Sergio Perez, Force India, Spa-Francorchamps, 2018

“Drive to Survive Episode 6: All or Nothing” reviewed

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In August last year Lawrence Stroll purchased the assets of the Force India team, which had gone into administration, securing its future and that of its 400-strong workforce.

In a remarkable development, the administration proceedings were triggered by the team’s driver Sergio Perez, who was owed over £4 million in unpaid wages. Perez’s move, which was a response to a winding-up order against the team brought by another creditor, ultimately paved the way for the team’s rescue.

It came with another upside for Perez, as he admitted at the time. He signed a new deal to drive for the team again in 2019, as RaceFans reported at the time, though it wasn’t announced for another two months.

This was bad news for Perez’s team mate Esteban Ocon, as it was an open secret from then on that he would lose his Force India seat to Lawrence Stroll’s son Lance, as was also widely reported at the time.

Episode six of “Drive to Survive” takes place in a parallel universe where Force India’s driver decisions were taken much later. In its version of events, Perez and Ocon were in competition to be Stroll’s team mate at Force India in 2019. “It’s anyone’s guess at the moment who gets that seat,” we’re told.

Series like this inevitably have to walk a line between satisfying the hardcore anorak fan brigade and new or casual viewers the sport wants to advertise itself to. For the most part the Netflix team has managed to do this without straying from fact into fiction. But for me the false premise underlying this episode does exactly that.

It also serves to drain any tension from the action which follows. Ocon’s drive to third on the grid at a damp Spa, surely one of the best qualifying laps of last season, gets the full cinematic treatment, but the repeated insistence that he was driving to save his place in the team rings hollow.

Later in the episode we’re told the team announced its driver line-up at the Mexican Grand Prix. Whichever way you take this it isn’t right: Perez was officially confirmed at this point, but his place at the team had been known much earlier. The opposite was true for Stroll, whose 2019 seat was an open secret but wasn’t confirmed until after the end of the season.

After five largely great instalments, this was the first time I found “Drive to Survive” wanting. It’s also the first episode which offered comparatively little in the way of noteworthy behind-the-scenes intrigue (note the lack of a ‘spoilers’ section below).

If you haven’t got time to binge-watch all 10 episodes, I’d recommend skipping this one.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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13 comments on ““Drive to Survive Episode 6: All or Nothing” reviewed”

  1. So far, I’ve found the series disappointing. Might be interesting for a new fan or a bored Netflix surfer. Offers more fluff than insight. Steiner cursing into his phone isn’t the on screen drama that the producers think it is.

    Perhaps if they had released an episode after each race, it would have more immediate context. Or waited a decade or two to enable some historical perspective.

    Or…if they had filmed during the off season, exposing team secrets and ruining careers of team principals like a proper soap opera reality show.

    1. However, it is disappointing and disingenuous that Netflix edited it to make it seem the drivers decision was much later, I’ll give you that.

  2. ”Later in the episode we’re told the team announced its driver line-up at the Mexican Grand Prix. Whichever way you take this it isn’t right: Perez was officially confirmed at this point,”
    – He was confirmed ahead of the previous race at COTA actually.

  3. The title ‘Drive to Survive’ is unfortunate. Sounds like a B or C -grade American flick not far removed from ‘Fast and Furious’.

  4. Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
    9th March 2019, 9:05

    Call me crazy, I don’t care. I still think this is a show to bring American young people into the sport where F1 isn’t as popular as in Europe. Very underwhelming so far.

  5. In effect just another Pay TV channel.

  6. Only watched the first episode, and after the review I expected it would be allot better. It’s a casual friendly and extremely sensationalist for a hardcore fan. For someone that is not very familiar with f1 I think it is quite misleading and makes them think f1 is something it really isn’t.

  7. I too found this episode the worst. It goes from cinematic to sensationalist. I felt 90% of the episode was about Occon (almost promotional material for him) he is a great kid with good enough talent to deserve a seat, but he is almost portrayed by Will Bux as the next Hamilton, and nowhere in the chapter (or next chapters) Occon’s inmaturity or over ambitious ways to put the car vs other car(s) in a place where only 1 car fits is mentioned. All the contrary Bux justified Brazil and blamed Max for the clash.

    Netflix drives the audience to think it is Perez money and he’s connections the reason Occon does not have a seat today (when on reality it is Stroll who is taking his seat). Occon complaining Perez is flying on a Heli to the Hotel while he gets to ride a limo back to the Hotel is pathetic.
    Vijay mingling with Occon adds more to the same plot.
    If anything Drive to Survive shows to the new fans to be, that F1 is a business and being good driver is not enough (see Alo + Maclaren), To survive a driver has to be F1 good driver, be at least in a good enough team and have all the right connections. Those drivers who lost their seat this season are lacking one or more of those things.

    I think as some said, this is to bring new USA audience to F1, not for hardcore F1 followers and definitely (as much as Netflix and F1 would like us to think) this way far from being a “Senna” film caliber.

    1. Thanks for putting that out, I really felt Perez was portrayed as a dirty, egomaniac driver who doesn’t deserve a place in F1. Also the fact that there’s not even mentioning of all the podiums he has deliver for FI.

      I found that episode somewhat misleading and one handed heavily on Ocon’s favor without any mention on the stress Perez had to endure while putting FI into administration in order to save 100+ jobs.

  8. Justin (@vivagilles27)
    10th March 2019, 6:42

    Agreed. This episode was built on a fake premise. As for the series as a whole, I am fairly impressed. I am a life-long F1 fan and an American citizen with 19 attended F1 races to my credit, which in the eyes of many on this sight makes me a some sort of Unicorn. Yes, this series may seem above the hard core fan and a bit like an extended commercial for the new rights holders, but I think the story telling, cinematography, and the fact that they are concentrating on the “best of the rest” on the grid (maybe not by choice because Mercedes and Ferrari didn’t allow access) makes for a great video yearbook for last season for any caliber fan. I’m enjoying watching it, and much more than I remember enjoying yet another two driver world championship that ended too early last season.

  9. Anyone notice how they twice showed Perez overtaking Leclerc, but from such different angles that they basically attempted to make it look like two different moves? The show does too much narrative weaving.

  10. it remembers me a lot the movie Rush in the way the narrators are always talking about the characters of the episode, like they are the protagonists of the sport, and not just of that episode.

    It’s clever, sounds nice, but who would believe that broadcasters would talk so much about the situation within Force India like it’s a championship decision? “Here we are at Spa Francorchamps where the two Force India drivers have a tough situation between them”. Nobody talks like that!

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