Lights out and away we go for a new season of Drive to Survive.
Netflix's wildly popular Formula One docuseries Drive to Survive is back for a fourth season on Friday the 11th of March. The first season arrived in 2019 documenting the 2018 Formula One series with the intention of bringing the sport to a new audience and it's been far more effective at that than anyone could have imagined.
The 2021 Formula One world championship was in no way short of drama so it should come as absolutely no surprise that this year's edition of Drive to Survive is as action packed as any other. As ever the series has something for both new and returning fans, if you're new it explains everything in an easy to understand way as you get to enjoy the on track action and if you watched the season unfold you'll get to gain a new insight with plenty of brand new behind the scenes action.
There has always been criticism levelled at Drive to Survive for over dramatisation of events but this time round I've been really pleasantly surprised by how authentic this years season felt. Sure, there are portions of the show that slightly play up inter-team rivalries between drivers where really there probably wasn't a huge amount of drama. Interestingly enough Daniel Ricciardo always seems to find himself on the end of this treatment in every season of Drive to Survive. That's not to say that the drama shown isn't real, it undoubtedly is, but it often feels as though it's portrayed in a way that makes rivalries seem a lot more fierce than they are in reality. There is also a point early on in the season in which Lewis Hamilton serves a ten second penalty (if you watched this year's races you'll probsbly know what for) except it's inexplicably stretched to 32 seconds, so there is still a bit of extra tension injected in places. I'm really happy to say though that it definitely seems like old-school fans who have been sceptical of the previous seasons of the show will have a lot less to worry about this time round, this season is refreshingly true to life.
As always the show is impeccably well shot and edited. Formula One is easily the most photogenic and well shot sport in the world and Drive to Survive completely capitalises on that. The colour grading is slightly tweaked from the original TV coverage and it makes all the difference, both the off track and on track action really pop and are so unbelievably crisp when compared to any other sports coverage. I know none of this is what anyone tunes in for but it really must be appreciated, every slow-mo shot, every close up of the cars is unbelievably gorgeous but there's no surprise there.
Everyone's fan favourites return, with the exception of Max Verstappen who refused to appear this season (with issues related to the injection of artificial drama I mentioned earlier), everyone gets their time in the spotlight. Guenther Steiner is back and as loveable as ever, massive credit has to be given to the Netflix team for giving bottom of the table teams like Haas episodes and segments that are equally compelling as those given to top teams like Red Bull and Mercedes. In fact, I would argue that Drive to Survive's biggest strength is it's ability to make the often overlooked teams and drivers firm fan favourites.
Do I think season 4 of Drive to Survive will be enough to drive more fans into the sport? Absolutely. And if you're someone who vaguely keeps up with the sport but don't really follow it every week then you'll probably enjoy it even more. With a brand new era of Formula One coming up there's never been a better time to get into it and there will never be an easier way to do it than by watching Drive to Survive.
Drive to Survive remains easily the most entertaining and captivating docuseries ever, and that's a huge achievement with shows like the Last Dance and Amazon's All or Nothing, Drive to Survive sets the bar.
Before I get down to rating this one I have to give a huge thanks to Netflix for giving me access to the first eight episodes, I didn't expect to get access to such a huge show so soon into Cloven Hoof's life.
Drive to Survive comes away from this one with a massively respectable 8 out of 10. It's not perfect, there's still elements of slightly overcooked drama and pacing slightly suffers from the difficulty of juggling 21 races, 20 drivers, and 10 teams but despite this Drive to Survive remains effortlessly entertaining and easy to watch right to the end. If you don't know what to watch or have never seen anything related to the sport I'd highly recommend keeping an open mind and sinking your teeth into Drive to Survive season 4 on March 11th (you have just enough time to smash the first three seasons out too).