Formula 1: Drive to Survive Season 5 Review – Netflix’s docu-series is back fighting for podium again

Season 1

Season 2

Season 3

Season 4

Season 5


Episode Guide

The New Dawn
Bounce Back
Matter of Principal
Like Father, Like Son?
Pardon My French
Nice Guys Finish Last
Hot Seat
Alpha Male
Over The Limit
End of the Road


The numbers don’t lie, Netflix’s Drive to Survive has bolstered the popularity of Formula 1 globally, with many new fans tuning in following this sport docu-series. At the same time though, it’s also done harm for purists of the sport, unhappy with the way Netflix have spun some of the events in seasons past to make for a bombastic reality TV spectacle. As a result of season 4’s drama, big question marks remained over whether Netflix would even be allowed back in the paddock but alas, here we are.

Immediately you can tell Netflix have learnt from their mistakes and the first episode in particular takes on a very different perspective. Drivers admire their cars, crack jokes and generally have a good time ahead of race-day. Verstappen congratulates Leclerc for his win, Daniel Ricciardo is a bubble of energy while George Russell is praised by Zhou Guanyu’s for his selflessness at Silverstone. Of course, the rivalries are still here but it feels much more subdued and genuine compared to seasons past.

The season’s racing is, of course, followed from start to finish, with the usual graphics showing the ups and downs of different teams in the Constructor Championship, while the Driver Championship ultimately flatlines after an exciting start to the season. A lot of that comes down to Ferrari bungling its chance at winning the big prize, and their respective chapter (episode 3) is particularly telling. Get ready to bring out the popcorn for that one!

There’s a whole lot of drama this year but a lot of this occurs off the grid rather than on it. Anyone who follows Formula 1 will know that the later races on the calendar weren’t all that exciting and as someone who watched almost every race last year, it’s tough to get much drama from these races. That’s not to say there isn’t elements worth watching, and from a late flurry of accusations against Red Bull for overspending in 2021 to Daniel Ricciardio’s continued issues at McClaren, some of these episodes work really well to heighten the tension in other ways.

One of the more egregious parts of this season though comes from the way Zhou’s crash in Silverstone is repeatedly shown across the early episodes. It feels exploitative and a little icky,  especially given the frequency that it’s shown and the montage-esque feel to it. A few other inclusions, like a massive send-off for Riccardio compared to Sebastian Vettel, will likely disappoint die-hard fans.

Season 5 is a definite improvement over last year’s effort though, where drama and superficial rivalries take precedence over displaying what really took place between the drivers. Drive to Survive is still the definitive way of experiencing the F1 season (shy of watching every single race of course) and after finishing with a midtable run last year, Drive to Survive is back fighting for podium again.

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  • Verdicrt - 7.5/10

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