F1total.ca continues its three-part series about the new episodes of the Netflix hit-docuseries
By Yuri Coghe
After the breakdown of episodes 1 to 4 of the new Drive to Survive season, F1total.ca is back with three more reviews.
Famous for offering behind-the-scenes access to the Formula One grid, the third season of the Netflix hit-docuseries, focusing on the 2020 season, has been out on the streaming platform since Mar. 19.
Click here to read our review on the first batch of episodes if you haven’t read it yet. And remember: although minor, there are some spoilers below.
Episode 5 – The End of The Affair
The least exciting episode of the new season so far focuses mainly on Daniel Ricciardo deciding to leave Renault to join McLaren only a year after leaving Red Bull to sign for the French team.
The unusual July start to the 2020 season meant some transfer announcements that would usually happen halfway through the race calendar were actually happening before the first race of the year. It left drivers like Ricciardo himself and Ferrari-bound Carlos Sainz Jr. with the awkward feeling of having to compete in the whole season with a team that knew they wouldn’t be with them for long.
It also left a sour taste in Renault’s team boss Cyril Abiteboul, who took a while to accept Ricciardo’s decision. If you watched the first season, you can remember him feeling like the big man after snatching Ricciardo from Red Bull, a team that had just ditched Renault as their engine supplier. How the tables have turned.
The Racing Point “Pink Mercedes” drama is back on the episode as well, with FIA reaching a decision to punish the team by deducting 15 constructors’ championship points but letting them keep using the brake-ducts deemed illegal. The light verdict left both the Canadian-owned team and its competitors disappointed. Owner Lawrence Stroll and team boss Otmar Szafnauer’s reactions to the ruling are highlights in this not-so-exciting episode.
Episode 6 – The Comeback Kid
Oh, the Pierre Gasly episode. Now we’re talking.
A quick throwback to 2019 (or the second Drive to Survive season) and you’ll see how Gasly lasted 12 races with Red Bull before getting sent back to their satellite team Toro Rosso. The talented French driver struggled to deliver results and the Austrian team decided it couldn’t wait any longer, triggering a move that could have killed Gasly’s momentum in F1 and created a trauma he could have found tough to beat.
But he doesn’t give up so easily. In Brazil later that year, Gasly got his first F1 podium. It already made for a great ending to that story, but 2020 brought something even bigger: winning the Italian Grand Prix. The episode does a great job of telling the comeback story and how Gasly handled the loss of long-time friend and Formula Two driver Anthoine Hubert, tragically killed in Spa-Francorchamps on the only F2 fatal crash to date.
That 2020 Italian Grand Prix became an instant classic, with Gasly and AlphaTauri achieving a first win, Sainz Jr. and Lance Stroll joining the Frenchman on the podium as they all got their second career top 3 finish and a French driver winning an F1 race for the first time in 24 years.
Episode 7 – Gunther’s choice
Haas and their mess are always a classic on Drive to Survive.
The American team has their roots in NASCAR and it’s amazing for F1 to have that North-American connection in one of their teams. However, when Netflix is in the picture, Haas can’t help but “look like a bunch of wankers”, to quote a famous season one moment from team boss Guenther Steiner.
The fact that he calls Haas a family, since it’s a low-budget team with tight personnel, but a ‘dysfunctional one’, says it all.
After spending two Drive to Survive seasons complaining about Haas drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, on the team since 2016 and 2017, respectively, Steiner finally decided to take some action. However, he did it by firing both of them to start 2021 afresh with two rookies, which probably wasn’t the best decision.
Steiner argues in an interview that, just because having an inexperienced duo is not common, does not mean it’s wrong. Guess new signings Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin will have to prove their boss right in 2021.
The focus on Haas’ rivalry with Alfa Romeo, as both teams were far from the midfield pack but were able to score points on rare occasions, is a nice touch. However, the episode fails to mention Mazepin’s apparent sexual harassment allegations, made after the Russian driver posted an Instagram video in which he groped a woman in the backseat of a car. If the remaining episodes also fail to bring it up, it’ll be one clear third-season omission.
All three seasons of Drive to Survive are available on Netflix. F1total.ca will review episodes 8 to 10 in the following days. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to keep up to date with our latest content.