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As many F1 fans are likely aware, in 2023 Brad Pitt began filming a fictional Formula 1 movie. But how much do you know about this project? Let me share everything I’ve observed behind the scenes during the filming of this movie in the F1 paddock!

The fictional F1 team first spotted on the grid in Silverstone was Apx. This team is the focus of a movie starring Brad Pitt.Brad Pitt F1 Celebrity attends 2023 Silverstone GP while filming APEX F1 movie

And how did this fictional team fare in their first race? Well, one car didn’t even get off the line, while the other managed just 400 meters before turning left before the first corner and heading off to a runoff zone.

Apex F1 Movie Silverstone 2023 F1 movie behind the scenes

So, does this movie have a title yet? No, it’s simply referred to as the “as-yet Untitled Apple F1 movie.”

Silverstone marked the first time we saw the film crew at a track, and did their cars actually race against any of the F1 cars at any stage over that weekend? No, but they did race against each other. They were out on track filming on several occasions when the F1 cars weren’t on track.

Their car is actually an F2 car; as you can see, the rear wing is slightly smaller than that of an F1 car. It’s also shorter and narrower than the F1 cars.

Brad Pitt's Apex f1 team livery during Silverstone GP filming for Brad Pitt F1 movie

This is the livery you’ll see in the movie, and yes, many have already noted that it bears a striking resemblance to the Haas livery from 2019.

Apex F1 movie car livery Brad Pitt F1 movie silverstone 2023

The two stars of the APX team are Sonny Hayes (Brad Pitt), racing the number seven car – the same number Kimi used – and Joshua Pierce (Damson Idris), in the number nine car. Can you remember the last driver who used number nine? I had to look it up; it was Nikita Mazepin.

Actor Damson Idris arrives at the 2023 Silverstone GP for filming of new Apple F1 movie Apex

Now, there’s no doubting that this is a significant step for Formula 1. They’ve been incredibly accommodating to the film crew, allowing them to film both on track and in the paddock; granting them unparalleled access, and all 20 F1 drivers will be part of the movie.

All 2024 F1 drivers pose for start of season driver photo at the 2024 Bahrain GPOn screen, Sonny and Joshua will be racing alongside all 20 of those drivers. Brad Pitt is a huge name, but also on board is Jerry Bruckheimer. You probably know him from the Top Gun series of movies. He’s a Hollywood heavyweight and no doubt has played a significant role in getting this F1 movie off the ground.Top Gun director Jerry bruckheimer attends the 2023 Silverstone GP as director of APX F1 movie

So, what do we know about the plot? Well, while it’s closely guarded, we do know that Brad Pitt will be portraying Sonny Hayes, a former F1 racer who suffered a horrible crash and bowed out of the sport. Sonny returns to F1 to team up with Joshua Pierce in the Apx team. They’re no Red Bull; they’re more like a back-of-the-grid team starting from last position, and they’ve never scored a point.

How much input will the current F1 drivers have? Not much. However, on the Friday night of the 2023 Silverstone race, I got word that Brad Pitt would be allowed into the driver’s briefing. That’s almost unheard of. Just before the briefing started, I spoke with a couple of drivers as they went in and mentioned, “Hey, Brad Pitt might be in there with you guys.” which they found quite exciting. You might have seen Pierre Gasly’s Instagram post with a picture of Brad and a few drivers in the briefing.

So, what was the purpose of that? I believe it was to give Brad an idea of what actually happens at these meetings, and secondly, for Brad to express gratitude to the drivers for their participation in the movie.

Brad Pitt attends the F1 drivers meeting and Brad Pitt poses with Lewis Hamilton, Pierre Gasly and Charles Leclerc

Is this the first time we’ve seen Brad Pitt at an F1 race? No, he was at Austin in 2022 and was quite popular, visiting several drivers and teams. We’ll see him at several other races throughout the 2024 season and I think we’re in for a real treat.

Brad Pitt attends the 2022 Austin GP prior to commencing filming of Brad pitt's new F1 movie

Did he have much security around him? Yes, two or three guys clearing a path as he walked through the paddock. I caught him late Friday in Silverstone after the driver’s briefing leaving the track, and he actually stopped outside the swipe gates, posed for a couple of selfies and signed a few autographs, which I thought was great of him.

Brad Pitt poses for selfies with fans at the 2023 Silverstone GP
Now, this isn’t the first time F1 has been involved in a movie. In 1966, F1 was part of the movie Grand Prix, which even starred James Garner and former F1 driver Graham Hill. In 2001, there was almost another F1 movie called “Driven,” starring Sylvester Stallone. That movie could well have been about Formula 1 because in 1997, it was announced that Stallone had agreed on a deal with Bernie Ecclestone to base a film around the sport.

Over the following years, Stallone was seen around the paddock conducting research, but the project never got off the ground. This was partly because the teams weren’t happy about providing information and Bernie became concerned that if the film turned out poorly, it would tarnish F1’s reputation. Judging by how “Driven” turned out, that was a shrewd move on Bernie’s part. Some say it was such a bad movie, it was good.

Sylvester Stallone F1 celebrity walks in the F1 paddock

During the production of this movie, I saw quite a lot behind the scenes. For starters, the team had their own garage in Silverstone. When I visited on the Thursday morning, I went to both ends of the paddock looking for their garage but was shocked to see them situated between the Ferrari and Mercedes’ garages, a prime spot in pit lane. Their garage setup was impressive, maybe even better than some of the teams’. It seemed they had all the right equipment.

Joshua Pierce's APX F1 garage played by Damson Idris in Brad Pitt's F1 movie

Did I see a car in the garage at any stage in Silverstone? Only on Thursday when the team offered the media a glimpse of how the garage would be set up. That didn’t happen again over the weekend and during sessions when the cars were on track, F1 photographers and media were asked not to get too close to avoid revealing plot details.

Fictional team APX's F1 car in the APX garage F1 movie behind the scenes

Interestingly, my most popular post of that weekend was simply a photo of the garage with Brad Pitt’s character’s name above it and the car number. Did they have a pit wall crew? Yes, and it was prominently visible and captured on video during various sessions using massive camera rigs.

Sonny Hayes' APX F1 garage played by Brad Pitt in the new F1 Movie

Back to Thursday in the paddock, they had this massive rig with a US $600,000 mechanism at the front near the pit wall. There were pit boards too; Sonny Hayes had his American flag, and a British flag was featured on Joshua Pearce’s.

Sonny Hayes' APX F1 Pit board played by Brad Pitt in the new F1 Movie

What were the track sessions like? Two cars would go out in the first couple of sessions, which I didn’t photograph. They had a lot of camera gear on the cars, and they were loud. They drove around the track alone with crowds in the stands on Friday and Saturday, filming various scenes with the cars running next to each other, behind, and in front. Then, on Sunday, both cars took off from the grid as I mentioned earlier.

Let’s go back to the paddock. Just behind the garage where a team would typically have their engineering motorhome, there was a huge storage area covered by F1 signage. Inside, there was a lot of equipment needed for the movie. Did they have a hospitality motorhome? Yes, it was unmarked and much smaller than everything else in the paddock. It was a noticeable step down from the others but provided a space for the crew to eat and relax during downtime.

Apple F1 movie team APX's hospitality suite in the F1 paddock at the 2023 Silverstone GP

Why Silverstone for their first filming? I thought it was because the pit lane is unique. Most other tracks have narrow pit walls, but Silverstone has plenty of space, allowing them to set up a lot of camera equipment between the track and pit lane. They also had a large crew, easily identifiable by their different bibs clearly marked with APX.

Apx F1 movie crew with custom tabards. F1 movie behind the scenes

I’ve heard that Martin Brundle could even have a cameo role in the movie as a driver Sonny raced against in the past. That’s a clever move on the producer’s part because it would attract a lot of genuine fans eager to see how Martin does in a movie. But honestly, I think every single person in Formula 1 will watch this movie, and a lot of fans will want to see how they portray our sport.

F1 commentator and F1 personality Martin brundle on the Grid walk

What sponsors does the fictional team have? IWC Watches, Expensify, Tommy Hilfiger, Mercedes AMG, MSC Cruisers, Geico Insurance, EA Sports, Pirelli, OMP race suits, and even the FIA has its logo on the front wing.

APX GP race suits in the paddock during F1 movie behind the scenes in Silverstone 2023

Let’s talk about how the other teams are involved in the film. One thing I can tell you is that no team or driver will be depicted as a villain or in a negative light. All the rivalry takes place within the Apx team.

F1 movie behind the scenes film crew in pit lane during the Silverstone GP

How long will we be waiting? Most say it will be released in 2026 but it depends on how production and editing go. Rest assured, though, this is going to be a significant movie for the sport and kudos to the people at F1 who’ve made it happen.

They’ve had to provide the film crew with a lot of access that has never been given to anyone before, and as a result, I think this movie will be stunning. But it’s a Hollywood movie and there will likely be inconsistencies that you and I will notice. However, the average person watching the film probably won’t have any interest in that.

APX GP F1 car in the their F1 garage filming for Brad Pitt's F1 movie

A week after the crew filmed at Silverstone, the Screen Actors Guild strike kicked in, meaning that four of the movie’s actors couldn’t take part: Brad Pitt, Damson Idris, Kerry Condon, and Javier Bardem. However, that didn’t halt production. They shot without those cast members in Hungary, Monza, Las Vegas, and Abu Dhabi and sent smaller crews to the Netherlands and Spa. In Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi, they also showed up for a number of specific shots.

When I say smaller crews, I mean fewer than 50 people. Does that sound like a lot? It’s not. This is a major production and in Silverstone, they had 300 to 400 people on-site, though not all were at the track; most were at a facility nearby.

F1 movie APX GP film crew in the F1 paddock

It’s worth noting that this was the only major studio production to continue shooting during the actors’ strike. The editors still had footage to edit, and some of that footage had to be provided by F1 in a different format suitable for movie screens. The plan was always to return to F1 in 2024 for the production crews, although the strike has meant there is more to film, that would have been the case without the strike.

We’ve already had a small crew in Japan shooting B-roll shots of the crowd to be projected behind the cars in the studio. An elaborate camera rig was set up behind a Porsche Panamera which was driven around the track on the Saturday and Sunday of the 2024 Japanese GP. There will also be big units, along with the cast, at Silverstone, Hungary, and Spa. There will also be shoots in Mexico, Las Vegas, and Abu Dhabi.

In Austin last year, various F1 people and all the drivers saw a short edit of the footage, and the feedback was positive from all. There’s no doubt F1 sees this as a huge opportunity for the sport, produced by some of the biggest names in the entertainment world.

In April 2024, Brad Pitt and the crew were seen filming at the 24 hours of Daytona in Florida late January 2024, using a Porsche 911 fitted with an impressive camera rig, and they were shooting on track at Abu Dhabi in March 2024 with a number of cars.

I can’t wait to see this production hope to snag a seat at the world premiere whenever that takes place.