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F1 2022

Five key questions to answer ahead of Drive to Survive season four

With F1 fans the world over eagerly anticipating the arrival of season four of Drive to Survive, RacingNews365.com takes a look at five key questions ahead of the hit documentary's newest instalment.

Drive to survive camera
To news overview © Netflix

Netflix's Drive to Survive has been credited with bringing millions of new fans to F1, especially in the sport's key growth market of America, and season four of the hit behind-the-scenes documentary series is set to be released ahead of the 2022 season.

But how many episodes will there be, who will feature in this year's edition, and where does Drive to Survive go from here? RacingNews365.com has all the answers.

When will season four of Drive to Survive be released?

Neither Netflix nor F1 have announced a specific date, but previous seasons have been released within two weeks of the start of the Formula 1 season beginning.

With the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix scheduled for 20 March, expect season four of Drive To Survive to drop in the fortnight leading up to the Sakhir curtain-raiser.

How many episodes will there be?

Again, there has been no specific announcement, though all three previous seasons of Drive to Survive contained 10 episodes of 27-40 minutes each, so it's reasonable to assume that this will continue to be the case.

But, with 2021 being F1's longest season ever, as well as one of its most dramatic, don't be surprised if Netflix decide to add a few chapters or stretch the running time.

Will all F1 drivers be featured?

We already know that there will be one significant absentee in season four of Drive to Survive, as new World Champion Max Verstappen has confirmed that, outside of existing on-track footage, he will not feature in the show.

"I understand that it needs to be done to boost the popularity in America," Verstappen told The Associated Press.

"But from my side as a driver, I don't like being part of it.

"They faked a few rivalries which don't really exist, so I decided to not be a part of it and did not give any more interviews after that, because then there is nothing you can show."

No other teams or drivers have expressly announced their intention to avoid the new season of Drive to Survive, though Fernando Alonso may be reluctant to appear, given that he has his own documentary, Fernando, hosted on rival platform Amazon.

The first season of Drive to Survive back in 2018 also saw Mercedes and Red Bull refuse to take part, though both teams have featured in subsequent seasons.

			© McLaren
	© McLaren

Why isn't the season covered live?

Rather than providing an accurate race-by-race retelling of the F1 season, each Drive to Survive episode tends to focus on the story of a particular team or individual. With only 10 episodes of less than one hour each, it's impossible to accurately cover every story from every race, and a lot of key issues are glossed over or omitted completely.

The selective nature of the series' editing has drawn criticism from some quarters, with some claiming that Drive to Survive is too stage-managed and fakes rivalries that don't exist in order to fit Netflix's chosen narrative.

A notable example of this was the supposed rivalry that was portrayed between then-McLaren teammates Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz, when in reality the two were good friends whose 'bromance' was well-known within the F1 paddock.

However, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali hinted last November that a live version of Drive to Survive may be explored in future, given how the existing series has helped the sport to reach new audiences.

			© Getty Images/Red Bull Contentpool
	© Getty Images/Red Bull Contentpool

What about the future of the series?

While the stories in each season of Drive to Survive naturally change every year to follow the different events of an individual F1 season, the show's format has remained largely the same since its inception, prompting some to suggest that viewers may start to turn their attentions elsewhere.

However, McLaren F1 team boss Zak Brown feels that the series doesn't need to change or evolve to continue attracting fans.

"It seems to me that [Drive To Survive] is getting stronger," Brown told RacingNews365.com.

"While the format is the same, the narrative is totally different, so I don't see why it can't go on indefinitely.

"I'm excited to see this year's series, because there's not a lot of frequency of it. While it might be season four, you go 10 months without [watching] it, so you get a real thirst for it, and everyone binge-watches it, then they watch F1, and then they want the new season to come out again, so I don't see why it can't have a long life.

"I think the more that broadcasters can do shoulder programming, and the more content we can have away from the sport, the better."

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