Five controversies from F1 2022 that Drive to Survive must not ignore

It’s official, Drive to Survive will shortly be coming to a (Netflix) screen near you to uncover the drama of F1 2022. 
(L to R): Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racin
(L to R): Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racin

F1 and Netflix have confirmed the Drive to Survive season five release date as February 24, a week before the 2023 season gets underway with the Bahrain Grand Prix. 

Having previously boycotted Netflix due to his criticisms of the way the hit docuseries portrays F1 drivers and their “faked rivalries”, reigning world champion Max Verstappen will feature in the upcoming season. 

While we eagerly await the new episodes to drop, we’ve picked out five storylines we want to see get covered…

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Perez’s ‘deliberate’ Monaco crash 

Who knew that a fairly innocuous-looking crash in May would prove to be such a controversial topic at the back-end of the 2022 season? 

When Verstappen disobeyed Red Bull’s request to give sixth place in the Sao Paulo Grand Prix to teammate Sergio Perez to help his quest to claim second place in the F1 standings, the Dutchman claimed his refusal was due to “something that happened in the past”. 

Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing RB18 and Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Ferrari F1-75 crash in qualifying, blocking Max Verstappen
Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing RB18 and Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Ferrari…

Although Verstappen has never directly revealed what his specific grievance surrounded, it is understood it was prompted by Perez’s crash during qualifying in Monaco which caused a red flag and prevented Verstappen a shot at taking pole position - and potentially the win. 

Publicly at least, Perez has always denied he crashed on purpose. However, Dutch media claimed Verstappen’s stance in Brazil was payback for Perez’s confession within Red Bull that his Monaco crash was in fact deliberate. 

Did the Netflix cameras catch any of the supposed fallout? We would love to find out what really happened…

Hamilton injured by bouncing Mercedes 

One of the storylines that dominated the early part of the season, and F1’s new era of aerodynamic regulations, was the emergence of an old phenomenon known as porpoising

Mercedes struggled with the high-frequency bouncing - which hampered the performance of their troubled W13 car - more than most teams and spent the majority of the year trying to get to the bottom of the problem. 

Porpoising made for an uncomfortable ride for Mercedes’ drivers, with Lewis Hamilton struggling to get out of his car at the end of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix after experiencing severe discomfort throughout the race. 

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W13 holding his back. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 8, Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Baku
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W13 holding his back. Formula 1 World…

Hamilton and Mercedes’ public complaints led to mass debate and a row over F1’s new regulations, ultimately resulting in the FIA introducing measures to control porpoising in the interest of safety. 

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner accused Mercedes counterpart Toto Wolff of acting up for Netflix cameras, who are believed to have captured a fiery exchange between the pair during a heated team boss meeting in Canada. 

Hopefully the true tension of the meeting - and clash of team bosses - will be revealed. 

Alonso’s secret Aston Martin meeting 

The first day of the August summer break was interrupted by bombshell news of Fernando Alonso’s departure from Alpine to sign for midfield rivals Aston Martin. 

The announcement took everybody by surprise, including Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer, who revealed he only learned of Alonso’s exit when he read Aston Martin’s press release on the Monday after the Hungarian Grand Prix. 

Szafnauer believed Alpine were on the verge of agreeing a fresh contract with Alonso following negotiations prior to the summer break. But what the Enstone team didn’t know was that Alonso was holding secret meetings with Aston Martin. 

Fernando Alonso (ESP), Alpine F1 Team Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 22, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu
Fernando Alonso (ESP), Alpine F1 Team Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 22,…

Sebastian Vettel’s decision not to extend his own deal and instead retire from F1 opened the door for Alonso to make his move to Aston Martin. 

Aston Martin wasted no time in finding a replacement, with team owner Lawrence Stroll calling Alonso for secret negotiations that took place in the Hungaroring paddock. 

While the entire world was focused on Vettel, did the Netflix cameras pick up anything from Alonso’s trips to Aston Martin? 

Ricciardo’s bad news 

The other major driver market drama centred around Daniel Ricciardo and his exit from McLaren. 

Amid a string of underwhelming performances, Ricciardo publicly insisted on social media last July that he was committed to see out his contract with McLaren, which ran until the end of 2023. 

But little did he know that one week earlier, McLaren had completed an agreement to sign Oscar Piastri

Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) McLaren on the grid. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 13, Hungarian Grand Prix, Budapest, Hungary,
Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) McLaren on the grid. Formula 1 World Championship,…

This was revealed when F1’s Contract Recognition Board ruled McLaren had a valid contract with Piastri that had been signed on July 4 after a long-running tug-of-war with Alpine for the Australian’s services. 

Ricciardo held discussions with McLaren throughout the summer, culminating in official confirmation of his departure from the team at the end of 2022 at the Belgian Grand Prix in late August. 

Will more details from the Ricciardo-Piastri-McLaren triangle emerge on the new season of Drive to Survive?

Horner’s F1 cost cap talks 

While the F1 world waited for news on Red Bull’s punishment for their ‘minor’ breach of the $145m F1 cost cap from Verstappen’s maiden title-winning season in 2021, Horner and FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem were spotted holding extensive talks in the United States Grand Prix paddock. 

Several meetings between Horner and Ben Sulayem took place across the weekend, and again ahead of the Mexico City Grand Prix, to agree terms with the FIA for an Accepted Breach Agreement. 

Oh, to have been a fly on the wall during those discussions!

A heated face-off between Horner and McLaren CEO Zak Brown followed in Austin, before Horner held a press conference in Mexico to provide Red Bull’s reaction to the FIA’s verdict. 

The F1 cost cap saga was one of the biggest and most controversial talking points of the year and left us wondering whether Netflix managed to capture anything extra from behind the scenes? 

Christian Horner (GBR), Red Bull Racing Team Principal during his press conference about cost cap breach. Formula 1 World
Christian Horner (GBR), Red Bull Racing Team Principal during his press…

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