Over the past few years, I think it’s safe to say that F1, my first love in car racing, has lost that “fever” and passion that it used to have. In part thanks to hideously ugly cars, processional races of fuel and tire saving in the name of the dreaded word of relevance, and a lack of sound to at least antagonize one of my body’s senses. F1 needed a good shake up.
So, standing trackside at Barcelona’s circuit at 8:59am, I waited for the first view of the 2017 cars. I was shooting at the very very fast turn 9, a right hander that has traditionally been a corner that is a good indicator of a car’s performance. Out they came one by one. Renault first followed by Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari, they all filed out for their opening laps. One lap later, the Mercedes driven by Valtteri Bottas is being hustled through the corner like a demon possessed. It’s been a long long time since I’ve been wowed by an F1 car, but that bright sunny morning, I was once again wowed. During a brief break in the running, I started chatting to an FOM cameraman who was not far away. We both noted how much quicker the cars are. How it was physically more challenging to pan our cameras with them because the cornering speeds are so significantly increased. These machines are f%&king fast. And over the next two weeks of testing, they only got faster, and faster, and faster.
Much has already been written by internet armchair journalists who have commented on how F1 will continue to be boring. I respectfully hear their opinion, but I don’t personally agree with it. Until you have seen the new cars in the flesh, seen their wide fat rear tires, sexy low rear wings, sleek curves and edges, and seen the immense speed that the cars are carrying through corners, do please try to remain open minded.
During the final minutes of testing on March 9, I watched Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton run nose to tail for several laps (see final two photos in this gallery). Lewis finally put a brave move on Max into turn 1 up the Red Bull’s inside. This was as exciting of a race as I’ve seen in F1, and they weren’t even racing, but you could tell the two drivers were giving it their all. Max was certainly not going to move out of the way, and Hamilton wasn’t going to ask for it to be easy.
Passing may be harder, but why shouldn’t it be? These drivers should have to work for a position gained and the crowd should be enthralled and cheer for it when it happens! F1 may not have fixed all of it’s problems, but we are 8 days into the F1 season, and I haven’t been this excited to watch a championship unfold in a long long time.
Thanks, as always to James, Russ, Laurent, James, Road and Track, Circuit de Catalunya, LEXAR and Tenba for their continued support. If you would like to license high resolution images for editorial use or to see more of my work, please visit my website www.jameypricephoto.com and follow me on Instagram @jameypricephoto