Formula 1: Drive To Survive Review: Season 5 gets a tune up

Two Formula 1 cars speed around a corner in a scene from season 5 of Formula 1: Drive to Survive.

Formula 1: Drive to Live

“Formula 1: Drive to Survive gets a fresh look at season 5, and the result is a more rewarding and authentic season of racing drama.”


  • Less manufactured drama, more real emotion

  • The participation of Max Verstappen elevates the series

  • The big headlines of F1 Packages 2022 are good


  • Some races get lost in the mix

Sports documentaries are often a tough sell to audiences outside of a specific audience, but every now and then, a series transcends the boundaries of a particular athlete, team or longtime dedicated fan of a particular sport. Netflix seems to have caught streaming lightning in a bottle Formula 1: Drive to Livehis documentary on the Formula One World Championship which debuted in 2019 and garnered critical acclaim (and mainstream success) over its first four award-winning seasons.

Season 5 of Formula 1: Drive to Live A much-needed overhaul of the series chronicles the 2022 season, tweaking several aspects of the show that were widely criticized while still delivering a deep, thoughtful dive into the action on and off the track. That includes the drivers, the teams, and the business side of Formula 1. Like the seasons before the current one, the latest series of Drive to Live episodes offer an inside look at the sport that is as entertaining and interesting for newcomers as it is for longtime fans.

This review of Formula 1: Drive to Survive season 5 is based on the first eight episodes of the 10-episode season.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner stares at a screen in a scene from season 5 of Formula 1: Drive to Survive.

Return the king

One of the biggest changes in the fifth season of the series is something that was conspicuously absent Drive to Live in recent years: the presence of reigning world champion Max Verstappen.

Red Bull’s main driver and one of the sport’s biggest stars at the moment, Verstappen has boycotted several seasons of Drive to Live because of complaints about the way Netflix portrayed various aspects of the sport – from driver relationships to events that took place during races. Verstappen has refused to be interviewed and has largely been a background figure in the show up to this point, leaving audiences in disarray for a story that has risen to the highest level of the sport in years. down

That changes in season 5, which puts Verstappen front and center for much of the season’s 10 episodes – and adds the perspective of the sport’s reigning champion to the show. His interviews with Netflix are insightful and consistently add a fresh and interesting dimension to what we see on screen. Her presence fills a void that casual viewers may not have been very familiar with, but elevates the series as a whole.

Several drivers, including Red Bull's Max Verstappen, walk along the track, holding their helmets, in a scene from season 5 of Formula 1: Drive to Survive.

Less friction, more friendly

Perhaps as a result of the agreement that brought Verstappen into the show, season 5 of it Drive to Live it also spends far less time on conflicts (real or otherwise) between drivers, and instead mines drama from the sport’s bigger-picture elements and team rivalries.

Previous seasons of Drive to Live Drivers have not shied away from being both heroes and villains in the season-long storylines seen for the series – much to the chagrin of many drivers. That storytelling strategy is largely gone in the fifth season, which spends much more time focusing on the delicate balance between friendship and rivalry among the men behind the wheels of Formula 1 cars.

Drivers Lewis Hamilton, Daniel Riccardo, and Sergio Perez pose together before a race in a scene from season 5 of Formula 1: Drive to Survive.

That story is not lost, however, as there is still plenty of drama at Netflix as the teams deal with many new rules and regulations for the cars for the 2022 season, and many racers competing for their careers again.

Drive to Live at his best when covering the sagas of veteran drivers struggling to stay competitive late in their careers, or young drivers learning to succeed — or fail — amid the intense pressure of Formula 1. The drivers and team principals (basically, the team leaders). the racing team) who are in front of the sport, and Drive to Live Their thrilling stories have done a great job regardless of your level of familiarity with the sport. By toning down the manufactured drama and leaning into the people themselves, season 5 feels like a better arc of the show as a whole, and retells everyone’s stories in a more real, personal way.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc and team principal Mattia Binotto shake hands in a scene from season 5 of Formula 1: Drive to Survive.

victory lap

It is a testament to the efforts and foresight of the producers and creative team of that series Drive to Live as accessible as it manages to be from season to season.

Viewers don’t need to know anything about cars, racing, engineering or business to be quickly engaged in the series’ story, and Drive to Live It has managed to maintain that mainstream appeal – while also providing plenty of fresh content for longtime fans – over the five seasons so far. The latest season of the series is arguably the best to date, thanks to the more comprehensive perspective we get from Verstappen’s involvement, and the sources of drama and compelling storylines he chooses to tackle. – this time around.

Not only one of the best sports documentaries of recent years, but also one of the best documentaries currently being produced, Formula 1: Drive to Live Continues to earn a place on the podium for Netflix. Season 5 represents an overhaul of the show, but Drive to Live this makes the garage a smoother story vehicle that performs better, and feels like it still has plenty of track ahead of it.

Season 5 of Formula 1: Drive to Live premieres February 24, 2023, on Netflix.

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