and archival video.
Fans and non-fans alike will enjoy Ron Howard’s film reenactment of the 1976 Formula One season. James Hunt and Niki Lauda’s duel for the Formula One world championship is masterfully portrayed in Rush, which is unafraid to dive into Lauda’s life-changing disaster at the Nurburgring. That doesn’t detract from the film’s racing passion, which features Marvel Cinematic Universe actors Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl as Hunt and Lauda, respectively
5. Williams (2017)
Williams is, above all, a personal look at the Williams family. From Frank Williams’ inception of the squad to his daughter Claire’s current leadership, a combination of fresh and archival film depicts the story. On Virginia Williams, the wife of Frank and the mother-in-law to Claire, is the subject of the story. For example, interviews with the likes of Nigel Mansell and Sir Patrick Head serve to bring the story of a true family enterprise to life.
6. Weekend of a Champion
Roman Polanski’s 1971 documentary on Sir Jackie Stewart’s Monaco Grand Prix weekend was made possible by the fact that Polanski was a personal friend of Stewart’s. As a result of having so much access to both the star and the racing driver, the documentary provides a glimpse inside the life of a racing driver during a grand prix. If you’ve ever dreamed of observing a world champion in action, this is your opportunity.
7. Crash and Burn
Crash and Burn is working hard to bring Tommy Byrne back into the public eye. Despite being compared to Ayrton Senna, the Irish racer never became a household name, and this video examines why. An unmet potential is the result of F1’s snobbery and the inaccessibility of the sport. It’s clear from the film that this colorful guy couldn’t find his place in the glittering world of Formula One.
8. Ferrari: Race to Immortality
F1: The Race for Immortality focuses on Ferrari’s peak heyday in the 1950s. With Enzo Ferrari at the helm, tragedy and victory occur together. Ferrari’s rich motorsport history, from cinematic drama to tragedy and victory, is highlighted in the documentary by presenting the tale of how the team became legendary.
Ayrton Senna is the only driver in motorsport who has the power to captivate the imagination. From 1984 until 1994, a wealth of previously unseen video is used in this documentary to tell the story of his life. Senna’s abrupt death is surprising and emotionally upsetting after watching him through a decade of his life. Although Senna is no longer with us, the success of this documentary indicates that there is still a strong desire to learn more about the icon.
10. Motorsport Heroes
Manish Pandey, the author of Senna, has written the first film for the Motorsport Network. Racing legends Mika Hakkinen, Michele Mouton, Felipe Massa and Michael Schumacher are included in Motorsport Heroes, an anthology of stories from the worlds of racing. An emotional journey is provided by its 111-minute running time, which is backed up by archival footage from all of the drivers.
11. Drive to Survive
Netflix’s Drive to Survive is one of the most well-known Formula 1 documentary series, providing unprecedented access to F1 teams and drivers. It gives fans a unique look behind the scenes of Formula 1, allowing them to see how the races and the people who make them possible really work (rather than the PR-friendly version you might read after the fact). However, Drive to Survive has come under fire from current Formula 1 fans for its imaginative interpretations of some events and its over-the-top dramatization of others, but it is a fantastic doorway into the world of F1 for those who have never been exposed to it before.
12. Life of Speed: The Juan Manuel Fangio Story
It’s common knowledge that Juan Manuel Fangio is one of the greatest Formula 1 drivers of all time, but the tale behind the name isn’t as well-known as it should be. For this documentary, archival video, interviews with his contemporaries and competitors, as well as a look at what he did after racing, are used to tell the tale of his racing career. This is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand why Fangio is considered one of the greatest.
13. Jochen Rindt: Uncrowned Champion
In 1970, Jochen Rindt became the first posthumous Formula One World Champion. This Sky Sports documentary examines Rindt as a person and the terrible end to his professional career. Films such as Jochen Rindt: Uncrowned Champion reflect the glitter and danger that Formula 1 was known for at the time of its inception.
14. Uppity: The Willy T. Ribbs Story
With its focus on Willy Ribbs, an African-American racing driver who made a name for himself in Formula 1, Uppity does not focus just on F1. There is a lot of emphasis on the hardships and racism that were faced by him as an African-American driver in the sport, as well as his unwavering determination in breaking through it.