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Formula 1: Drive to Survive Season 6 Review: Netflix adds much-needed drama to a dull 2023 F1 season

The sixth season of the popular motorsport documentary leans more on the midfield tussle instead of Max Verstappen and Red Bull’s sheer dominance at the top 

Formula 1: Drive to Survive Season 6 Review: Netflix adds much-needed drama to a dull 2023 F1 season

Last Updated: 02.34 AM, Feb 28, 2024


Story: Formula 1: Drive to Survive returns for another season of drama both on and off the tracks of the biggest motorsport competition in the world. From the magnetic Daniel Ricciardo returning to McLaren’s mid-season resurgence, and more, season 6 of the documentary shifts its focus on the teams trying to catch up with the near-invincible Red Bull.


Review: There is a common misconception that European club football is the most cut-throat sport in the world. While this is true to a certain degree, the money and politics involved in Formula 1 is almost unmatched. The crème de la crème of motorsport is unforgiving and a superstar driver could be without an F1 seat in the space just a few months, and disappear into obscurity. Some have managed to claw their way back through sheer grit, determination, and a bit of fortune. One such story is about popular F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo, once touted as a future World Champion, who returned to the sport after being without an F1 seat at the start of the 2023 season. Netflix has capitalised on Ricciardo’s incredible return and turned into one of the pivotal subplots of Formula 1: Drive to Survive Season 6.


The fifth season of Formula 1: Drive to Survive did not deliver as one would expect from a fly-on-the-wall documentary. The fact that the infamous fallout in 2022 between the Red Bull teammates, World Champion Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez, was not even referenced in season 5 is reprehensible. It also highlights how much power Red Bull team principal Christian Horner wields in Formula 1. It will be interesting how Netflix addresses allegations of inappropriate behaviour by Horner towards a female colleague for the next season of Drive to Survive – allegations that were brought to light in recent weeks. The sixth season, however, has managed to deliver a more incisive and insightful documentary of the 2023 season. In fact, it even focuses on Horner’s attempts to poach Lando Norris from McLaren, when the team were struggling at the start of the season.


Haas boss Gunther Steiner, who has found immense popularity through the documentary, is once again the star of the series. His unflinching and blunt personality is again on full display, making for an intriguing watch. Netflix will have yet another problem to address in season 7, considering Steiner departed Haas at the end of the season and will leave a massive hole for the series to fill. The ruthlessness of the sport is put under the microscope in season 6 with the sacking of Alpha Tauri driver Nyck de Vries a few races into the season – whose spot was taken by the returning Ricciardo. Even team principals were not spared in 2023 as Otmar Szafnauer, the former team principal of Alpine, was unceremoniously replaced – a shocking event that is well-documented by Drive to Survive.


If not for the midfield battles between Mercedes and Ferrari, and McLaren and Aston Martin, the latest season risked being just as dull as the actual F1 season. With Red Bull winning all but one of the races in 2023, the Constructors Championship battle was void of any excitement. And with Verstappen winning an unprecedented 19 out of the 22 races, not even his teammate Pérez could mount a challenge against the 26-year-old Dutchman. Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff and the new Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur offer insights into their teams’ struggle to match Red Bull. However, one person who does not add anything meaningful or insightful to the documentary is the latest addition to the series – former American NASCAR driver Danica Patrick. If the showrunners intended to offer a female perspective to a male-dominated sport, Claire Williams, the former team principal of Williams and the daughter of the team’s founder Sir Frank Williams, has more than done a commendable job at serving as season 6’s F1 expert. Unfortunately, Patrick simply states the obvious and her lack of Formula 1 insight is far too evident. In fact, more screen time for Susie Wolff, a former race car driver herself, also the managing director of the F1 Academy, and the wife of Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, would have been far more compelling.


It is a shame that the documentary was unable to include seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton’s shock announcement of joining Ferrari in 2025. Fans will have to wait for another year to find out more about Hamilton’s decision to leave Mercedes, and also about the investigation surrounding Christian Horner.

Verdict: Season 6 of Formula 1: Drive to Survive is an improvement from its predecessor. Unlike season 5, the latest edition does not cut corners (racing pun intended) and offers an unadulterated version of events of an unremarkable Formula 1 season. While Max Verstappen's record-breaking World Championship win rendered the Championship battle monotonous, Netflix has sprinkled in plenty of drama off the tracks, involving drivers and team principals, to deliver a captivating season.



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