The Cult of Cars, Racing and Everything That Moves You.
We may earn a commission from links on this page

This Benetton Documentary Was the Original Drive to Survive

"A Year in the Fast Lane" follows the Benetton Formula 1 team's 1997 season.

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Jean Alesi at the 68th Italian Formula One Grand Prix
Jean Alesi at the 68th Italian Formula One Grand Prix
Photo: AFP (Getty Images)

As I embark (as a passenger) upon a truly prodigious road trip across the country, I’ve been digging through my impressive collection of YouTube playlists filled with videos that I’ve been meaning to watch but never actually got around to viewing. So, I finally downloaded “A Year in the Fast Lane,” a 1997 documentary following the Benetton Formula 1 team.

The full documentary was uploaded in parts back in late 2020 by a user called ‘View from the lookout,’ who has uploaded an incredible collection of videos that include everything from Ayrton Senna’s opening lap at Donington to — for some reason — old commercials. If you’re in the mood for a throwback, this is the place to be.


The six-part docuseries follows the Benetton team through the 1997 World Championship season. Drivers Jean Alesi, Gerhard Berger, and Alexander Wurz finished fourth, fifth, and 14th in the World Drivers’ Championship, respectively, while the team took home third place in the Constructors’ Championship after Williams and Ferrari.

It was something of a wild season for the team; despite the third-place finish, it was the last season before Benetton’s downward spiral, during which time the team scored its final F1 win. The team lasted into 2001, but it was a shadow of itself by that point.


However, this documentary is like a prototype for what would ultimately become Drive to Survive. There are interviews with crew members, “overheard” conversations in busy restaurants, driver interviews, and more. And it all has that nostalgic VHS-like fuzz that transports you back in time. It’s exactly what I imagine an old DTS would end up being.

You can find all six parts on YouTube: