Domenicali: Brad Pitt film will have Drive to Survive effect on F1
Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali expects the new Brad Pitt movie to have a Netflix Drive to Survive effect and help to take the series to “another dimension”.
The F1 organisation has given its support to the production by giving unprecedented access, even allowing it take over a pit garage and run cars on track between sessions at some races.
Last weekend at Silverstone the film’s converted F2 cars were placed at the back of the grid, and stars Brad Pitt and Damson Idris were allowed to join the national anthem ceremony, standing alongside Max Verstappen.
The production also had a major presence in the paddock, with a hospitality unit and truck, and a temporary building where cameras and other equipment were stored between shots.
The filming will continue at upcoming races, although at some venues – such as Zandvoort – logistical issues mean that there is not enough space for the size of commitment seen at Silverstone.
“I think that was just amazing to see the reaction of all the F1 community because that was the first time that really you see what has been done,” Domenicali told Autosport/Motorsport.com when asked about the impact of the initial filming at Silverstone.
“The quality of the production is really high. It's been a really good standard. What was important for us was to keep separate the live and the actual racing, because that's untouchable, with the movie preparation that has been done with the different cuts or angles of cameras, and so on.
“Also the drivers were very, very happy, and the teams were appreciating what we're doing.”
Domenicali acknowledged that creating a fictional 11th team was a better solution than having the stars driving for an existing outfit.
“That was one of the points when we met the first time to discuss about this project,” he said. “It was pretty clear that we want to do something fair, and give the right spot for F1.
Brad Pitt filming F1 race movie
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
“I think we are totally convinced because otherwise, we wouldn't have done it, that this will take F1 to another dimension in terms of popularity, in terms of awareness. I'm expecting the big effect that Netflix and social media did with F1.”
Domenicali has also ensured that the plotline is a positive one that paints the series in a good light.
“You will see the story is very sporty, very good and very real,” he said. “That's the reason why I wanted to do something. If you want to be associated with F1, and this is real F1, we need to be clean and real.”
Domenicali acknowledged producer Lewis Hamilton’s role in ensuring that the story is realistic: “He gives credibility to what we're doing because he knows the details.
“I have to say that also Brad and all the community has been very professional to stay with us, follow with us.
“They've been with us since the first day we started the project. So it's been more than one year since we talked about it. It's very serious.”
Team bosses are keen to support the film project and anticipate that it will only be positive for F1.
“They are proper professionals,” said Aston Martin’s Mike Krack of the film crew. “This is definitely the case, I think even the rehearsal of the walking from the front to the rear [of the grid], I think they tried it 10 to 20 times.
“We were in talks with F1 not to be in the way, to just do business as usual. We spoke to all of the team to follow that guideline all weekend and I think we did that.
Brad Pitt garage for the filming the weekend
Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images
“I think it's the duty of all of us here in the product F1 to do as best as possible so that we can generate the best possible advertising for the sport.”
Ferrari’s Fred Vasseur said there was a bigger picture than any cooperation that his own team could offer.
“I hope that the product will be mega for F1 and everybody will benefit from this,” he said. “I don't care if the engine of their cars is a GP2 engine or a Mercedes engine, or another one.
“I think the most important thing is that this kind of story is coming now, at the right moment for F1. We have a huge boom on the F1 everywhere in the world, and this kind of thing happens today, but for good reasons.
“I think they are much more powerful today to do this kind of movie than 10 years ago, with the situation of the F1.”
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