A word of caution for those wishing to view the latest Formula 1 offering from Netflix's Drive to Survive documentary series, which releases today.

The beginning of season five starts with a quick recap of the 2021 season finale which, for some Formula 1 fans, might prove a bruising experience given the controversial events from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

But that shouldn't detract from what is another must-watch series, with the opening segment of the 2022 season providing a nice palate cleanser as buddies Mattia Binotto and Gunther Steiner enjoy a getaway in the Italian Dolomites in a Fiat 500, visiting the now former Ferrari principal's vineyard.

It sets the tone for the entire season, deftly balancing the tension and rivalries that make F1 so compelling with light-hearted moments that show a more human side of the protagonists. The opening episode quickly shifts gears and focuses on the Bahrain GP curtain raiser and the 'new dawn' of F1 with the new-for-2022 technical regulations.

More comedic relief follows when Mercedes' radical zero-pod concept attracts a lot of attention - and more than a hint of scorn - by rival drivers. While their reservations soon prove justified by Mercedes' on-track struggles, focus shifts to Ferrari which does seem to have the tools to finally deliver the demanding tifosi another crown, a story arc that is followed in later episodes, even if we know by now it wasn't a happy ending....

It quickly becomes apparent that Netflix and production company Box to Box Films have stuck to their guns. After all, why change a winning formula that has helped elevate F1's popularity to unseen heights?

The fly on the wall aspect of its camera crew, which follows different drivers and teams every weekend, again delivers some candid insight and comedic gold dust and makes fans feel like they're in the moment. Sharing the heartbreak of Daniel Ricciardo and Mick Schumacher's struggles in their bespoke episodes is in contrast to the banter as Kevin Magnussen lives his best life on his unlikely Haas return.

Narrative context continues to be provided by talking heads - the excellent Will Buxton is as quotable as ever - and plenty of drivers and team bosses take centre stage in front of the camera.

Max Verstappen at Bahrain 2023 testing

Having refused to take part in previous seasons due to a disagreement over the creative licence DTS takes with F1's actual storylines and its portrayal of drivers, reigning world champion Max Verstappen has now lent his cooperation after clearing the air with the show's producers.

Verstappen's contributions are limited to basic soundbites and platitudes, but the importance of having the current world champion on board doesn't need explaining. And the Dutchman can rest assured, the words he offers aren't twisted by Netflix.

The show is even self-aware enough to point out its status as an entertainment product and not a documentary, with Mercedes chief Toto Wolff likening it to Hollywood blockbuster film, Top Gun.

One of the series' main points of criticism, its tendency to mix on-board radio comments and pit wall reactions with unrelated action footage, continues in season five, although its transgressions feel less egregious than in previous years and mainly help propel the episodes forward.

After the explosive conclusion to the 2021 season, 2022 offered less unfettered drama and you could be forgiven for thinking that the show would go to greater lengths to conjure up storylines. But all in all, it hasn't really done that. Most of last year's major talking points are covered with broad but quite fair strokes, even if they are just a bit flatter than 2021's rollercoaster.

One complaint is that Zhou Guanyu's Silverstone crash is milked for all it's worth, with endless replays and dramatic pauses before revealing the outcome - Romain Grosjean's 2020 Bahrain GP crash playbook followed to a tee.

Few segments are particularly revealing for die hard F1 fans, but it's those little extras that make DTS worth watching for them. We don't need to dip behind the scenes to be reminded of how bad Mercedes' issues were, but Red Bull team boss Christian Horner openly revelling in its downfall and speculating on whether Lewis Hamilton will retire or not is a cheeky bit a colour, picking up the thread of a hostile rivalry that dominated season four.

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing, Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes AMG

We previously knew about Wolff's fury in team principal meetings as he tried to convince his colleagues to address porpoising in 2022 while facing fierce resistance from his Red Bull nemesis, but seeing parts of it included in the show makes us want to break out the popcorn and snigger along with amused bystanders Andreas Seidl and Jost Capito. After all, the years of Mercedes dominance haven't made Wolff's counterparts particularly sympathetic to his plight.

The popcorn stash gets raided again when we get to follow Ferrari's many strategy meltdowns and Red Bull catches flak for its cost cap breach. Or when the battle for Oscar Piastri's services between Alpine and McLaren comes to a head, letting us listen in on private talks between respective team bosses Otmar Szafnauer and Zak Brown. Future Bond villain Fernando Alonso gets our nomination for actor in a supporting role, throwing a spanner in the works at Alpine with his sudden move to Aston Martin. "I'm still the bad guy," the Spaniard grins to the camera.

Hyping up the glamour of the inaugural Miami GP will certainly indulge Liberty Media, but DTS doesn't shy away from fan service either. AlphaTauri's bromance between Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda is scooped up rather generously and series star Steiner again grabs a lot of screen time. This time, though, we also get to see a more weighty, human side behind the Haas team boss' mischievous jokes and f-bombs. They're just like the rest of us, these F1 team bosses. We even get to see Szafnauer iron his own shirts!

Having said that, it is rather puzzling to see Ricciardo get a much bigger send-off than four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel. The German barely features and doesn't really receive the farewell from the show befitting his glittering career.

The 2021 season was a tough act to follow and some of season five's weaker episodes don't quite scale the same heights as last season. The exclusive footage that DTS thrives on is just about juicy enough to make this season a must-watch again, even if some elements will inevitably be grating to F1's most ardent apologists.

Casual and new fans, the main focus group after all, won't care about those details though, and they're in for another ride.