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The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

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‘Drive to Survive’ exceeds low expectations for F1 fans

As expectations for the new season of “Formula 1: Drive to Survive” were low, the sixth season of the show surprised fans with action and interest.

“Max Verstappen dominates the Bahrain Grand Prix and takes victory at the season opener,” shouts the lilted British voice of television announcer David Croft at the end of the very first Grand Prix featured in the hit streaming series “Formula One: Drive to Survive.”

These are words that would ring in the minds of over 445 million fans throughout all 23 races afterward. Formula One has had exponential growth, smashing viewer records in the 2023 season with the second-highest viewership, an average of 1.11 million viewers per race, according to ESPN. 

On Feb. 23 Netflix released the sixth season of the show “Drive to Survive,” featuring 10 dramatic episodes. While I began the series with low expectations due to the boring dominance of Danish driver Max Verstappen, my previous expectations were shattered as Netflix had produced an Emmy-worthy season. 

The show featured many gripping storylines covering the personal lives of drivers and showcasing a side to Formula One that was not seen a lot by the numerous fans. One of these drivers was seven-time World Champion Sir Lewis Hamilton. “Drive to Survive” showcases the struggle he faced when signing a new contract with his constructor Mercedes. 

Netflix reported that the show had 2.9 million viewers in the first three days, displaying the fan interest in the show. While Netflix had intrigued fans with the various storylines of drivers, one of the main points of the season was missing.

While I expected a show that would only focus on the winning team Red Bull Racing and their golden child, Mr. Verstappen, Netflix did the opposite, not showing the record-breaking team at all. Red Bull Racing set many season records such as a phenomenal 10-win streak, which would have been excellent to cover. Though this was one resounding flaw, Netflix made a good faith effort to make it up by showcasing the title fight between Mercedes and Ferrari, ranked second and third respectively in the World Drivers Championship.

“Drive to Survive” has previously excelled in making nondramatic moments dramatic through displaying different perspectives that fans don’t originally get to see and experience.

  Netflix showed this in Episode 6, “Leap of Faith,” which aged poorly as they covered Mr. Hamilton and his contract with team Mercedes. The episode showcased some amazing behind-the-scenes footage, such as a meeting between Mr. Hamilton and team boss Toto Wolff.

“Lewis, you are much more than a racing driver, much more than a seven-time World Champion,” Wolff says. “You are one of the people to lead this team forward.”

Overall, “Drive to Survive” and Netflix’s creative storytelling allowed fans all around the world to see the latest season captured in a different light. While there were flaws in coverage, the producers did an exceptional job with the one-sided content they were given, turning a fan-named “boring season” into a 10-episode thriller. 

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About the Contributor
Kabir Joshi
Kabir Joshi, Assistant Editor
Kabir Joshi is a member of the Class of 2026 and is an assistant editor. As a ninth grader, he joined the U-High Midway during the 2022-23 school year. His favorite story that he has written is "Movie differentiates itself from others." Outside of the Midway, he runs cross country and loves spending time with his dog. Awards: 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, San Francisco convention: Excellent, review writing

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