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Formula 1: Drive to Survive returns next week with intrigue, politics, and bitter rivalries

An intense look at F1’s most controversial championship awaits

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Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

The fourth season of Netflix’s Formula 1: Drive to Survive premieres on Friday, March 11. It’s just one week before the 2022 world championship’s inaugural event, the Bahrain Grand Prix, races at Sakhir. Drive to Survive, openly cited as the inspiration for the story modes in two Codemasters racing games, has been something of an unexpected hit for Netflix since premiering in 2018, and is widely credited with a strong rise in Formula One’s popularity in the United States.

The show has become must-binge TV for motorsport fans here and in Europe, even if it recaps the preceding season whose major outcomes are already known. Last year’s championship was one of the most memorable — and controversial — in Formula One’s 71-year history, and the 10-episode breakdown should be very interesting.

Expect plenty of attention, then, focused to rivals Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton; their teams Red Bull Racing and Mercedes; and those teams’ respective principals Christian Horner and Toto Wolff. Mercedes won its eighth consecutive constructor’s championship, but Verstappen pipped quadruple-defending driver’s champion Hamilton, on the last lap of the last race, for his first world title.

Their season was marked by crashes at Silverstone and Monza; downpours at Belgium and Hungary; a tit-for-tat dispute over rear-wing aerodynamics; and a hefty fine on Verstappen just for touching Hamilton’s car in the pit area. Wolff destroyed his headset when Hamilton accidentally plowed into Verstappen at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix one week before the season finale. That moment was as good an instant, visual summary of the 2022 championship as any, and it features midway through this minute-long teaser of Drive to Survive’s fourth year.

Fans should also expect sidebar discussions of Ferrari’s newly paired rivals Carlos Sainz and Charles LeClerc; Esteban Ocon’s sensational victory at the Hungaroring, aided by a lionhearted defense from veteran teammate Fernando Alonso; and the rise of Williams Racing’s George Russell and his promotion to Mercedes.

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