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What can we expect from Season Six of Drive to Survive?

Written by Ria Ann Sam, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri


When Drive to Survive (DTS) dropped on Netflix back in 2018, no one knew the impact it would have in the little world of Formula One, and how much the sport would expand and grow by bringing in new fans.  


Whilst it has been hugely popular and successful, it has also been controversial at times as the show painted certain drivers in an altered light, making them appear different to their real-life personalities. 


Most notably, Max Verstappen (and Red Bull) have been presented as the ‘villains’ of the show, leading Verstappen to not want to continue with the show for season five. However, after talks, the Dutchman agreed to be part of the show, so long as he could be himself, and not portrayed negatively. 


With another dramatic F1 season over, it’s time to wonder what moments we can expect in DTS, and how true it will be to the latest season. Here are my top predictions for what could be seen in the new season. 


Image Credit: Getty Images

Who will be the number one team?  

Pre-season testing saw a wide range of results: Sergio Perez, Lewis Hamilton, and Valtteri Bottas the three quickest drivers over the three days; and the Mercedes engine ran the most laps over the three days, although Alpha Tauri logged the most kilometres. 


The two McLarens seemed to struggle, and this would soon be seen in the first few races of the season. I also imagine that the first qualifying and race would be shown in the first episode, showing the strength of the Red Bulls as both cars qualified in first and second, and the two Ferraris of Leclerc and Sainz fourth and fifth respectively. 


Alonso in his new Aston Martin started fifth. The race would only end in disaster for Leclerc, the Monegasque forced to retire early due to electrical issues. 


I am also going to guess DTS will show McLaren’s struggle – Piastri retiring due to technical issues, and Lando only finishing 17th – as well as Aston Martin’s surprising podium finish with Alonso, and sixth for Stroll (who quickly came back after breaking his wrist), though I presume there will be separate episodes about the two teams. 


  1. Verstappen flying, Perez struggling/ Red Bull gives you wings...or does it? 

In the first few races of the season, Verstappen and Perez seemed to be on equal footing, with both drivers getting podiums and wins. However, Perez began to show signs of trouble shortly after, with poor qualifyings and race positions. Whilst his teammate comfortably won (nearly) every race, the Mexican seemed all at sea with his RB19.


 Monaco saw him start from the bottom of the grid, and only finish 16th, despite his tag of “King of the Streets.” He also struggled in the Japanese Grand Prix later in the season, retiring from the race, after receiving a penalty, though he unretired the car to serve said penalty, so that it would not carry over to the next race. This was after Red Bull discovered a loophole in the rules. 


He also had an unfortunate home race, thanks to contact with Leclerc on the opening lap, meaning that he had to retire — once again. Brazil was also somewhat arguably embarrassing for him – he battled with Alonso for the final podium spot, but just missed out as the Aston Martin inched ahead; it was arguably embarrassing as he lost out on a podium to a ‘weaker’ team. 


Despite many struggles, Perez still managed to finish second in the Drivers’ Championship, although he lost out to Verstappen by a margin of nearly 300 points. DTS are prone to highlighting and exaggerating driver rivalries, something I imagine we will see with several driver pairings, one of them being the Red Bulls. 


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3. Alpine Issues

Alpine faced much struggle and change over the 2023 season, including ‘driver rivalries’ and a departing team principal mid-season. 


Many fans questioned if there would be extra competition between Gasly and Ocon, as they were two Frenchmen driving for a French team, and grew up karting together happily until an alleged disagreement soured the friendship. 


Now put together in the same team, vying for the affection of their home country may put an even worse strain on their relationship. In my opinion, this ‘feud’ seems like something Drive to Survive may exploit for the ratings of the show, perhaps including scenes from the Australian Grand Prix, when both drivers crashed into each other and caused a double DNF. 


Furthermore, team principal Otmar Szafnauer left the team during the Belgian Grand Prix, meaning the team had a major switch up nearly halfway through the season. Their sporting director Alan Permane too left the team. 


It also doesn’t help that the team were embarrassed last year by both Fernando Alonso, who left to join Aston Martin leaving a free seat, and Oscar Piastri, who tweeted that Alpine had spread false information, and that he wasn’t actually driving for them in the 2023 season – he would be racing with McLaren.


Both Alonso and Piastri had spectacular seasons, finishing above the two Alpine drivers.


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4. Orange is the new Black 

After a disappointing start to the season, the Papaya team sure seemed to turn it around. Bahrain saw rookie Oscar Piastri retire after facing technical issues, and Lando Norris finished 17th (or last, taking into account three non-finishes) after also facing issues with his car. 


The subsequent rounds were quite poor for McLaren, until they made some upgrades, and by the time the British Grand Prix rolled around in July, they were thriving; Norris managed to lead his home race for a few laps, and ended up on the podium, whilst Piastri just missed out on the final podium spot to Hamilton. 


The two McLaren boys also thrived in Japan, and would finish second and third, and then the Qatar Grand Prix weekend, when Piastri won the sprint race, and they were both on the podium in the sprint and main races. 


Despite starting the season off poorly, the team ended the season with several podiums and points, and finished fourth overall ahead of Aston Martin, whose form took a nosedive, just as McLaren began to soar. 


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5. The Rise and Fall of Aston Martin 

Picture this: A four-time world champion leaves a struggling team, only to be replaced by a two-time world champion, and from the very start, the team is flying. This was the image at the beginning of the 2023 season, when Fernando Alonso got his first podium since Qatar 2021, and he had nothing but praise and admiration for the team. 


Despite Lance Stroll having a poor start to his 2023 F1 season after breaking both his wrists in a biking accident, and missing pre-season testing, he raced in Bahrain and managed to finish sixth. 


The season continued to go well for the team, Alonso racking up podiums and points; and a milestone: His hundredth podium, at Jeddah. However, the team’s performances soon began to decline as their upgrades were not as useful as those of McLaren, and their finishes began to nosedive. 


They had an unexpected turnaround at Brazil, stormy conditions mixing up the running, and Stroll would begin from third on the grid, with Alonso from fourth. Unfortunately, they went from being a championship contender to a midfield team, and I have no doubt Drive to Survive would discuss this in the show.


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6. Ferrari Woes 

During the 2022 season, we saw Ferrari climb to the top, and prove why they are the most successful F1 team in history, until bad strategy calls and reliability issues affected them, and led them to finish third. 


This year, many fans were worried if the same gremlins from 2022 would persist, or if Ferrari would produce a championship-contending car once again. It was difficult to judge their pre-season testing form, as they could easily have been sandbagging, despite painting a rosy picture, leading to some inaccurate results. 


The first round of qualifying in Bahrain saw Leclerc and Sainz in Q3 and start the race from third and fourth respectively, behind the two Red Bulls. However, the race would be disastrous for Leclerc, as he would DNF due to engine-related issues. 


He would also face a 10 place grid penalty in the next race at Jeddah, having taken a new power unit, and other disasters would follow for the Monegasque. Sainz also paled slightly in Bahrain, coming off second in a battle with fellow Spaniard Alonso. 


Ferrari also made poor strategy calls on his side of the garage, however, he was the only non-Red Bull driver to win a race, after a masterclass performance at Singapore. 


During the final race in Abu Dhabi, Mercedes and Ferrari would be battling it out for second place as they were only separated by a few points. Poor strategy calls from Sainz’s side of the garage meant he wasn’t as helpful as Leclerc, who came up with his own strategy to let Sergio Perez pass, in order to create a larger gap between him and Russell, as Perez had a five-second penalty hanging over his head. 


Unfortunately this act was not successful, and Mercedes finished ahead of Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship by a mere three points. With the rollercoaster of a season that Ferrari had, I can’t see Drive to Survive not including it in the show. 


Additionally, I believe Singapore would get its own episode, with Sainz winning, Russell crashing out of third place on the final lap, both Red Bulls being knocked out of Q2 by rookie Liam Lawson, or perhaps it would be intertwined within other episodes.


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7. AlphaTauri Drama

AlphaTauri may have finished near the bottom of the table, but there was no shortage of drama for the team from Faenza.


During the 2022 Italian Grand Prix, Nyck de Vries stood in for Alex Albon at Williams, and scored points in his debut F1 race; he was soon signed by Alpha Tauri team after Gasly announced his move to Alpine. Unfortunately, Nyck’s season got off to a slow start, finishing near the bottom in all his races. 


Re-enter: fan favourite Daniel Ricciardo, who had taken a break from racing to focus on his mental health, and as Red Bull’s reserve driver, took de Vries’ seat, 10 rounds into the season. 

There was much controversy over this decision, primarily how unfair it was for de Vries not to get even a full half-season, let alone full season. Many fans also joked on social media that DTS would have the star of their show back. 


However, it was not to be for the Australian, as he broke his wrist at the Dutch Grand Prix, and Red Bull’s other reserve driver Liam Lawson stepped in to take his place. Lawson made quite a splash with his skill and quick drive, especially during the Singapore GP, outqualifying both Verstappen and Perez, and even scored two points. 


Back then, many fans suggested that Lawson should take the second AlphaTauri seat next to Yuki, however, Daniel was later announced as the second driver. Through all this driver change, Yuki had a stellar season, scoring 17 points for the team, and even led briefly from Hamilton at the Abu Dhabi GP, resulting in him winning Driver of the Day.


Image Credit: Getty Images

8. What’s next for Mercedes?

Similar to Ferrari, Mercedes also had a tumultuous season, their highest of highs entangled in the lowest of lows. For example, Hamilton got his first pole since 2021, and the team had a few podiums as well. 


However, problems crept into the usually-efficient silver arrows garage, including slow pit stops, bad strategy calls, and a potential driver rivalry mainly seen during the Japanese and Qatar Grands-Prix. 


While Japan saw the two Brits battling, with Russell asking “Who do we want to fight here? Each other or the others?” Qatar would be even more of a low, as Hamilton and Russell clashed at turn one of the race, putting the former out of the race altogether. 


With DTS’s reputation to pit teammates against each other, I wouldn't be surprised if they exaggerated some extra drama for more views.


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9. Viva Las Vegas 

It was a new dawn for Formula One, with the introduction of a new circuit in Las Vegas, and like  nearly everything in F1, controversy surrounded the new track.


Since one of the goals of Drive to Survive was to introduce more Americans to a seemingly European sport, it wouldn't be a surprise to see a whole episode about the Las Vegas event. 


Not only was it one of the most highly anticipated races of the season – a third race in the USA; the struggles of setting up the new circuit, and hindrance for the residents; fans’ preconceptions that it would be a ‘boring’ race after seeing the track layout, as well as the outrageously extortionate ticket prices – it was, in my opinion, one of the most exciting races of the season with several overtakes and battles.


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10. Rookies – Logan Sargeant and Williams 

Oscar Piastri and Nyck de Vries were not the only two rookies this season – they were joined by American Logan Sargeant who finished fourth in the 2022 Formula 2 Championship. He drove for Williams this year. 


Unfortunately, Logan had quite a poor start – either finishing lower down, or crashing out and retiring from the race, not earning any points. Many compared him to Piastri whom he had grown up racing with, who, despite a poor start, climbed up the points table. 


He was also compared to his teammate Alex Albon who did a phenomenal job in the Williams car, earning 27 points for the team. Fans questioned if Albon could drive a good race with the same car, why couldn’t Sargeant?


He didn’t get his first (and only) point until the second American race, at Austin, after several retirements and two disqualifications. Even though many fans didn’t believe in him, they did want Logan to have at least one more season in F1, as he didn't have time to prove himself – his contract renewal was announced during the winter break. 


Hopefully Sargeant can score many points in the new season, and prove to viewers and teams why he should be in F1. I presume that DTS will show his journey so far, given he was judged quite harshly as a rookie, and the show may decide to explore that and cast him in a more sympathetic light. 


Moreover, as Drive to Survive was created to bring in more American fans, focusing on the only American driver will surely help up the viewer count.  


Image Credit: Getty Images

Other moments I think will be included in DTS: 


  1. Haas and Gunther Steiner will of course be the show. Despite Hulkenberg getting into Q3, and even qualifying second (before a penalty), the team did quite poorly overall, and I have no doubt Drive to Survive will acknowledge this, given Steiner is one of the “main characters” of the show. Steiner’s departure during the winter break may also be quickly touched upon, perhaps through a short farewell message from the team principal.  


  1. Alfa Romeo and their name change. Alfa Romeo were quite forgettable in 2023, not doing anything exciting, nor earning big points. However, the team will be changing its name for the 2024 season to Stake F1 Team. Since Stake is a gambling sponsor, the name won’t be used at every race – its other name will be Kick F1 Team, however, it seems like most presenters will simply refer to the team as Sauber.  


  1. In my opinion, there will also be a small focus on the Australian, British, Singapore, Japanese and Qatar Grands-Prix. Australia was perhaps the most chaotic race of the year, with almost eight drivers retiring – nine if you count Hulkenberg stopping once he crossed the finish line, and the stewards’ discussion of Sainz’s penalty. The British GP too proved exciting, with Lando Norris leading the race for a while, as he finished second, ahead of fellow Briton Hamilton. Singapore was simply a beautiful, masterclass of a performance, with Carlos Sainz and Ferrari ending Max Verstappen and Red Bull’s streak, through a beautiful strategy using DRS. I highly believe this race will be seen in the show. Japan was also a brilliant race, where Red Bull managed to win the 2023 Constructors title, despite the unfortunate incident of Perez retiring. Qatar was also exciting for a few reasons. Firstly, Verstappen confirmed himself as the 2023 Drivers’ Champion, but Oscar Piastri also won his first race (before Norris who’s been at McLaren for five years now). Moreover, many drivers struggled with the hot conditions, and many complained of feeling ill or dizzy, so I believe that DTS may focus on this race.  


  1. The show may touch upon the introduction of F1 Academy, led by Susie Wolff, and maybe the struggles faced, or the happiness of a few girls becoming reserve drivers on big Formula One teams.


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