The dormant streets of Melbourne’s Albert Park came alive this morning as Daniel Brühl, the actor responsible for portraying Niki Lauda in Ron Howard’s Formula 1 inspired film, RUSH, was treated to an exhilarating ride in a two-seater Minardi F1 car.
Having only touched down in Melbourne yesterday, Brühl took the back seat in the 700 horsepower V10 missile, promptly declaring “Wow, that woke me up – no more jet lag!”
The mild-mannered German took it all in his stride, and appeared well-and-truly accustomed to the high-octane lifestyle offered by Formula One.
The 35-year-old was granted a brief snapshot of the Albert Park Grand Prix circuit after McConville steered the two-seater through pit-lane and onto the main straight, with Brühl describing the experience as “pure adrenaline.”
It was not the first time Brühl has experienced the senseless horsepower of a Formula One car; however the producers of RUSH never afforded him the opportunity to properly drive the historic machines.
“Unfortunately [we] weren’t allowed to drive the Formula One cars which was a bit sad. [The producers were] a little bit more concerned about the cars than of us!” he joked.
As part of his preparation for portraying one of the greatest Formula One drivers in history, Brühl actually spent time with Niki Lauda in order to further gauge the candid personality and manners of the Austrian.
“I’m glad we had a good relationship because he’s very blunt,” said Brühl.
“He’s proud of the movie which was a big relief for me,” he elaborated, after emphasising the fact that honesty would prevail over sympathy in Lauda’s evaluation of the film.
Brühl spoke of further experiences with Lauda in his effort to dissect the intriguing world of Formula One. A highlight was a visit to the actual site of Lauda’s crash at the Nürburgring during the 1976 German Grand Prix.
“I had goosebumps; it was a strange feeling,” he explained describing his visit to the infamous Bergwerk corner that almost claimed the Austrian driver’s life.
Brühl also described Lauda’s emotions after viewing Ron Howard’s recreation of the accident on the big screen.
“To see himself from outside reliving these moments was very tough – he didn’t remember anything of the accident at all.”
A visit to the Brazillian Grand Prix was also invaluable in Brühl’s endeavour to grasp the contrast of modern Formula One compared with the sport almost 40 years ago.
“He (Lauda) took me to Brazil to the Grand Prix three years ago to meet Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg. He also introduced me to formers drivers like Jackie Stewart and Nelson Piquet so that I could see the difference between the rock ’n’ roll guys and the modern drivers now.”
Another venture to Melbourne in the future may also be on the cards for Brühl after he confessed his desire to experience a couple more laps in the Formula One car during the Grand Prix weekend.
“I love it, [I was last] here 10 years ago and love the city,” he said of Melbourne, which plays host to the 2014 Grand Prix season-opener.
“I guess I have to try a few laps with my friend (Cameron McConville),” he added, with reference to the annual Australian Grand Prix held around the streets of Albert Park.
Bruhl will also be in attendance at the Australian Premiere of RUSH at Melbourne’s Crown Entertainment Complex later tonight. The film will open in Australian cinemas on the October 3.
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