Formula 1 and Netflix have announced that season 4 of Drive to Survive will launch with another ten episodes on 11 March, a week before the 2022 season gets underway in Bahrain and bang in the middle of the official pre-season test.
Setting the tone for what will be the usual controversial coverage of a controversial season, the, somewhat brief, press release states:
“Offering unprecedented access, Season 4 will once again take fans behind the scenes, to witness first-hand how the drivers and teams prepare to battle it out for victory in one of the sport’s most dramatic seasons to date.
“Get ready to delve into fierce team rivalries, unexpected podiums, and the intense title battle between Mercedes and Red Bull as the pressure reaches an all-time high both on and off the grid.”
While the main point of interest is sure to be Max Verstappen’s season-long rivalry with Lewis Hamilton, culminating in that controversial showdown in Abu Dhabi, officially the Dutchman played no part in the series, claiming that it manufactures rivalries and creates controversy where there is none.
Somewhat ironic when you consider how the season ended.
While diehards tend to poo-poo the series, there is no doubt that it is attracting new fans to the sport, especially in the US.
Indeed, Alpine boss, Laurent Rossi probably best described the impact of the series on F1 when he told Road & Track: “We are hitting the right audience now. We’re bringing in way more people than just the traditional petrolheads.
“Suddenly we’re like actors in a show,” he adds, “putting their best foot forward to entertain more viewers. It’s a recipe for a great show and great entertainment.”
“The show has driven a much wider and diverse crowd than just motor-racing fans,” adds Otmar Szafnauer. “Our product is so entertaining and enticing once you get a flavour for it, once you understand it.
“From there, the audience for F1 in the States can grow significantly. If a household likes Formula 1, then the children like it, and that grows.
“Many of my friends who are now in their fifties like me started watching Formula 1 because their parents enjoyed it back in the Seventies. If we can get that momentum, I think that growth could happen very quickly.”