Race to Perfection director explains hardest part of making F1 docuseries

Andrew de Souza said it was tough seeing the emotion former drivers like Sir Jackie Stewart still felt about their friends who had died.

Sir Jackie Stewart

Race to Perfection director Andrew de Souza has singled out what for him was the hardest part of making the docuseries: seeing the emotional impact the sport’s losses have had on retired drivers.

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De Souza spoke to over 50 interview subjects for the film, including several world champions, and he said that talking to them it became apparent that many of them still feel a sense of loss decades after losing friends to the sport.

“We went to Geneva and talked to Sir Jackie,” he explained. “And talking to all these people about Formula 1, I think probably what I found the hardest was the emotion, the sense of loss that they felt.

“We talked to Sir Jackie about Jochen Rindt and Jim Clark, and Sir Jackie was in tears talking about the day he found out that Jim had died. Over 50 years later it’s still so raw for them, it still affects them and that sense of loss never really leaves you.” 

The series consists of seven episodes, each focusing on a different theme, including Championship Deciders, Great Cars of Formula 1 and Controversial Moments.

De Souza’s personal favourite episode is the fourth one, titled Triumph and Tragedy, while he is also proud of the way Michael Schumacher’s story is told in the Trailblazers episode and describes the first episode Living the Dream as “a beautiful piece of art” – despite admitting it was the most challenging episode to put together.

Asked what he thinks continues to make Formula One such a compelling sport 70 years after it began, the director didn’t hesitate to point out it was the drivers themselves – and the sacrifices they are often willing to make, especially those in years gone by when safety protocols weren’t nearly as advanced.

“The amount of deaths they had – 3,4,5 deaths a year was almost the norm,” he said. “And I think that comes across. We talk about Nicki Lauda, the ultimate sporting comeback – he almost died and then six weeks later he’s racing again, putting on bandages that are sticking to his face but still going out there and racing. It’s these sort of stories that I hope will resonate with people.”

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Race to Perfection debuts on 12th September on Sky One and NOW TV – in addition to F1TV  – with all episodes available to watch live or on demand. Find out what else is on with our TV Guide.