Lewis Hamilton defends casting ‘iconic’ Brad Pitt as F1 driver in new film

Brad Pitt at Silverstone on Thursday as he prepares to start filming for new blockbuster (David Davies/PA)
Brad Pitt at Silverstone on Thursday as he prepares to start filming for new blockbuster (David Davies/PA)

Lewis Hamilton has defended the casting of Brad Pitt as a Formula One driver with the Hollywood actor to start filming for his new blockbuster at the British Grand Prix on Friday.

Pitt will race an adapted Formula Two machine between practice sessions at a sold-out Silverstone for the movie which Hamilton is helping to produce.

It is understood that the 59-year-old American will play the role of a veteran driver returning to the grid after a 30-year absence.

The plot line has raised eyebrows, given Pitt’s age, but Hamilton said: “Brad looks like he’s ageing backwards. He looks great for his age.

“Of course that was a big topic at the beginning when we were discussing the first story. But he’s super-fit.

“He is such an iconic actor. He’s always done such an incredible job. I can’t tell you how excited I am to have Brad Pitt in Formula One. It’s incredible.”

Pitt has been getting up to speed in Formula Two machinery for two months – first at the Paul Ricard Circuit in France and then here at Silverstone.

While Pitt will be alone on track at Silverstone in a modified car prepared by Hamilton’s Mercedes team, it is believed that the assistance of computer generated imagery will make him look as though he is racing this season’s grid.

A garage has been set up in the paddock to replicate a fictional “11th team”, called Apex GP. They will also have a presence on the grid ahead of Sunday’s race, but will be withdrawn before the event gets under way.

“There are nerves because it is something we’ve been working on for so long,” added Hamilton.

“We want everyone to love it and to really feel that we encapsulate what the essence of this sport is all about.

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton addresses the media ahead of the British Grand Prix (Tim Goode/PA)

“I don’t know if this would have been possible 10 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 this will take it to new heights beyond that.”

Apple has bought the rights to the movie with a reported budget of 140 million US dollars (£125 million).

Joseph Kosinski, the man behind Top Gun: Maverick, will direct the film, while Jerry Bruckheimer – who also worked on the Tom Cruise blockbuster – is listed as a producer.

Filming will continue at a number of races over the remainder of the season.