Is this a documentary series or a Hollywood blockbuster? Fast, furious, and fiercely action-packed watch.
We reviewed the Netflix documentary series Formula 1: Drive to Survive Season 5, which was released on February 24th, 2023.
When something is on its 5th season, you know it’s either got a solid, strong audience or they have a lot of money to pump behind it. This series, I’m sure, has both. Formula 1 is thrilling and exciting and gets your adrenaline running as a viewer, both on and off the screen. The sport is a popular niche with a growing female audience on social media. With new regulations and vehicles, the 2022 season was one hell of a ride.
Formula 1: Drive to Survive Season 5 review and plot summary
This docuseries first started in 2019, and it doesn’t look like this is the end, either. From Oxford to Miami, both on and off the track, we watch as drivers, managers, and team owners in Formula 1 show how they live in the fast lane. “More close to Top Gun than a documentary,” says Toto Wolff, the team principal, and Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team CEO, within the first ten minutes of episode one.
READ: Formula 1: Drive to Survive Season 3 Review
Mercedes has dominated the sport for years, and here we see their lowest start to a season, and tensions are high for everyone, especially their competition. Not only is Formula 1 a million-dollar business, but it’s also a battle, it’s ruthless, and their passion and drive for the sport is compelling. We see tensions rise, and the cars are on fire — literally. There is a brief mention of Russia’s involvement with the sport, as they had a Russian driver with Russian sponsorship. It’s short but brutal.
We’re given exclusive, intimate access to those taking part; Kevin Magnussen makes a Viking comeback, as this is his last chance at F1. The legendary Lewis Hamilton is back after a tough 2021 season, and Carlos Sainz Jr. has an impressive win for Ferrari, and that race is worth watching alone. We also see the journey of Oscar Piastri, a potential world champion, and how he’s ready for F1. There is also the dramatic breaking news that Daniel Ricciardo is leaving McLaren, and it’s both emotional and awkward.
This sport is very emotional for the drivers, they go through crises of confidence and self-doubt, and you can see the cracks when control is lost. If you’re not performing, you’re out. However, the thrill of winning is unbelievably high when everything works perfectly. The roaring crowds are incredible to see and hear, and I love the tradition of pouring champagne on the drivers at the end. We also see them in their personal lives, in vineyards in Italy, and camping in Oxfordshire — friendly to break the professionalism down and see them as a dad, partner, and friend (They still talk F1, though; obviously, it’s a way of life.)
The racing shots are as if you’re watching a Hollywood blockbuster. There are quick cuts mixed with the loud engines, heightening the intensity of the races, and you can almost feel the speed from your screens. They’re excellent shots, and I enjoy the idea I’m seeing much more than I would in real life.
The interviews are well-lit, well presented, no overly dramatic backdrops or music, so we can focus on the seriousness of what they’re discussing. If this is your first time watching, you’ll learn a lot about what happens backstage, off the race track, and the effort it takes to assemble everything; this is a massive team effort.
Is Formula 1: Drive to Survive Season 5 worth watching?
Yes — I think you’ll enjoy this docuseries if you’re into the sport, like cars, or watching documentaries. It’s in-depth, fast, and full of bright graphics and loud engines that capture your attention. The teams/people interviewed are passionate and have a good sense of humor, so they will have you smirking. With eight episodes lasting roughly forty-five minutes each, it’s worth watching.
What did you think of Formula 1: Drive to Survive Season 5? Comment below.