Very exciting!

An officially-sanctioned F1 movie will hit the cinemas early next year after a deal was secured with F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone.

Preparations have already started for the film, which is said to be an action documentary plotting the sport’s history, especially focusing on the period between 1968 and 1982.

It is hoped production for the film can be completed this year with a release date earmarked for early 2011.

Grand Prix Film Poster

The film will be produced by Hollywood’s Michael Shevloff, and is being worked on in conjunction with the partnership of Oscar winners writer Mark Monroe writer and director Paul Crowder director. Monroe and Crowder won as Oscar last week for their recent documentary The Cove.

Monroe hoped the F1 movie would appeal to both casual fans and die-hard enthusiasts as it traces the sport’s history and development.

"My partners and I really believe that documentaries can be entertaining and engaging – not just reporting facts," he told AUTOSPORT.

"We want to make a big action movie – do something that puts people in the car and makes them gasp at the speed of the thing. Then, tell the human stories all the while, so you can dip in and out of these human stories with these big action moments that are enhanced from archive footage.

"We will do it with music, flare and energy – and get people excited about it. We have to hit the right tone so the proper fans don’t think it is rubbish, but also make it broad enough so that someone who doesn’t know anything about the sport can really enjoy it.

"That is the task and it is a tough one – but it can be done."

The last proper Formula 1 movie was John Frankenheimer’s brilliant Grand Prix (1966, poster shown above).

Driven Poster Subsequent plans for F1-based movies have typically failed. Sylvester Stallone made an approach to Formula One Management to secure the rights to a Formula 1 based film in 1997, but abandoned the project and instead went on to make the execrable Driven.

Shevloff’s belief is that the film will harness greater success with a documentary approach, as opposed to using a fictional story.

"It is a tough order to make a dramatic film about a dramatic sport," he explained.

"To make a film and say we will spend $100M or $200M on this movie – well Bernie would just reply and say the teams spend a billion dollars on the sport.

"It is bigger in real life than you could ever make in a film, so a documentary is a much better form for this. [Formula 1] is so huge that if you put it in a movie, the whole thing would seem contrived."

The so-far unnamed film will have its main focus on the period succeeding Jim Clark’s death at Hockenheim in 1968 and preceding Gilles Villeneuve’s fatal crash at Zolder in 1982.

"We don’t have a title. We are still looking at titles – and it is the last thing on our plate at the moment," Shevloff said.

“We need to find something that is a film rather than a documentary title – we are intent on making people see it as a film."

Can anyone out there suggest an appropriate title?

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.