Six different podium holders, three rookie drivers, two championship contenders who entered the season’s final race with equal points, and a whole new format of sprint racing introduced— the 2021 Formula One season was epic by all measures.
Drive To Survive, a collaborative docu-drama series between Formula One and the streaming service Netflix has been covering a full year of racing and behind the scenes drama from each season of Formula One since 2018. Since its inception in March 2018, the series has been a much-discussed and debated subject between TV fans and sports fans.
After accusations of manufacturing story arcs for ratings, both by fans and drivers in the previous season, it is interesting to see how the TV series looks at the drivers, teams, and team principals. We list our top hits and misses from Drive To Survive season 4.
Drive To Survive season 4: Big hits
RedBull vs Mercedes and Horner vs Wolff
The battle between the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One team and Red Bull Racing was led by team principals Toto Wolff and Christian Horner, respectively. The creator team at Box To Box films ensured that both the teams and the team principals were projected on-screen with a balanced perspective while covering the season highlights as well as their rivalry in the fourth season.
Got to go fast! Best action movies
An uphill battle to summarise, the team at Box To Box films did a mega job with the storytelling of the fight to championship between Lewis Hamilton for Mercedes and Max Verstappen for RedBull.
Susie Wolff supremacy
In her debut season on the show, Former race driver and CEO of Venturi Racing in Formula E, Susie Wolff charmed everyone with her balanced opinions and bytes. She was the calm voice of reason for the audience watching the RedBull vs Mercedes constructors championship battle play out.
Despite being married to Toto Wolff and having loyalty towards Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton, she shared an empathetic perspective to Christian Horner’s hunger for the championship win for RedBull, something most in her place would find challenging to do.
Yuki Tsunoda being unapologetically honest
In the previous seasons of Drive To Survive, most drivers outside of the race track are shown training and working out. Alpha Tauri’s rookie driver Yuki Tsunoda was not one of them.
Who will win? Best thriller movies
In his debut appearance, not only was he unapologetic about all his opinions, including telling the camera that he had a “good poo”,; he publicly confessed how working out in the morning ruins his entire day. Unlike any other driver who has ever been on the show, Tsunoda didn’t hesitate to show a more human side to his personality.
Mclaren 1-2 at Monza
Drive to Survive has a reputation for skipping iconic wins by teams/drivers. In 2021, Mclaren was the only team to finish with both drivers on the podium in P1 and P2. Thankfully, the Netflix crew was with them through this and thus dedicated an entire episode to this win in season 4.
The Drive to Survive crew is also believed to be “unlucky” for the team and the driver(s) they film through any race. Fans believe that each time their crew joins a driver/team to cover an important race for their season, they perform miserably.
This scenario is labelled as the “Netflix curse” by fans online. At Monza, when both the Mclaren drivers ended on the podium, it was a shock for the fans when they found that the Netflix crew was with Mclaren all weekend, thus ensuring the end of the ‘Netflix curse’ murmurs.
Jost Capito’s debut appearance and how likeable he is
Williams Racing’s new team principal Jost Capito impressed all with his friendly, yet tough demeanour. With him, the fans now recognize a new face of leadership after the Williams family stepped away from the team.
Thrills and spills: Best drama series
From being last on the grid, Capito ensured the team’s best result in years, including a podium for George Russell. All eyes are on him to see how his leadership aids in restoring the team to its former glory.
DRIVE TO SURVIVE SEASON 4: misses
Where were the Strolls and Aston Martin?
Force India/BWT Racing Point and father-son duo Lawrence and Lance Stroll were all featured in the previous seasons of Drive To Survive.
Real-life: Best documentaries on Netflix
Somehow, they mysteriously disappeared from season 4, even though there were big changes, and the team transitioned to Aston Martin and brought an iconic brand of automobile back to the sport.
We need to talk about Sebastian Vettel
Sebastian Vettel’s struggles in Scuderia Ferrari and his departure made a whole episode in season 3, and yet, he was noticeably absent from season 4.
Other than the blink and you miss appearance of him asking if something is stuck in his teeth and that he was confused for Daniel Ricciardo, Vettel was ignored completely despite scoring the first podium for his new team Aston Martin.
Fernando Alonso returns as a “rookie” sans any noise in season 4
Renault, rebranded as Alpine, chose to bring Fernando Alonso back as their driver in place of getting their junior academy driver Oscar Piastri.
I feel the need! Best drama movies
This selection brought a lot of fan criticism and questions for the team for selecting a retired racing driver over a rookie. None of this was addressed in season 4, even though Alonso’s retirement from the sport is covered in detail in season 2.
Whatever happened to Antonio Giovinazzi?
In season 3, Antonio Giovinazzi is pitted against Mick Schumacher for his seat at Alfa Romeo though the latter scored a seat at Haas.
Not only was Giovinazzi completely absent in season 4, but he also lost his seat to Guanyu Zhou. No explanation or coverage was dedicated to him or others at Alfa Romeo.
Daniel vs Lando could have been Lando vs Inters at Sochi
The fans’ reception of the arc highlighting the tension between Mclaren drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris was poor. Though at the time of the shoot in 2021, their relationship wasn’t exactly the best, something that Norris himself highlights in the series, both Norris and Ricciardo appeared in a reaction video of season 4 enjoying clips from the series together. Perhaps, Norris’ tyre selection at the Russian GP in Sochi would have made for a better rivalry plot, since it cost him a race win.