With Drive to Survive set to ‘drop’ its latest series Friday 24th February, producer Paul Martin makes an astonishing claim in his interview with the Post.
Season 5 will not doubt feature the row between Toto Wolff and other team bosses which took place in Montreal over the issue of proposing.
Toto “lost his shit” set to feature
One source at the meeting claimed “Toto lost his shit” and launched a tirade of abuse on the other team principals accusing them of behaving in a “pitiful” way and “manipulating” driver comments to suit their agenda.
Other highlights will surely include previously unseen excerpts from Alpine’s public humiliation when they announced Oscar Piastri as their driver to replace Fernando Alonso in 2023 – only for him to tweet 90 minutes later that it was not true.
Ultimately after some legal shenanigans the FIA’s Contract Recognition Board ruled Piastri was a free agent and could sign with McLaren for the following season.
Red Bull cost cap saga included
Given the complete dominance on track of Max Verstappen and Red Bull, the off track stories will almost certainly take centre stage in Netflix’s latest sequence of revelations.
Red Bull will feature for their controversial breach of the newly introduced Formula One cost cap and the subsequent penalties handed out to the Milton Keynes based squad.
Given the amateur mistakes in a number of races, the Ferrari team strategies will come under the microscope together with the comical team radio exchanges in pigeon English between the drivers and the pit wall.
Shocking observation regarding Ricciardo
Also the sad story of Daniel Ricciardo’s demise and eventual sacking by McLaren is certain to feature. The loveable Aussie though will be missed by Netflix this year because his new role as Red Bull reserve driver and brand Ambassador means he’ll attend only a handful of the races.
In a shocking admission to The Post, Drive to Survive producer Paul Martin reveals, “Without Daniel I think there probably wouldn’t have been a Drive to Survive.”
“He was the first driver that we talked to about it, the first driver that invited us to his home in Australia. I felt very emotional with him leaving.
Zak Brown will get no sympathy
Expect Ricciardo’s troubles with the McLaren car to be treated sympathetically by DTS and McLaren together with boss Zak Brown may well come in for some flack for the way they handled Ricciardo’s exit.
Daniel Ricciardo will be a big loss for DTS as he has featured heavily in all 5 seasons to date, yet Martin believes there may be someone who can go some way to filling the Aussies boots.
“For me, Gasly has always been in that role as well. The show’s been on this amazing journey with Pierre and I feel quite emotionally attached to him.
Ocon may become DTS villain
Martin recalls Gasly’s humiliating demotion from Red Bull back to Toro Rosso as he was replaced racing alongside Max Verstappen by Alex Albon.
“We’ve seen him go through some incredible lows: the season where he was demoted [from Red Bull Racing] and Anthoine [Hubert] died. So to see him finally get a chance again in a competitive car is going to be great.
Pierre Gasly was the beneficiary of the Alpine/Piastri sorry affair because he became the driver who will replace Fernando Alonso and drive alongside his old adversary Esteban Ocon.
If the fireworks explode this year between Ocon and Gasly as has been suggested, therm Ocon may find himself cast as the villain if Gasly is set to become the new Netflix darling.
Gasly set to fill Ricciardo hole
Alpine finished best of the rest fourth in 2022 while Gasly’s Alpha Tauri had a poor year ending second last in the constructors title race.
“He’s grown on screen as a driver and as a person,” adds Martin.
“So I think he’ll be someone who will really fill the gap that Daniel leaves.”
Martin makes no bones about the fact that his Netflix series is a high drama look at the world of Formula One. In his mind he sees Ricciardo coming back from the dead like a number of the characters did in the 1980’s soap opera Dallas.
“It is a soap opera: characters get killed off, they come back, new characters come on,” explains Martin.
Ricciardo ‘back from the dead’ storyline
“I’m a big fan of the old ’80s soap operas so it feels a bit like Bobby Ewing. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Daniel pop up in the shower at some point this year.
“He’s such a character … if a few teams start to go wrong and it doesn’t feel like their drivers are working out, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Daniel back in a seat.”
One dream storyline even Netflix couldn’t engineer would be the return of Ricciardo to a race seat in the F1 team he grew up with.
Yet given the bad blood between Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez over the closing rounds of the 2022 season, who knows what is possible.
Perez on notice after 2022 row
Another event like the Monaco style crash during the final qualifying run – which prevented Verstappen beating Perez time – would surely see the Mexican out of the team.
The RB19 car may be engineered more towards Verstappen’s preferred oversteer driving style whereas Perez prefers a car which understeers.
Add to this the new Pirelli rubber which is meant to make the cars turn in more easily and Checo could find himself cast adrift of his team mate in the championship after just a handful of races.
Either scenario could easily result in a gift for Netflix with Ricciardo once again racing alongside Verstappen who he gave a run for his money the last time the two were paired.