The 1976 Formula 1 championship rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda has been making headlines once again with the release of blockbuster film Rush, which is based on the season. Reporter James Preston talks to Hunt's former team manager at McLaren and Maidenhead resident, Alastair Caldwell, about consulting on the film and making his mark on history.
Watching motor racing blockbuster Rush was a strange experience for Alastair Caldwell.
Producers will be hoping audiences will be thrilled by the tale of the rivalry between drivers James Hunt (played by Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) in the 1976 Formula 1 season - but central Maidenhead resident Alastair lived it.
In 1976, playboy racer Hunt was driving for the McLaren team and Alastair was his team manager in a small but dedicated group of mechanics and technicians based in Colnbrook.
Nearly 40 years later, Alastair's knowledge and experience led to him being invited along to the set of the Ron Howard-directed film, released this week, to offer advice to help ensure the production remained as true to the era as possible.
He even appears in the film, both in person and as a character, by taking on a small cameo as a race official and being portrayed by actor Stephen Mangan, who Alastair joked 'doesn't look at all like me'.
Alastair, who has lived in Maidenhead since the late sixties, admitted his advice was sometimes heeded and sometimes was not (he was reminded the film was not a documentary) but was left impressed with a film he hoped 'would bring the era to life'.
"The movie is very good but it's very difficult for me to see it from an ordinary person's viewpoint because I was so involved in the era. It's my life," said Alastair.
"I still shout at the screen and say 'it wasn't like that'."
For the full interview and more pictures, pick up a copy of tomorrow’s Advertiser.
Watch a trailer for Rush, which is due out in cinemas on Friday, below:
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