Mercedes is building the car that will feature in Jerry Bruckheimer's upcoming F1 movie.
A recent Wall Street Journal panel discussion clarified the circumstances around the upcoming Brad Pitt Formula 1 movie and how it will impact the sport. As it turns out, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali wasn't lying when he said the film will be "quite invasive."
In short, Jerry Bruckheimer and Joseph Kosinski will create an 11th team and will be filming on track. Filming will commence at Silverstone in July and will continue until the end of the year. We expect filming to wrap up at the Las Vegas Grand Prix, the penultimate race of the 2023 season. By then, Max Verstappen will likely be a three-time champion anyway.
As you can imagine, the announcement sparked controversy on social media platforms. An admittedly small portion of F1 fandom is already toxic as it is, and allowing Pitt on a live track is like wearing an "I'm With Her" t-shirt and parading around outside Mar-a-Lago.
This is not some half-assed attempt, however. Obviously, Pitt and the 11th team won't be allowed to partake in sanctioned events. How they'll fill up the grid remains to be seen, but we can't imagine two amateur drivers being allowed on the grid during any of the events leading up to the Grand Prix.
There have been rumors of dropping Free Practice 2, but even so, we have to wonder whether team bosses will allow their multi-million dollar machines to drive on the same track as Brad Pitt and the unnamed second driver.
The "11th Team" is just a phrase that shouldn't be taken seriously. If Domenicali allowed a new team to join the grid, they'd get a rather unpleasant visit from the Andrettis shortly afterward.
Brad Pitt obviously doesn't have a Super Licence, and Colton Herta wasted no time making fun of the situation in light of what happened to him last year.
Pitt and the other actor will drive F1 cars designed and built by Mercedes. It might be the vehicle spotted at Silverstone a while ago (video below), which most people assumed was a new F2 design. Though Will Buxton, who hosted the panel, stated that Brad Pitt will drive an F1 car, we're guessing it won't be the real deal. Brad Pitt reportedly has an impressive collection of brisk machines, including a Lamborghini Aventador, an Audi R8 Spyder, and a Tesla Model S. Still, these cars are far from offering the same performance.
F1 cars rely on downforce to operate optimally. You can't drive it slow, or it will just spin. The tires also need heat generated by the high speeds, or the car will spin out. Basically, if you aren't an F1 driver, the vehicle will spin out.
For these reasons, Mercedes is building a faux F1 car that will rely more on mechanical grip. Setting a car up for mechanical grip instead of downforce is possible. F1 teams use this strategy at the Monaco Grand Prix every year.
That being said, the actors are already being trained on track and in the simulator. Given Lewis Hamilton's proximity to the movie (he's a producer), Pitt and the crew likely have access to the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team's advanced simulation facilities. Hamilton is also on hand daily in an advisory capacity to make the film as realistic as possible.
And realistic it will be because the producers spent 18 months using what they learned from filming Top Gun: Maverick to build the world's smallest 6K camera. It was designed to take the viewer into the cockpit and should be easy enough to disguise on the car's exterior.
This movie is stacking up to be epic, and we can't wait to see the final product. We also can't wait to see how the "11th Team" will be incorporated into the F1 circus.
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