Following the highly anticipated release of Drive to Survive Season Four in March, it was announced on 5 May that the hit Netflix docuseries has been renewed for a fifth and sixth season. The show promises exclusive access to parts of F1 that fans don’t get to see during the season. In recent seasons, fans have taken issue with the edited timelines, out of context interviews and portrayal of the drivers. Is the renewal a good thing for F1, or is it dampening the reputation of the sport?
The show is very accessible and has brought in a huge volume of new fans to the sport. If you’re new to F1, it’s a very easy show to watch despite not having all the F1 knowledge yet. It also gave long-term fans brand new behind-the-scenes footage of what really goes on behind the helmets. It started off as a success but, in recent seasons, the show has got some negative press. Not only from fans, but the drivers themselves.
What do the drivers think?
Max Verstappen has recently voiced his disapproval of the Netflix series, especially on how it portrays drivers and its tendency to create fake rivalries. In the most recent series, it was McLaren driver Lando Norris whose portrayal fans took issue with. In edited footage, Norris and teammate Daniel Ricciardo appeared to have off-track tension. This was confusing to viewers, as the pair’s social media documentation of each other has suggested otherwise.
Personalities like Daniel Ricciardo have thrived from the series, with some referring to him as ‘Netflix’s Golden Boy’. Other personalities like Charles Leclerc and George Russell have prominent features throughout the seasons too. Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, and Sir Lewis Hamilton are rarely in the show, which is perhaps suggestive of their opinions on the series.
The show also gives us access to the team principles. Redbull’s Christian Horner is a familiar face on the show and gives fans plenty of access as to what it is like in the Red Bull paddock. Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff too pops up throughout the seasons, often to discuss his star driver, Sir Lewis Hamilton.
How has it affected the sport?
Despite the controversies around the show, there is no doubt that it has had a huge impact on the success of the sport. It has made F1 global, brought in more revenue for the sport and ensured its success in the future. But, at what cost? Is F1’s integrity compromised by the reality TV side to the sport?
The renewal of Drive to Survive will bring many more fans to the support. However, the reputation that the show has created in F1 leaves a sour taste in some fans’ mouths who feel that the sport has become nothing more than a drama.
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