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Formula One documentary

TDK-Batmobile-ToyotaRace.jpgI've been desperate for a Formula One film for a long time, a modern day racing film to match the likes of the James Garner led Grand Prix or the Steve McQueen led Le Mans, even though that's not an F1 film, it did capture a lot of the essence of racing.

That may move a little bit further towards fruition as we hear that there's going to be a Formula One documentary, one that looks to the past of the sport, before the days of money, courts and rule bending.

The documentary, unsurprisingly, has the support of the Formula One management including Bernie Ecclestone. I say unsurprisingly because it looks back to the period of the sixties and the seventies when the sport was much more exciting, dangerous, and didn't carry the politics and rule bending that the sport does today - which in my eyes is the far better place to get interesting stories for a feature film.

Still, we've heard of features for F1 before and nothing has come of them. There's been a Bruce McLaren film and the rumour of another Le Mans type film.

Paul Crowder is set to direct the documentary, he has a number of documentaries to his name as an editor, and directed Amazing Journey: The Story of the Who, while Mark Monroe, according to The Hollywood Reporter, is set to write the story. Monroe has worked on a number of documentaries that Crowder has, including writing the Who film he directed, The Cove and The Tillman Story.

Spitfire Documentary Films are behind it and the CEO had this to say about the idea:

"The heyday of Formula One racing was a very different time, when the risks were high and the characters were larger than life."

Indeed. That period of F1 was hugely exciting and carried a great fan base, and it will make for a great documentary. However I still think that heading to current days would make for a superb film, especially with everything going on behind the scenes. A documentary may pave the way to studios turning to a dramatised F1 film though, for it's been a long time since we've seen cameras allowed into the sport for anything other than marketing and advertising or the sport coverage itself.

ScreenDaily has more on the documentary and says that it will examine how safety advocates used its global appeal to lobby for changes. Although that sounds interesting, I don't think that's the great appeal of the sport for the fans, and I'm wondering if that is more a byline that sold the F1 management on the idea than the true focus.

Fans want to see the big names battling it out, the spins, the near misses, the high tension in the pit lane, and the big personalities out front.

Will this F1 film work for you? Could it be a first step towards a feature?



I am personally very excited by this prospect but also a little grievenced as I am a typical struggling writer who has a feature length formula one film sat on my laptop. Fair enough it will need polishing but the basis is there ready to go. I just cannot find anyone who will put into production such a ambitious idea.

Hi Carly.

I think you'll find there are three things that stand in the way of a good Formula 1 film.

Atmosphere: Capturing the real essence of racing will be difficult to do.

Money: Getting the cars, the tracks, the drivers involved is going to be a mammoth task. Knowing something about the film Grand Prix it was difficult enough back then to convince the teams to take part, but with today's multi-million dollar business in F1, the problems are multiplied.

FIA, Bernie Ecclestone and the politics: I think any great F1 film will have to look at the politics and the rivalries of teams as well as the drivers. In F1 nowadays what goes on off track, in the press, in the closed door meetings, and in the courts, is as much part of the experience as anything else.

Huge production issues already and that's before your script is seen.

Of course the answer would be to pitch it to Ecclestone and the FIA, to get them on board thinking about the advertising returns, the exposure to new audience numbers, and giving them some control and return on investment.


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