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Drive to Survive Season 6 Focuses on the Stories it Has Instead of Fabricated Drama

Season six of Drive to Survive has focused on the behind-the-scenes drama that fans don’t have access to rather than on-track narratives. ...

For Formula 1 fans, Netflix’s Drive to Survive needs no introduction. Whether it has brought people in as new fans or soured the sport for older fans, it’s a big talking point in the sport. The reality show has largely been criticised for trying to fabricate drama between drivers and teams when there is none and excluding drama that did exist. Thankfully, it seems that season six has taken that criticism on board and presented narratives that did exist during the 2023 season with a focus on off-track narratives.

Drive to Survive’s largest issue in its fifth season was its focus on the narratives coming into Silverstone. For fans who saw the race live, it was confusing because it wasn’t a narrative heavy race. Why did they do this then? Because Netflix aren’t present at every race and often have to conflate and invent narratives to serve the footage they have.

Season six instead has focused on the behind-the-scenes drama that fans don’t have access to rather than the on-track narratives. This has made for a far more engaging experience for those who watched the 2023 season live. Now we get insights into Alpine and the drama with their leadership (and drivers), how Williams got their groove back, and insight into the mind of Lawrence Stroll and Aston Martin.

This is beneficial for both fans and Netflix. If the production can’t be at every race, the focus should be on off-track narratives that can then be punched up with some on-track antics when and if the need arises. For example, Episode Four: “The Last Chapter” focuses on what’s going on at the factories of both Williams and Haas. It compares and contrasts each team’s approach and philosophy, then allowing for specific races to occur that highlight which has got it right.

Side note: The inclusion of Williams team principal, James Vowles, was a personal highlight. His delightfully dorky and well-meaning manner were endearing, and we wish to protect him at all costs.

There are only two episodes that focus on one race – Episode 8: “Forza Ferrari” and Episode 10: “Red or Black”. The latter focused on Las Vegas which you can hardly blame them for. It was perhaps the biggest event in Formula 1 history and Netflix got lucky that it was at least an interesting race. The former focused on Ferrari at Monza, which unfortunately is one of the weaker episodes given the excitement of the actual race. What was interesting about Episode 8 was the Tifosi perceptions of team principal, Frederic Vasseur, though their views are presented in a way that’s convenient for the narrative rather than an actual poll.

Where’s Red Bull & Alfa Romeo?

Netflix didn’t focus on every team on the grid with notable exceptions including Alfa Romeo who are barely even mentioned throughout the whole season. Granted, there wasn’t much to mention from that end as Alfa Romeo were not the most interesting team in 2023. Though the big exclusion was Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

Both Red Bull drivers were notably absent through most of the season and given their, shall we say, dissatisfaction, with their portrayal likely opted to exclude themselves as much as possible. In Sergio Perez’s case, it’s to the audience’s detriment given his headline grabbing performances (or lack thereof) in 2023. It would have been nice to have insight as to what Perez was feeling during the year, but likely Perez didn’t want or need another headline grabbing headache to further hurt his mental health. Can’t say we blame him.

A Solid Entry

There’s less to complain about with the sixth season of Drive to Survive than previous seasons. There isn’t just one race that every episode takes place in, the focus instead is on what fans can’t see at the track and where Netflix shines – what’s going on behind the scenes of the paddock? It’s not perfect, it never has been, but this is certainly one of their best attempts yet, even if it isn’t filled with as much drama as season four.

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