The best movies have an element of truth in them because it keeps the plot from becoming ridiculously unrealistic, a la “Drivel.”
One of the problems with Driven (I’ll only touch on this one, because it would be too exhausting to state them all) is that it was set in the same time period as the movie was released. If you used real people as the basis, you couldn’t have a conclusion to the movie as the story is incomplete at the time. So you have to make up fictional characters that only bear a passing resemblance to racing drivers, so there’s little chance for the audience to connect.
This movie has the potential to be quite powerful. That season, starting with the building rivalry between Hunt and Lauda, that crash, his recovery (with bits interspersed of Hunt closing the gap) and comeback and the decision to withdraw from the Japanese GP and hand the championship to Hunt. The movie could end with Lauda pulling out of the pits at the first race of 1977 and fading to black saying “Niki Lauda went on to win the World Championship in 1977 and 1984.”
The nostalgia value and the details could be a highlight as well. Seeing and hearing the cars (albeit reproductions or CGI) racing around all those old tracks would be epic. A look into the culture in the pits of the time also be a plus, as well as showing James Hunt’s hedonistic lifestyle.
Ron Howard and Peter Morgan are good at the whole historical thing, Apollo 13, The Queen, Frost/Nixon are all great. I hope this turns out to be good.