Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

‘The Real Housewives’ of Formula One

Marcela Montufar Soria




Spoiler Warning: This article contains spoilers for “Drive to Survive” season six.

“Drive to Survive” is a Netflix show advertised as a documentary series showing the ins and outs of a Formula One (F1) season. The series showcases team dynamics, driver personalities and race recaps. It is a good introduction and fan recruiting source for the sport and for people who are not very familiar with F1, plus it makes for good entertainment. Though, for fans of the sport, especially those who followed it live throughout the year, it makes for a mediocre watch. 

Season six premiered on Feb. 23, recapping the 2023 F1 season, which also happened to be the day the 2024 racing season started. This release date was a ridiculous choice, as fans who have been starving for F1 content all winter break now had the actual sport to turn to, as opposed to a show poorly retelling events from last year. 

The season has 10 episodes, a perfect format to focus one episode on each of the 10 teams, but it does not even do that. The way storylines are picked for the show is based on what teams and which drivers allow Netflix to follow them around and also where producers think they can create the most drama with flashy editing. The show’s main flaw is that they dramatize racing and the personal lives and relationships of the drivers for entertainment, often portraying inaccuracies as fact and creating problems where there are none. 

The producers’ favorite trope is portraying teammates as vicious rivals, usually picking one driver as the villain in their narrative. For this season, they picked drivers from the Alpine F1 Team, Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly, giving them two whole episodes while other teams, like Alfa Romeo, were completely ignored. 

This overdramatization has cost Netflix dearly, as it propelled teammates Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, the current World Champion and sub-champion, respectively, to forbid the show from focusing on them. Their team, Oracle Red Bull Racing, absolutely dominated during the 2023 season, so to see them absent from the new season is embarrassing for Netflix. It leaves the producers looking elsewhere to get content, but even with other teams willing to be filmed, the show still managed to miss a lot of the important events of the season, such as the McLaren double podium finish in the Qatar GP.

The show would be excellent if it tried to be a proper documentary of an F1 season, leaving aside its reality TV aspirations to be a more serious look into the sport and the people who make it what it is. Like all the other “Drive to Survive” seasons, season six was incredibly reductive to the point of boringness. Producers are so eager to make headlines that they would rather stage conversations and fake racing moments for entertainment than give an honest season recap. 

F1 need not bother with “Drive to Survive”; following the sport is much more interesting.

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About the Contributor
Marcela Montufar Soria
Marcela Montufar Soria, Multimedia Editor
Marcela (She/Her/Ella) is an Honors College History and Classical Studies and Humanities major with a concentration in Religious Studies and a minor in East Asian Studies. She is an international student from Mexico and is the fourth member of her family to be a student at UTSA. After graduation, she plans to pursue a graduate education in Chinese history. Outside of school, Marcela volunteers at the Witte Museum as a gallery attendant during the weekends. Her hobbies include violin playing, amateur stargazing, video editing, writing, reading non-fiction, and painting. She joined the Paisano in Fall 2021, became Assistant Multimedia Editor in Spring 2022, and became Multimedia Editor in Spring 2023.

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