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Does Hamilton’s dramatic British GP win show the F1 film the way?

They often say reality trumps fiction and any sports fan can certainly attest to that, whether it’s Tiger Woods overcoming injury and personal turmoil to win his fifth Masters, Liverpool turning around a 3-0 half deficit to AC Milan to win the 2005 Champions League final, or the New England Patriots overturning a 25-point deficit to the Atlanta Falcons in the final quarter of the 2017 Super Bowl.

Formula 1 has also known its fair share of plot twists over the years, from Hamilton’s last-corner overtake that sealed the 2008 world title in Brazil, and a fresh-faced 18-year-old Max Verstappen winning on his Red Bull debut in 2016, to the controversial 2021 Abu Dhabi season finale where the pair concluded a vitriolic title fight in unprecedented fashion.

On Sunday a tearful Hamilton took his first victory in 945 days to seal a record ninth British Grand Prix win in front of an adoring home crowd, having answered his own existential questions on whether or not he was still good enough or would ever win again during the challenging dry spell that followed his crushing 2021 title loss.

It was genuine, high-octane sporting drama. Greatness, overcoming loss and self-doubt led to an emotional outburst that we had never seen before from F1’s most successful driver.

It is fitting that Hamilton’s latest entry into the history books came under the watchful eye of Hollywood’s great and good as filming resumed for ‘F1’, the upcoming movie starred by Brad Pitt, and co-produced by the seven-time world champion himself.

Actor Brad Pitt during filming for an upcoming movie

Photo by: Sam Bagnall / Motorsport Images

The film’s fictional APX GP team returned with a large paddock presence and shot various scenes on-site, such as Pitt and co-star Damson Idris mixing and mingling with F1’s media to shoot post-race interviews in the media pen.

Other filming locations for this year will include the Hungaroring, Spa-Francorchamps, Mexico City, Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi.

Shooting footage at live F1 events, as well as bringing in Hamilton to provide input on the script, is an indication of the desire to make an immersive and authentic racing movie, which is a bit of a unicorn.

Over the weekend the movie, which is set for a June 2025 release, has also received a first teaser to show a glimpse of the results of all that extensive filming throughout the 2023 season.

As can be expected from a Joe Kosinski-Jerry Bruckheimer production, two of the driving forces behind the acclaimed ‘Top Gun: Maverick’, the action footage looks exquisite, benefitting from advanced camera and editing technology which will surely make F1 pop on the big screen.

The opening dialogue between Pitt’s main character Sonny Hayes and Kerry Condon as an as-of-yet unnamed character will be more of a red flag for race fans, though, with Hayes proclaiming APX GP will need to “build our cars for combat”. Facing safety concerns from Condon’s character, who appears to be some sort of technical director or chief designer, he retorted: “Who said anything about safe?”

While just a tiny snippet from the film that is very much in production, it is not the kind of dialogue that will inspire confidence from those pining for an authentic F1 film, and die-hard F1 fans might want to manage their expectations for a racing version of the Maverick-esque trope of ‘old-timer comes out of retirement to mentor rookie prodigy’.

They will also be hoping to avoid too many parallels with Bruckheimer’s first go at making a racing movie. Following the 1986 success of ‘Top Gun’, directed by Tony Scott and co-produced by Bruckheimer, the duo then went on to make a Top Gun-on-wheels with Tom Cruise, ‘Days of Thunder’, which looked spectacular for its time but featured a wafer-thin plot.

cars being filmed for new F1 film APEX starring Brad Pitt

cars being filmed for new F1 film APEX starring Brad Pitt

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

The movie teaser garnered a lot of interest, however, amassing four million views on F1’s official YouTube channel alone in just over 72 hours. It shows the appetite is there, and with the film simply named ‘F1’, using the official logo and all, the flick is clearly meant as a marketing exercise for the series to build on its Netflix-derived mainstream success.

Making a film that both appeals to the masses and to dyed-in-the-wool motor racing purists seems like an impossible task, and it would be understandable to focus on the former rather than preaching to the choir.

But as Hamilton displayed on Sunday afternoon in front of 164,000 fans, there is no substitute for real, unfettered sporting drama.

Racing fans will have to hope F1’s real-life storylines and Hamilton’s two-decade experience will have provided some inspiration to the creative forces behind ‘F1’ and infused the script with the authenticity that has been promised.

Watch: F1 | Official Teaser

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