One photographic ambition I have yet to fulfil is to shoot a Formula 1 meeting as a proper accredited photographer. I’ve attended Formula 1 meetings at Silverstone and at Spa-Francorchamps, and test days at Silverstone, but purely as a spectator, with the limited access for photography that this gives.
Getting accreditation for Formula One is a very complicated process, and requires the backing of a major newspaper, magazine or website, but if anyone is in a position to assist, please let me know!
I’ve watched Formula One since the early 1980’s, my favourites were the Lotus cars in the famous black and gold JPS livery, before growing up through the Prost / Senna rivalry and the Schumacher era. Teams and drivers have come and gone, as have circuits, but there is still something that F1 gives, that I don’t get from watching Indycars or NASCAR. I lived a few miles away from the Lotus Cars factory at Hethel, and you can hear the howl of a single seater engine from several miles away. We’d get on our bikes and pedal to Potash Lane, and peek through knot holes in the fence, watching for a car to flash by followed by an ear piercing scream from the engine.
Since those early days the cars have changed dramatically as well, gone are the turbo engines, through the normally aspirated era, although turbos will be back next year. Manual gearboxes have come and been replaced with semi-automatics, aluminium and fibreglass have been replaced with carbon fibre and titanium, and refuelling has been and gone.
The cars have changed dramatically as well, from the turbo engines of the 1980’s to the modern V8’s, next year will see turbocharging back with the new small capacity V6’s. I’ve spoken to photographers and journalists who have regailed me with stories from the ‘old days’ as well as people who have posed as press and got admission – this sort of thing would be unthinkable now.
Sebastian Vettel is almost certain to be crowned F1 Drivers Championship for the fourth consequtive year, yet people seem to be unaware that we are witnessing one of the great drivers. In fact William Hill Formula 1 betting is currently offering odds of 10/3 for Vettel to win the remaining races of 2013, or 11/10 for Mercedes to claim 2nd in the constructors championship – 5/4 for Ferrari and 4/1 for Lotus. Which of those teams will succeed? Will Lotus finish the season in the style it began the season with a win in the revised longer wheelbase car, Romain Grosjean has been very impressive in the second half of the year, eclipsing his team mate Kimi Raikkonen who is off to Ferrari at the end of the year, whilst you cannot discount Fernando Alonso who gets the most from his Ferrari. Nor can you discount the duo of Lewis Hamilton or Nico Rosberg, both have won races this year and will want to finish this season on a high.
Whilst I’m on a gambling theme, who would have thought Daniil Kvyat would secure the vacant Toro Rosso seat? Daniel Ricciardo has moved from the Red Bull junior F1 team to the senior squad following Mark Webbers move to sportscars. It was widely assumed that Antonio Felix da Costa from Portugal was almost certain of securing the seat, despite an unlucky season. He impressed in the F1 young driver test earlier in the year. Spain’s Carlos Sainz Jnr was also in the running, but it was Russia’s Kvyat who has got the drive. Kvyat has European F3 experience and GP3 experience but has leap-frogged the traditional GP2 or World Series by Renault stepping stone.