“Hope They Don’t Ruin”: Lando Norris Disses Brad Pitt’s $140,000,000 Worth Ambitious Dream Only Hours After Calling It Cool

Published 07/06/2023, 11:19 AM EDT

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Formula 1 is no stranger to having film crews in the paddock and on the sidelines during race weekends because, for the past six seasons, Netflix has had a crew on track almost every race weekend to film footage for its hit series Drive to Survive. But this time out at the British GP, there’ll be more than one crew present on the track. How come? Hollywood star Brad Pitt is commencing the filming of his $140 million F1-inspired film “Apex” at Silverstone, and the FIA has given him and his crew the green light to shoot in the midst of the race weekend. Weird, right?

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According to Sky Sports, “The fictional Apex team, for whom Pitt will drive in the movie, have been given a garage in the Silverstone pit lane, between Mercedes and Ferrari, to support filming throughout the weekend.” Apart from giving the crew garage privileges, the FIA has also given Pitt free rein to shoot during the installation lap. And drivers aren’t happy about it.

Lando Norris isn’t pleased about FIA’s decision

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Being part of a movie or series always seems interesting. Lando Norris would know because he’s one of the stars of Drive to Survive. So when he heard about Brad Pitt’s F1-inspired film, he thought it was cool. On a recent episode of Beyond The Grid, he said, “You got Brad Pitt and the stars who are in it. It’s very cool to be a part of that, especially if you’re to be watching it in 20, 30, 40, 50 years.”

But according to Autosport, after FIA announced that Pitt’s crew would be on track filming the star drive his F2-turned-F1 car among the 20 F1 drivers during the installation lap, Norris wasn’t happy about it. He said, “I’ve heard they’ll [APXGP] be joining us on the installation lap [on Sunday]. I just hope they don’t ruin that…”

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What’s so important about an installation lap, and how could Pitt ruin it? The installation lap occurs right before the formation lap. It allows drivers to ensure all their systems are functioning properly, familiarizing themselves with the track conditions and checking the pressure and temperature of their tires. Pitt, who isn’t a certified F1 (or even F2) driver, would be driving with them on track, and if something goes wrong, it’ll directly affect the proceedings of the race weekend.

Apart from giving Pitt’s crew the green light to shoot during the installation lap before the race, it has also given them more filming privileges post the race weekend which could have dangerous consequences. 

The FIA is treading on thin ice

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Starting this year, the FIA banned tire warmers on wet-weather tires. Warmers are crucial to tires going through their heat cycle and getting them up to temperature. If tires aren’t at the right temperature, cars tend to slide on the track, which could lead to accidents. Despite knowing the consequences, the FIA has also proposed banning these warmers for slick tires from 2024. Although this will be put to a vote this weekend, Pirelli is conducting a test without the warmers after the weekend. And guess what? The FIA has given Brad Pitt the go for driving during the test too.

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One can only imagine what could happen. F1 drivers themselves find it hard to drive when their tires aren’t up to temperature. This begs the question: how will Pitt be able to manage himself on track, and how did FIA even approve this?

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Has FIA ruined the sanctity of the installation lap and a race weekend by allowing an amateur driver on track, for the lack of a better word, especially for non-sporting reasons?

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Written by:

Aditi Krishnan

757Articles

One take at a time

Aditi is an F1 writer at EssentiallySports and is essentially a sportsperson. She fell in love with F1 in 2020. It happened when her brother tuned into that first race weekend in Austria, and she knew right then and there that she had to learn everything she could about the sport.
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Edited by:

Aishwary Gaonkar

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