crofty's blog

Drive to survive: Season 5 Review

The return of the hit Netflix series Drive to Survive has been long-awaited by Formula 1 fans all over the globe. Season 5 hit our screens in the midst of the F1 Pre-Season Test, and fans were left reeling with the decision of what to tune in to. Warning, spoilers ahead.

The first episode kicks off with a bang, transporting viewers back to the controversial end to the 2021 season in Abu Dhabi. That last lap battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen is one fans won’t be forgetting for a long time.

The New Dawn gives us a new social media sensation in the form of a bromance between Haas Team Principal, Guenther Steiner, and ex-Ferrari Team Principal, Mattia Binotto. The pair, driving together in a Fiat 500 in Italy, have hit it off so well on screen that fans are wanting a Drive to Survive spin-off - a Steiner and Binotto road trip. (Please say it's in the works Netflix!)

At the start of the 2022 season, Steiner calls upon Kevin Magnussen to return to the American team after one year out. As the season kicks off in Bahrain Magnussen qualifies P7, and finishes the race in fifth, telling his team, “it’s weird to be lucky with you guys”, after the disappointment he faced with the team in his previous F1 run. (of course we know now that K-Mag’s luck stays with him right through to Brazil.)

All the while, the on-track battle between title rivals Verstappen and Leclerc gave fans an insight into what was to come in 2022. Let the excitement ensue…

Episode two - Bounce Back - focuses on the woes of Mercedes through the first half of the season, as seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton tells the cameras that “I’m trying to take back the championship that was taken from me”.

With intense levels of porpoising, Mercedes are on the backfoot, The clip from that Team Principal meeting hit social media not long after Season five dropped, with sparks flying between Toto Wolff and Christian Horner as they go head to head. With no other team bosses backing Toto on the floor and porpoising issues, he takes matters into his own hands and backs himself, before Stefano Domenicali steps in and cuts short the intense disagreement.

george bgp

From there, it’s straight into George and Lewis’ home race at Silverstone, with pressures mounting from fans for Mercedes in the run up to the British Grand Prix. The first lap incident involving Zhou Guanyu is still emotional to watch. George’s race is cut short after his involvement in the accident, but he wins fan's hearts by showing his true sportsmanship, rushing to the scene of the crash and to assist his fellow driver.

Nevertheless, Silverstone is a race to remember for Mercedes, with Lewis finishing in P3 and Crofty giving us the most goose bump inducing line from the commentary box  - “Through goes Hamilton!”

Matter of Principal takes us behind the scenes at Ferrari, and puts the devoted Tifosi back through the team’s struggles once again.

At the start of the season, after a successful run of results, Charles Leclerc’s dreams of becoming a Formula 1 World Champion seem to be within in reach, however, a spate of questionable strategy calls from the pit wall puts his dreams in doubt. The most memorable comes at the Monaco Grand Prix, Leclerc’s home race, with the call to pit quickly reverted as Leclerc is told to “stay out, stay out!” by his engineer. He lost the lead of the race, and his win is taken by Sergio Perez of Red Bull.

We return to a rainy Silverstone for Saturday Qualifying, as Carlos Sainz takes his maiden Pole position. Sunday’s initial race start couldn’t have been any worse for Sainz, Verstappen breezes past him, however, the red flag caused by Zhou’s crash gave Sainz a second chance to retain his lead. At the restart, he did exactly that. After asking his team to “stop inventing” when they instruct him to defend against Lewis Hamilton – giving us a new iconic phrase – Sainz dazzles in a Silverstone spectacular, taking his first ever Formula 1 win.

sainz bgp

Mick Schumacher came into F1 in 2021 with pressure on his shoulders to live up to his name, and Like Father, Like Son? gives us an insight into his trials trackside.

Schumacher’s second year in F1 brings him pain. In Qualifying at the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix, his Haas is in pieces after a terrifying crash. He also loses out on his first points at the inaugural Miami Grand Prix, and the chassis of his car is split in two in Monaco. These mistakes are costly for a cash strapped Haas.

mick silverstone

However, Mick shows his potential throughout the season too, particularly at Silverstone. After a relentless battle with a stricken Verstappen, Mick takes home his first points in F1, finishing in P8. This doesn't put an end to the conversations flying around the paddock about potentially losing his seat at Haas, we see these doubts creep in early in the 2022 season. Episode four ends with the second seat at Haas 'to be confirmed', leaving fans in the dark about who will partner K-Mag at the American team in 2023.

Pardon My French follows the only French team on the grid: BWT Alpine F1 Team.

Having moved from Aston Martin, the cameras follow Otmar Szafnauer, Alpine’s new Team Principal, in his first season at the French outfit. He gives the cameras some famous last words, boasting, “we’ve invested four million in Piastri.”

otmar ocon

Alpine announces the promotion of Oscar Piastri from his role as the team’s reserve driver to a full-time race seat in a press release at the beginning of last year’s summer break, caused by the domino effect of Sebastian Vettel’s retirement from the sport and Fernando Alonso’s departure from Alpine to Aston Martin. Oscar is quick to refute Alpine’s statement as he confirms on Twitter that he would not be racing for the team in 2023, causing chaos among fans and for the team.

While Alpine were battling for P4 in the constructors’ championship with close rivals McLaren, it wasn’t long until the Woking based team reveal their own interests in Piastri. Pardon Otmar’s French, indeed.

Episode six. Nice Guys Finish Last. Let the chaos begin.

The 2022 summer break gave us the ultimate silly season. Shockwaves rippled through the F1 world when Daniel Ricciardo announced his departure from McLaren one year early. The cameras follow Daniel navigating the media circus around his departure, with journalist Roberto Chinchero reminding the Australian, “I told you not to trust Zak.”

daniel silverstone

Daniel’s departure makes way for the team to confirm Piastri’s move to McLaren, partnering their now long-term driver, Lando Norris. Together, Oscar and Lando make up the youngest driver pairing on the 2023 grid.

The heat quickly rises as all focus turns to the now vacant Alpine seat, and it’s Frenchman Pierre Gasly versus Daniel Ricciardo in the race for the prized spot. In the end, it was Gasly who took the second Alpine seat after an outstanding performance at the Dutch Grand Prix. F1’s favourite nice guy was left looking for options elsewhere.

Tensions rise at Red Bull, with the two drivers battling for the Hot Seat. However, we quickly see Checo managing his role as second driver.

Disaster strikes for the Mexican driver in Monaco, as he is forced to start on the second row of the grid after spinning into the wall on the exit of Portier. It starts to look bad for his hopes of renewing his Red Bull contract until he takes P1 in the race the following day.

perez silverstone

Red Bull are quick to extend his contract for another two years. But, with Ricciardo back at Red Bull as their reserve driver for the season, could Checo’s contract be cut short if he fails to impress in 2023?

Is Alpha Male a full Yuki-erre episode for the fans?

Gasly is preparing for his move to Alpine, while we see Yuki Tsunoda maturing as a driver and hoping to keep his seat at AlphaTauri.

Flash back to Japan. Disaster strikes for Sainz as he ends up in the wall. At his first home race, Yuki misses out on points. The rainy race at Suzuka ended up running to time, with a controversial ending in regards to the driver's championship.

yuki silverstone

Formula E World Champion Nyck de Vries makes his Formula 1 debut for Williams at Monza at the iconic Italian Grand Prix, after Alex Albon is hospitalised with appendicitis. He finishes P9 on his debut, and the debates start to heat up around a potential full-time F1 seat for the Dutchman. 

Nyck is announced for AlphaTauri for the 2023 season. While fans are excited to see how Nyck will fare in F1, we’re all going to miss the friendship between Pierre and Yuki – as well as their legendary karaoke performances.

Over The Limitkicks off with Team Principal, Christian Horner, telling the cameras that the 2022 season is the most successful they’ve ever had in F1, and the ultimate goal is to take home both titles. With no question about their success, the positives are quickly overshadowed by the negative question spiralling around the paddock… are Red Bull Racing over the cost cap limit?

After their woes at the beginning of the season, Red Bull begin to show their dominance, but rumours of the potential cost cap breach start to unravel. Rivalries are building off-track, with Toto, Mattia and Zak all very vocal about the consequences of the cost cap breach for Red Bull.

max silverstone

Despite a difficult race for Max in Singapore, finishing 7th behind his teammate who took first place, Max is confirmed as the 2022 Formula 1 World Champion in Japan. However, his win is eclipsed by the impending results of the cost cap investigations.

Horner tells the cameras that breaching the cost cap “was a mistake. It was a miscalculation.” The breach is attributed to, according to Christian, the wellness of staff and catering; the overspend was 0.6 per cent. He didn’t think it made a difference to the success of the car, and the team.

The 2022 Formula 1 season reaches the End of the Road in Abu Dhabi. It’s the end of the road for some big names on the grid too, with Sebastian Vettel retiring from the sport, Daniel Ricciardo unsure of where he will be in 2023 after his departure from McLaren and Mick Schumacher moving on from Haas.

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix brings drama as we’d expect; Fernando retires from his final race with Alpine, and Lewis is left with no choice but to retire his car too after losing shifts mid-race. The result leaves Mercedes just shy of beating Ferrari in the constructors’ championship for second place. Despite both McLaren drivers finishing in the points, Alpine still take P4. Donuts on the grid at the final race are a hallmark of the end of each season. A look back at Daniel’s best bits in F1 and DTS reminds us of what we'll be missing in 2023 with his absence on the grid.

It’s full steam ahead for the 2023 season, with the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix on the horizon, three rookies and the return of Nico Hulkenberg, who is joining the Haas outfit. With all of this to look forward to this year, we can't wait to see what’s in store for Formula 1 in 2023? 

Want to join us at the British Grand Prix? Sign up to hear about future ticket releases.