The fifth season of Netflix’s acclaimed Formula 1: Drive to Survive documentary premieres on Feb. 24, and this trailer gets to the point immediately: Max Verstappen, the double-defending World Drivers’ Championship winner, is back in the interview chair, cooperating with the show’s producers.
Verstappen had quietly boycotted the Netflix series over its last three seasons, feeling the first year didn’t fairly present him or his team. (His boss, Christian Horner, husband of Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, handled all of the PR in his absence.) As they say, however, winning cures just about everything. After his second straight world title, the 25-year-old Belgian-Dutch racing prodigy seems a little more secure in his place in F1, regardless of what Netflix’s filmmakers do or say.
Formula 1: Drive to Survive will recap a consequential year for the sport, whose popularity in the United States has surged over the past five years. Last year saw a new set of construction regulations that completely remade the look and aerodynamic performance of F1 cars.
Coupled with research & development spending limits (which Red Bull violated anyway), the new rules were intended to bring parity to a sport dominated by Red Bull, Mercedes, and Ferrari over most of the past decade. And yet, those same three teams still took every podium position except one (McLaren’s Lando Norris placed third at Imola).
So, despite the fact Verstappen coasted to a lopsided world championship, there should still be plenty of tasty paddock intrigue, and arch comments coming from fan favorites like Haas team principal Guenther Steiner and bitter sourpusses like Otmar Szafnauer, now managing Alpine/Renault. AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda is also sure to provide a steady stream of bleeped-out race radio invective.