The Best F1 Movies and Documentaries You Can Watch Right Now

(Via Getty Images/ Hannah Scherwatzky)

In sports today, and really any entertainment, content is king. If you want to grow the popularity of a league or attract a younger/newer fanbase, you have to cultivate content and create a brand. The sport of racing has excelled at this, creating numerous documentaries

In sporting events that entail racing like the Tour de FranceNASCAR, and F1, the difference between first and the middle of the pack can come down to mere milliseconds. With such little margin for error, racers are required to optimize every little detail of their race strategy to ensure optimal performance.

Because of this tight margin, the ends of these races can be exceptionally exciting. Whether it's a close race or following the drama between races, there is always plenty of content in Formula 1. Here are the best F1 movies and documentaries you can watch right now.

1.) Drive To Survive

  • Release: 2019
  • IMDb rating: 8.6/10

The recent influx of interest surrounding Formula 1 and racing in general can directly be attributed to the popular Netflix series Drive To Survive. The series first aired in 2019, with four seasons of the show currently available. What's distances this series amongst other F1 documentaries is how the focus isn't necessarily on the races itself, but the drama that ensues within and between teams.

The 2021 Formula One World Championship highlighted the tight battle between the established Lewis Hamilton and young Max Verstappen. The show excels at condensing season long drama into cleanly packaged 40 minutes episodes. This is a great series to start with if you are new to the sport of F1 and curios to what the sport looks like behind the scenes.


2.) Senna

  • Release: 2010
  • IMDb rating: 8.5/10

Ayrton Senna was one of the most revered drivers that has even sat in a Formula 1 car. The three time Brazilian world champion was a trailblazer in the sport, helping bring more attention to the sport.

The documentary film gives an in-depth look at the most iconic moments from Senna's career. His epic rivalry with Alain Prost is a big focus throughout the film. The two drivers would confront each other regularly, which led to commentators highlighting the rivalry. The film also goes into a vivid recount of the tragic 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, where Senna passed away after a crash.

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3.) Schumacher

  • Release: 2021
  • IMDb rating: 7.4/10

When looking at any established sports league, it's important to give flowers to the OG's. The greats who helped lay the framework and create hype which inevitably led to the leagues success. In Formula 1, Michael Schumacher is that OG. Schumacher raced in F1 from 1991 to 2006, winning seven world championships along the way. The documentary Schumacher gives us an intimate look into the career of the great driver through exclusive interviews and footage from his racing days. This is an excellent documentary for anyone looking to gain more knowledge on the history of one of the greatest drivers to ever live.


4.) Rush

  • Release: 2013
  • IMDb rating: 8.1/10

Renowned director Ron Howard dipped his toes into the Formula 1 world when he made Rush in 2013, A biopic about the epic rivalry between English driver James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Austrian driver Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) in the 1970's. Hunt was known for being eccentric and having a certain swagger to him, whereas Lauda was methodical and locked in on becoming the best. They would go head-to-head numerous times across 1973 to 1979, with four world championships combined between the two racers.


5.) A Life of Speed: The Juan Manuel Fangio Story

  • Release: 2020
  • IMDb rating: 7.0/10

If Michael Schumacher is the Michael Jordan of F1, Juan Manuel Fangio is its Bill Russell. Fangio was a Formula One driver in the 1950's. He won five world championships, including a streak of four straight from 1954 to 1957. What is so special about Fangios run is the conditions he did it under. There was little to no safety regulation in racing during these days, with the actual condition of cars and tracks not up to standard. Despite all the setbacks, Fangio was able to consistently distance himself as the best racer in the world. Many still consider him as the greatest racer to ever step foot in a car.


6.) 1- Life On The Limit

  • Release: 2013
  • IMDb rating: 7.9/10

The reality of Formula 1 and racing in general is that it's a dangerous sport. Today, we have regulations and precautions in place to mediate danger, but that wasn't always the case. 1: Life On The Limit gives insight into what dangers racers faced during the golden age of F1. In it's early years, there were multiple fatalities on the race course, with the most recent one being Ayrton Senna in 1994. The film takes us through each of those incidents, with an emphasis on how they could've been avoided. This is an excellent piece of content if you're looking to gain some empathy for race car drivers and the real dangers they face when they sit behind the wheel.

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7.) McLaren

  • Release: 2017
  • IMDb rating: 7.3/10

The story of Bruce McLaren is a classic tale on why you should never give up if you truly are passionate about something. McLaren was a race car driver and constructor from 1958 to 1970. He is most well known for his role as a constructor, innovating his cars in new ways that no other team had done in the past. McLaren was an extremely competitive driver, and that translated to his career as a constructor. He would tragically pass away while testing the McLaren M8D in 1970, but his legacy still lives on with the McLaren racing brand.

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8.) Graham Hill: Driven

  • Release: 2008
  • IMDb rating: 8.8/10

Graham Hill is one of the greatest and most important figures in the scene of racing. The British driver wouldn't pass his drivers test until he was 24 years old, and would enter the world of racing just a year after. He is the only racer to complete a triple crown, winning the Indianapolis 500, 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the Formula 1 World Drivers Championship. The Film Graham Hill: Driven gives us an in-depth look into the life of Graham Hill and how he rose to prominence in the sport.

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