On March 11th, Drive to Survive will return for a fourth season of antics from the Formula 1 paddock. Since it first aired in 2018, the show has sparked a revolution and brought many new faces to the sport. But like any self-respecting modern media, it’s been hit with its fair share of allegations of editorial bias.
And that means that for all the good the series has done for the sport, and I really do think it has done a lot, it’s had its fair share of controversial moments over the years.
Sometimes, the angling of stories and the decisions made by producers has irked a few of F1’s more dedicated fans. And this isn’t just things only nerds like me will spot, such as a shot of Renault chief Cyril Abiteboul on the pit wall in Austria during a sequence about the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Oh no, these are the exaggerated storylines about driver rivalries, team politics and sporting decisions that have cropped up in the show over the years.
So, inspired by embellishments such as Lando Norris’ bitter rivalry with Carlos Sainz in season three, here are a few made up storylines you might soon enjoy in the latest season of Drive to Survive.
The Drive to Survive season format is pretty standard now. Williams gets an episode about its struggles back to the top, Haas gives us 45 minutes of Guenther Steiner swearing, and Daniel Ricciardo gets a show dedicated to his flip flopping between teams.
And season four will be no different as we follow the Aussie driver through his struggles to embed himself in his new squad, McLaren. In this episode, we find out that Ricciardo has spent half the season being wildly outperformed by his much younger teammate, Norris.
But, it turns out that this is all part of a plan implemented by McLaren CEO Zak Brown, who has taken a shine to Norris and wants him to become world champion. In an effort to boost Norris’ confidence, Brown has been tampering with Ricciardo’s car to make sure he can’t compete with the young Brit.
Cameras follow Ricciardo at Monaco, where we hear his disgust at Norris waving to him while he is lapped in the race. He talks about mistakes in his past, and longs to be reunited with Abiteboul and the Renault team.
We flash forward to Monza. Ricciardo has returned from the summer break, during which time he has learned about Brown’s plan. He rallies his engineers together by giving them all free caps, and they uncover all of Brown’s tweaks to Ricciardo’s car.
A few frantic shots of the race flash up on screen, before Ricciardo gets his redemption and his first win for McLaren. The episode ends with Norris and Brown crying on the podium.
A series of Drive to Survive wouldn’t be complete without an episode dedicated to the reigning world champions. This episode starts with the revelation that Valtteri Bottas will no longer be driving for Mercedes in 2022. At that moment, we learn that seven-time world champion, Lewis Hamilton, is heartbroken by his departure as he claims Bottas is “the best teammate ever.”
We fast forward to Austria where, after making it through to Q2 in every grand prix so far this year, Williams driver George Russell has done the unthinkable and qualified in the top 10. Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff, is seen congratulating the young Brit, while Hamilton hangs his head.
Russell tells the cameras that he likes his chances when asked about the 2022 Mercedes drive, and says that is what pushed him to achieve results that far outperform his Williams teammate.
The next moment we’re in Belgium for the race at Spa, where a totally normal grand prix has taken place.
On the podium, we see Russell in second place following a totally uneventful race. Everyone seems elated, except third place racer, Hamilton. The reigning champion storms off the podium and straight into a meeting with Wolff. The door slams behind him, but the mics are still live and we hear him lament any idea that Russell should be his teammate, “do you want a repeat of 2016?,” we hear him say.
The announcement is made that we will in fact see Russell drive for Mercedes in 2022. This is quickly followed by a clip of Hamilton at Abu Dhabi saying “we’ll see” when asked about his plans to return in 2022.
Another guarantee in Drive to Survive is that there will be an episode dedicated to F1’s most famous team, Ferrari. And, if season three was all about the team’s recent downfall, series four covers its miraculous recovery now that it has fired that deadweight known as Sebastian Vettel.
The team’s star driver, Charles Leclerc, seems elated in every scene and his number two, Carlos Sainz, talks about how miraculous the Scuderia’s recovery has been from 2021. We follow Leclerc at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, where he narrowly misses out on a podium. But redemption comes for the squad in Monaco where he puts his car on pole position at his home race.
He does it again in Azerbaijan, and both drivers talk about the phenomenal steps Ferrari has taken. This all reaches fever pitch in Britain, where Leclerc comes fourth in the first Sprint Qualifying event. He discusses the “real opportunities” available in the next day’s race. Sainz agrees that it could be a turning point in the team’s championship fight.
We follow Leclerc’s fight for the win with Hamilton chasing him down, the same “push, Charles” message from his engineer is played out six times in a row. When he does step out onto the second place spot on the podium, the assembled crowd goes wild. Italian flags suddenly appear out of nowhere and the commentators excitedly claim that Ferrari is back, baby.
Another season comes to an end.
So, what do you think we’ll see in the fourth season of Drive to Survive? There’s just a few weeks left to find out what stories made the cut when it hits our screens on March 11th.