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Drive to Survive Season 6

Our Take on ‘Drive to Survive’ Season 6 Netflix

22/02/2024

Netflix’s ‘Drive to Survive’ returns with its sixth season, delving into the F1 world with traditional flair and new controversies, offering fans an exclusive peek behind the curtain.

As it has become tradition, Netflix releases this Friday morning the sixth season of ‘Drive to Survive,’ its behind-the-scenes F1 series produced by Box to Box Films. Like each season, the program consists of ten episodes with a runtime of around 35 minutes each, covering several teams.

The first part of this review is guaranteed spoiler-free, and we’ll alert you when spoilers are approaching! But in assessing the program’s quality, it’s regrettable that Box to Box has once again employed the same formula, with increased exaggeration.

Why lament this? Because the audience, initially unfamiliar with F1 at the series’ debut, has now become seasoned, whether with F1 itself or at least with Drive to Survive.

Moreover, it’s puzzling why the series overly simplifies every scene, explaining on-screen events in an overly didactic manner. It’s doubtful that newcomers are discovering F1 through this sixth season, and a less hand-holding approach that delves more into details would have been preferable.

Speaking of the stale formulas that are served up without nuance, the editing deserves criticism for becoming increasingly disjointed, betraying the facts more and more. Snippets of commentary, reuse of radio communications in multiple parts of the series, and non-representative images: there are numerous consistency flaws attempting to add unnecessary spice to the action.

However, the series’ major positive aspect remains:

Not everything is bleak in this picture, as Drive to Survive continues to deliver what interests us most about the program: genuine behind-the-scenes footage. Dinners between a team director and their drivers, contract negotiation meetings, and pilots sharing candid insights: many sequences provide deeper insight into the behind-the-scenes of the 2023 season.

This makes the producers’ perceived need to maintain a frantic pace at the expense of reality even more regrettable. It also affects the race sequences, sometimes rendering them nonsensical despite often beautiful imagery.

Speaking of nonsensical, one cannot overlook the consultant interviews, with the inimitable Will Buxton, who seems to take pleasure in stating the obvious. Again, F1 fans who discovered the sport through the series no longer need such evident commentary.

The addition of two consultants, Claire Williams and Danica Patrick, is noteworthy. The former team director and the former driver sometimes offer interesting perspectives on the main figures of the sport, and a good portion of these comments are appreciated.

To summarize before reviewing the episodes, the series’ artificial aspect is regrettable, increasingly taking precedence when it should instead be minimized. Moreover, the dominance of Red Bull and Max Verstappen is largely ignored, which is surprising since it was the main storyline in 2023.

But the behind-the-scenes sequences, portraying the drivers and F1 personalities in their daily lives, remain a compelling reason to watch the series. The final episode, which focuses extensively on the Las Vegas weekend, showcases some particularly interesting behind-the-scenes footage.

Our Episode-by-Episode Review

If you prefer not to learn more about the content of season 6, we advise against reading further, as the remainder of this article contains spoilers for the ten episodes of the season.

The first episode is largely dedicated to Aston Martin F1, focusing on the season’s preparation in the new factory, and Lance Stroll’s injury. It notably features his father, Lawrence, torn between his roles as team owner and father.

In the second episode, we witness Nyck de Vries’ F1 debut and follow his journey to his dismissal, during which Daniel Ricciardo is called up. Discussions held at Silverstone are particularly highlighted, even though it seems surprising to see Netflix teams at Ricciardo’s private test location.

Episode 3 depicts McLaren’s initial difficult races and Lando Norris’s hesitations about moving to another team. It shows that this was a real concern for the Briton, but the team’s return to form helped motivate and mobilize him again.

The fourth part contrasts Haas and Williams, battling at the start of the season to avoid finishing last in the constructors’ standings. The leadership styles of both teams’ heads, Günther Steiner and James Vowles, are notably contrasted.

The fifth episode portrays the rivalry at Alpine between Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly, employing the series’ less pleasant techniques to create unnecessary tension. On a positive note, it allows us to relive the podiums of the two French drivers.

Several Very Interesting Topics

The sixth episode focuses on Lewis Hamilton and his hesitations about leaving Mercedes. One of the season’s most interesting episodes, it reveals the Briton’s discomfort at Mercedes, especially after the team’s refusal to heed his feedback on abandoning the ‘zero sidepod’ concept.

In episode 7, we return to Alpine, where we see the arrival of new investors led by actor Ryan Reynolds. Concurrently, we witness the palace revolution that led to Otmar Szafnauer’s ousting. This episode is far more interesting than the first one about Alpine.

Episode 8 shows the pressure surrounding Frédéric Vasseur at Ferrari in his first year leading the Scuderia. We catch glimpses of his management style with the drivers, offering again some interesting footage.

The ninth chapter depicts Daniel Ricciardo’s injury in the Netherlands, Liam Lawson stepping in for him, and the challenge of two seats at AlphaTauri, now RB F1, for three drivers. This episode is interesting, although, as often, everything tends to be dramatized.

Finally, the last part covers the two final races and the battle between Mercedes and Ferrari. Most notably, it features Fred Vasseur’s anger after the incident in EL1 at Las Vegas, and the drivers’ reaction to the excessive show they were asked to participate in. These behind-the-scenes glimpses reveal the human aspect behind the excessive communication.

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