How to make your sports documentary stand out when it seems like every week there’s a new program highlighting an incredible achievement? That’s what Disney had to consider when approaching a production like Brawn: The Impossible Story of Formula 1.
Disney’s new four-episode series revolves around a racing team emerging from obscurity to compete for the sport’s ultimate prize. And if that wasn’t enough to convince you, Keanu Reeves is its host.
Reeves, emerging from the shadows at the start of each episode, is a captivating presence that adds intrigue without overshadowing the telling of the impossible title story.
What is Disney’s F1 documentary about?
In the 2009 Formula One season, the Honda team, lacking support, was set to be led by pit boss Ross Brawn and CEO Nick Fry.
However, their participation was threatened when, following the global financial crash, Honda abandoned its F1 operation. Brawn and Fry purchased the team for one British pound and emerged as Brawn GP.
Brawn GP operated on a minuscule budget compared to their top-tier rivals. Yet, as soon as the qualifying for the first race of 2009 began, McLaren, Ferrari, and the rest noticed something was afoot.
Thanks to clever aerodynamic innovation, the “double diffuser,” the Brawn car was the fastest on the track. Jenson Button, Brawn GP’s driver, won the race and then five of the following six.
Madness ensued as a team that had been an outsider became the title favorite that other teams aimed to beat, attempting to do so by claiming that the double diffuser breached the sporting regulations. Meanwhile, Brawn GP lived day-to-day, constantly battling to secure anything resembling the sponsorship funds of other teams.
It’s presumed that Reeves’ hiring as a presenter aims to attract viewers who aren’t F1 fans, but it’s likely that only F1 enthusiasts would be interested in the intricacies of how Brawn GP rose to the top, and the amount of money in F1 makes it hard to buy into Brawn’s ascent as the valiant underdog triumph the series tries to sell.
Yes, they won against all odds, but in F1 terms, that means they didn’t have as many millions of pounds as the others.
So, Reeves is there to humanize the story. He has numerous endearing habits that most interviewers would consider unprofessional but not offensive.
If an interviewee says something slightly controversial, he covers his mouth with his hand, like a primary school child. It’s really worth taking a look at the documentary, honestly.