Academy Award winning director Ron Howard’s upcoming movie Rush takes a look at the career of three-time Formula 1 World Champion Niki Lauda and his rivalry with late World Champion James Hunt. The movie has been creating a good amount of buzz online considering that it is still two months away from its September 27 release date. That release date is just over a month before the second running of the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas and the combination of a huge Hollywood movie and the GP could help further accelerate the popularity of F1 in America.
Hunt, played by Chris Hemsworth, had multiple memorable battles with Lauda, portrayed by Daniel Bruhl, during the 1976 season and it reached a peak at the German Grand Prix when Lauda nearly died in a fiery crash. The Austrian would return two races later at the Japanese Grand Prix to try and maintain his lead in the points which Hunt had narrowed down during Lauda’s time away. Lauda was unable to finish the race due to the burns he sustained in Germany and Hunt would overcome a puncture to finish with just enough point to steal the World Championship.
Lauda and Hunt’s rivalry was one of the most intense in Formula 1 history and a film showcasing their clashes during the golden age of F1 is perfect for getting Americans amped up about the sport. Movies feed people’s passion for a sport, even if they have never really been interested in it before. Who hasn’t left the theater after a Rocky flick and wanted to climb into the ring? That affect could bring US racing fans around to the idea that right turns aren’t such a bad thing after all.
If F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone can partner up with Universal, which I’m sure he is planning to do since Howard has been attending races on a regular basis, then the film can be used to build up the US Grand Prix and Formula One as a whole in the United States. I have no doubt that Bernie has been scheming on how to make the most of this movie for some time now.
With the future of a second possible US race seemingly stuck in permanent purgatory, Rush could be the best opportunity to grow F1 in America if properly used to promote the US Grand Prix.