Keanu Reeves embraces Formula 1 docu-series on transformative 2009 season

Disney already has a firm grip on the race, having won the right to continue showing Grand Prix action starring Max Verstappen until 2025. Now the media conglomerate is tackling Netflix’s Formula 1 terrain by greenlighting a sports docudrama series and enlisting a Hollywood “A-list” name.

In fact, it’s one of many projects that will further raise F1’s profile.

Keanu Reeves makes game-changing F1 docudrama about 2009 season

Actor Keanu Reeves introduces ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ during Lionsgate’s exclusive presentation at Caesars Palace during CinemaCon 2022. | Greg Doherty/Getty Images

Actor Keanu Reeves began preparations to host a four-part documentary series on the 2009 Formula 1 season, Variety reported. The series is set to premiere on Disney+ in 2023, though company officials declined to confirm details.

The focus seems to be on Formula 1 chief executive Ross Brawn’s astonishing turnaround from the old Honda team. Brawn bought it in 2009, renamed the organization Brawn Mercedes and achieved instant success. Led by World Drivers’ Champion Jenson Button and third-placed Ruberns Battichello, the Brawn team won the 2009 Constructors’ Championship.

Variety’s report says Reeves has lined up attendance from key team figures and former Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo. The actor attended the British Grand Prix this month at Silverstone.

Reeves said he became interested in the project after hearing stories from a friend who worked for Brawn that momentous season.

“It was really great to be able to find out more about what happened in Formula 1 that year,” said Reeves. “It wasn’t just the cars, the new regulations, the FOTA (Formula 1 Teams Association), the breakaway series. I mean, there was so much going on in Formula 1 at that time.

Netflix and the big races have made Formula 1 a must-watch

Formula 1 is experiencing a resurgence in popularity soon after US company Liberty Media bought the assets after the 2016 season and launched a strategy to pursue a new, younger generation of fans. The action on tracks around the world reached its peak last season when Mercedes’ four-time defending champion Lewis Hamilton surrendered his title to Red Bull sensation Max Verstappen.

The Formula 1: drive to survive series on Netflix introduced F1 to a new audience. Recently, Apple Studios signed a Formula 1 film on which Brad Pitt, John Krasinski and Jerry Bruckheimer are collaborating. Variety reported that a series about former Formula 1 czar Bernie Ecclestone is also planned, and an Italian studio is working on a project about the first female driver.

All of that effort will benefit Disney-owned ESPN, which recently won a battle to retain the rights to broadcast the race until 2025, but at a significantly higher price than it paid.

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