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Brad Pitt in Silverstone pit lane as F1 gears up for Hollywood action

Brad Pitt Brad Pitt - Getty Images

Formula One expanded the grid for an 11th team at the British Grand Prix but the Brad Pitt-driven entry won’t be racing for the win.

The actor was turning laps around the circuit as part of filming for a movie about F1. His adviser and driving coach was seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton, who is co-producer of the project, said he wasn’t able to judge much when he watched Pitt practice two weeks ago but he has already been impressed by the Hollywood star's driving skills.

“I mean, he was just coming by flat out,” Hamilton said with a laugh on Thursday. “But we did do a day together at a track in L.A., and for someone that hasn’t raced he’s definitely already got a keen eye.

“He loves watching MotoGP (motorcycling), and so he’s always been a racing enthusiast. And he had already a knack for the lines, and he was fully, fully on it. Just good to see.”

Fans at Silverstone will get to see the car on the track themselves during specific filming slots. and the fictional Apex team has been given a garage in the pit lane, between Mercedes and Ferrari.

The driver boards bear the unfamiliar names of Sonny Hayes and Joshua Pearce — also known as Pitt and British actor Damson Idris.

The film is being produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Joseph Kosinski, who both worked on “Top Gun: Maverick.”

“Joe is an incredible director and you already saw what he’s done with fighter jets, what he did with Maverick,” Hamilton said. “So if you just think about what he’s done with that in terms of the dogfights you saw on those jets, was pretty epic.

“And bringing that in, that technology and that viewpoint into our world, I think it’s going to be amazing.”

F1 is looking to build on the success of the behind-the-scenes “Drive to Survive” docudrama — the Netflix show that helped to finally capture the elusive American audience.

And to that end the series’ organizers have been supportive of the Hollywood project.

“I’ve been really incredibly grateful to them,” Hamilton said. “I don’t know if this would have been possible 10-plus years ago when the old management was in place. They wouldn’t have perhaps seen this as an important step in terms of the sport’s growth.

“But we’ve already seen the great work and impact of the Netflix show, and I think this will take it to new heights beyond that.”

According to details already divulged, Pitt stars as a racing driver who comes out of retirement to compete alongside an up-and-coming rookie against the titans of the series.

That helps solve one problem in how the 59-year-old Pitt can convincingly portray an F1 driver, with the average age a lot younger in the high-intensity series.

“Well, firstly, Brad looks like he’s aging backwards,” Hamilton said. “I mean, he looks great for his age and … he’s super fit, he’s been training and at the end of the day it’s a movie, so there will be a Hollywood element to it, that will make it believable.

“And Brad is such an iconic actor. He has always done such an incredible job, so I can’t tell you how excited I am to have Brad Pitt in the Formula One movie. I mean, it’s incredible. So I think he’s going to do a great job.”


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