Guenther Steiner, Drive to Survive season six

First week viewing figures for new Drive to Survive season fall again

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Fewer people watched Drive to Survive in the first week a new season arrived for the second year in a row.

The sixth season of the hit Netflix Formula 1 series, covering the events of last year’s world championship, debuted last week. Netflix reported 21.8 million hours of the show were watched during that week.

This is a fall of 15% compared to the previous year, when 25.7m hours of the fifth season were watched during its first week. The previous season attracted even more views: 28m hours were watched during its opening week.

While season four was the fourth most-watched programme in the week it debuted in 2022, this year’s new season reached only eighth on the same chart. It appeared in the top 10 in 42 different countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada and Mexico but not the USA.

Drive to Survive has been credited with spurring interest in F1, particularly in the USA. Its second season coincided with the onset of the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic and attracted especially strong viewing figures.

Programme makers Box to Box faced several challenges with the latest season. The 2023 championship was a one-sided affair in which Red Bull won all bar one of the 22 grands prix, and Max Verstappen took 19 of those.

Post-season developments overshadowed the content of some episodes. One focused on Lewis Hamilton’s decision to extend his Mercedes contract, but by the time it aired news had broken of his decision to join Ferrari in 2025. The series makers were able to edit in a late reference to show favourite Guenther Steiner being replaced as Haas team principal in January.

F1 last renewed its contract with Netflix in 2022, when it agreed to produce the fifth and sixth seasons of Drive to Survive. Filming for a seventh has already begun.

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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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19 comments on “First week viewing figures for new Drive to Survive season fall again”

  1. I fall asleep like 5 times watching it…

  2. I am one of those who chose not to watch this season.

    What is most damning about the news they released though is that it didn’t appear in the Top 10 in the US market. They have been purposely trying to attract a new US audience, but in their ever more blatant pandering, clearly don’t understand what made US audiences attracted to DtS and F1 in the first place.

    1. It’s almost as if a US team with a US engine manufacturer, with the possibility of an American driver would be a good thing for attracting a greater us audience.

      1. Right? And if that US team had a famous racing name, like Andretti or something like that, it could also attract a greater US audience. And if that team had proven successful in other North American racing series, it could also attract a greater US audience who want to see someone who is competitive representing them.

      2. Also, it’s almost as if Americans aren’t all that keen on being messed about.

    2. F1 has gone out of its way to insult the American fanbase with the rejection of Andretti on blatantly nonsensical grounds, calling one of the great names in American racing a nobody in the process. Now I doubt that core motorsport fanbase has much overlap with the DTS crowd, but everything influences each other. If the long term viewers aren’t enthusiastic about F1, or even hostile, it rubs off on people that might have wanted to use DTS to see what that thing others are discussing is like.

      And as always, the way much of TV works is that they grab an audience with a big first season, and then milk it as long as possible for as little investment as possible. It’s only normal that interest decreases over time, and they’re cool with that. It’s still much cheaper than making something new, which is always a risky proposition.

      And it doesn’t help that 8 out of the 9 teams were incapable of being competitive.

  3. There’s now so many similar documentaries on Netflix about other sports I think it gets lost in the noise. Plus it’s not fresh anymore. You’re not getting any new insight about the sport, and if you want to actually follow it, you’ve already watched the 2023 season anyway.

    1. I think that’s it. DTS is the godfather of fly on the wall sports doc series. Now that we’ve got the same formula (pardon the pun) of show for golf, tennis, rugby, nascar, football, cycling, basketball etc… it’s lost its uniqueness. I’m not sure if the content is any better or worse than season 1. It seems a little over-scripted now. Like they know the Netflix cameras are rolling and play/act up to them. In the early seasons it was a little more raw and off the cuff.

      Like all good TV shows, they have a peak then tail off in quality before reaching that point where they just have to call it a day. I think they should skip 2025 and bring it back for the 2026 season a fresh when there will be lots of changes and hopefully a change in the order.

      1. I feel like it would be useful if it was accurate and not overly dramatised there’s a lot more they could do if they made it more raw and less contrived and fake.

  4. I watched it, but that doesn’t mean I liked it. I was so bored that I started skipping scenes. They didn’t put in any real effort in this one. I felt like rewatching races, and not the most interesting ones at that; and they kept coming back to some races a few times to make things worse. Terrible scenario, lack of narration, no consistency, ignoring the most important events and protagonists… I mean, they took the most boring teams of them all (Alpine and Haas) and gave them half of the show. They completely ignored the best driver and the best team that made history last year. It’s like ignoring Senna or Prost during their peak seasons and focusing the “documentary” on Berger or Brundle. It should at least be entertaining, if not informative, which it wasn’t. To make it worse, each episode was more boring and empty than the previous one. It’s time to update the concept or cancel this reality show. We saw more of Danica Patrick than the dominant F1 champion, in a documentary covering the last F1 season lol.

    1. This. Not worth watching.

    2. There was no dramatic arc to Max’s season, so it wouldn’t have been possible to do a complete episode about him, let alone a full series. Especially since the more interesting route to Max’s 2022 title is already covered in the previous DTS season. There’s only so long a program can show “ditto”, so Box to Box didn’t waste time pretending there was more to it.

  5. Stopped to watch it after Abu Dhabi 2021. This tv show has changed F1 in much worst, I’m just waiting for its closing. Hate it, is also fake, they put pieces of different races for creating fake stories. is all fake

  6. DTS, the ultimate circusification tool of Liberty Media. Anything for shareholder value. Who cares about the integrity of the sport or respect for what teams and drivers display sportive wise. Certainly not Liberty. Sign of the times..

  7. The end of DTS can’t come soon enough. Will Liberty plz go away after that?

  8. Not surprising, six seasons is a lot…

    Funny to see how the sentiment has slowly shifted in comments now to pure hatred.

    I was more in that camp to begin with but I actually saw quite a few interesting tidbits this year.

    I liked how clear they made it that everything the drivers say is coached.

    More is said by when they look at the camera to say they can’t say anything sometimes.

  9. I “watched” it in full, because I have two monitors. And I didn’t pay a cent to do it. It was garbage, and as it has been said, we saw more of ONE race winner Danica Patrick than of Max Verstappen glorious season, or Sergio Pérez laughable one.

  10. Got rid of Netflix last year. No regrets

  11. Who wants to watch Toto’s poor acting as he plays politics in front of the cameras.

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