While Brad Pitt’s Hollywood blockbuster crew ran that much-desired ’11th team’ on the Formula 1 grid, for the filming of his much-hyped movie, World Champion Max Verstappen was not impressed by the razzmatazz at Silverstone during the Grand Prix weekend there.
To add realism to the script, Pitt’s Apex Racing ‘F1 team’ and car with a special livery for the movie were somehow incorporated into the real and normal pre-race activities. The production garnered much social media space as well as headlines on just about every major website.
But Red Bull’ soon to be triple F1 World Champ, Verstappen was unmoved: “I think they’re going to use some shots of everybody, in terms of onboard cameras and stuff I completely can’t be bothered with this. In the end, a film is always made to create a little bit of a show in it. Because yes, of course, it won’t all be real. But I think it’s all fine. I’m actually not that much into it.”
Shedding light on the weekend, when a part of the iconic Grand Prix track welcomed Hollywood in his fabled Green Notebook, Joe Saward wrote: “The film industry was much in evidence in Silverstone and I was fortunate enough to be given a tour of the Apex Racing garage, which was very impressive, complete with the timing screens featuring 22 names (Michael Andretti would have liked it).
“The list included Sonny Hayes and Joshua Pearce, drivers for a backmarker team trying to win in Formula 1. The team was using an old FIA motorhome and has no fewer than six mocked-up F1 cars, built by Carlin, with two-powered by electric motors (for pit stop filming), two with F2 engines and two with F3 engines,” observed Saward in his notes.
Sonny Hayes has a horrible crash…
As for the script for the movie, for which seven-time F1 World Champion, Lewis Hamilton is a consultant, 59-year-old Pitt said of the project: “Sonny Hayes [played by Brad] has a horrible crash, kind of craps out and disappears and is racing in other disciplines…
“His friend, played by Javier Bardem, is a team owner. They’re a last-placed owner, 21, 22 on the F1 grid. They’ve never scored a point. They have a young phenom played by Damson Idris. He brings me in as a kind of Hail Mary, and hijinks ensue,” revealed Pitt, who said he had the time of his life during his time at Silverstone.
While Verstappen was cool to the project, fellow drivers were more enthused including Mercedes driver George Russell: “I think it’s one of those when you see a worldwide superstar for the first time, it’s quite surreal. And then it’s only when you get to be with those individuals.
“Whether it was Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt or Roger Federer, whoever we’ve been fortunate enough to meet, you recognise they’re just normal human beings. [Pitt] was joking around and having a good time and just kind of one of the boys really. So excited to see what the movie does,” said Russell.
Leclerc: I’m looking forward to seeing it. Nice guy
Ferrari ace Charles Leclerc echoed his rival: “It’s fun, it’s a new face and definitely quite unexpected to see Brad in the drivers’ briefing. They did a bit of a brief of what to expect for the movie and it just is very exciting. I’m looking forward to seeing it. Nice guy.”
Alpine driver Pierre Gasly, who couldn’t resist posting a selfie with Pitt, added: “I must say it’s not every day you get the chance to see Brad Pitt. We got the chance to meet him and they introduced themselves and the movie.
“It was definitely a special moment. Apart from the driver’s briefing and sitting right in front of Brad Pitt, everything kind of felt normal. So on my side, I will say it has changed to zero,” explained the Frenchman.
Yahoo!Movies report that with the film still in pre-production, a final release date is unknown. However, a late 2024 or early 2025 release is being bandied about, first in cinemas before heading to Apple TV+.
Meanwhile, we can report that Verstappen won the 2023 British Grand Prix, and the results show no mention of Sonny Hayes nor Joshua Pearce. Thus we will have to wait for the movie to see if and when Apex Racing score that one point with their 59-year-old driver or their young phenomenon!