Today was day 3 of the second week of F1 testing and the weather gods smiled with clear skies and lots of sun. I arrived around 10am and did a garage tour with Red Bull. Seven of us were ushered into the garage where the 2017 car had just returned from a stint on the track with Daniel Ricciardo behind the wheel. What I love about these tours is being able to listen to the team radio through headsets. The race engineer tells the driver what to focus on while the driver provides the feedback to the engineer.
Following that I headed off to try some more slow shutter speed panning shots and thought this was the best of them. At present I get a keeper one in every 100 or so. A keeper is one where the driver’s helmet is sharp.
Afternoon practice came to a halt while the Lotus of Jolyen Palmer was transported back to the garage on a lorry. Before it was lifted though, the Lotus mechanics rushed out to the car to cover it with a cloth so prying eyes did not learn any secrets.
This happened at turn 10 where cars hit over 300km/hr and then brake hard to get around a hairpin. I set up on the fence there and used a very short shutter speed (1/8000th/sec) to freeze the vehicle in shot. I used a polariser which deepened the blues and greens in the shot.
As media, I am allowed to photograph from the service road that runs on both the inside and outside of the race track while the public has to shoot through over a mesh fence. In the late afternoon I headed to the pit lane entry road and was able to photograph the cars as they rounded the bend coming into the pits. The cars were doing about 130kms/hr and I was able to safely position myself just 3 metres from them as they thundered past. It frightens the hell out of you every time, you can even feel the wind being sucked along behind the cars.
Tomorrow I’ll be mounting a camera quite low and set it off with a remote shutter which should provide better images than this one which is still a passable photo.
The pit lane closes at 6pm and that’s when the activity starts in the paddock (the area behind the garages). Most teams wheel out a driver to serve up a few quotes for the media which provides a good opportunity for up-close photographs. Tonight Daniel Ricciardo addressed the Italian media in Italian and although he needed prompting for a couple of Italian words, I’m sure the Italian audience would have lapped it up.
The amiable Jolyon Palmer (below) described his frustrating day in his press conference.
With testing there are only 10 cars in action but the action goes all day, with the exception of an hour in the middle of the day for lunch. It’s a long day of photography compared to a typical race weekend when there are normally only two x 90 min sessions of cars on the track.
I’m looking forward to photographing in Melbourne on the last weekend of the month and have certainly appreciated the time spent here in honing my skills.