Hot Shots: 99 Fascinating Images from the World of Formula 1

In some cases, pictures tell a thousand words, and this is the case regarding the images you’re about to see from the world of Formula 1. From Ayrton Senna’s arrival into Formula 1, Nigel Mansell’s exhaustion and a pile-up at the 1950 Monaco Grand Prix, here are some the best images of Formula 1 history.


One of the most celebrated Formula One photographers is Rainer W. Schlegelmilch, who first attended a Formula One weekend with a camera in 1962. He was able to capture drivers off-guard behind the scenes, and at a time when there was less regulation on where photographers could position themselves, was able to pull off some incredible shots. In an interview with a German publication, he describes the most dangerous moment of his life as an F1 photographer.

“The most dangerous moment of my life was Jerez 1990. Martin Donelly raced in the Lotus toward me, I stood behind a guardrail. The car broke apart after the impact, but the guardrail stopped. Dust and dirt whirled around me, but nothing happened to me. With shaky hands I changed the lens, I thought quite instinctively, I must now photograph. Donnelly, lying on the seat, was lying on the street. With 26 bone fractures. But he has survived, and I too. There was also a young photographer who had photographed at the time for two years. She stood at the Hockenheimring and turned to her photo bag. There was a Porsche crashing out – and she was paralyzed. A year later she committed suicide, she could not stand it anymore.”

– Rainer W. Schlegelmilch

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It is an irony that a man who witnessed death in the 60’s and 70’s had his closest call in 1990, when driver safety had much improved, even if the danger factor remained.

Today, Formula One and Motorsport in general provides a challenging platform for the photographer, moments can happen in a fraction of a second. But Formula One cars remain one of the most aesthetically pleasing subjects to face the lens in the wider world of sport too. Check you shutter speed and warm your neck up before going out and having a go.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 24: Sparks fly behind Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Red Bull Racing Red Bull-TAG Heuer RB13 TAG Heuer on track during practice for the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park on March 24, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 24: Sparks fly behind Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Red Bull Racing Red Bull-TAG Heuer RB13 TAG Heuer on track during practice for the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park on March 24, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Mark Sutton, one of Formula One’s current photographers told us that there is one clear winner when it comes to which circuit delivers the most eye-catching images. He said,

“Monaco is still my favourite, although this has changed due to safety through the years with more barriers and fences blocking what were great positions and clean images. It still holds many memories of my 1st year in 1992 with the battle between Mansell & Senna.

It’s the fact you can still get close to the F1 cars intact on some corners touch them if you wanted to – and then the backgrounds of the med ocean and historic buildings, the track is so narrow. It’s an incredible sight at the start, the power, the roar and spectacular sight of the entire grid trying to fit through a narrow street for the start is awesome.”

– Mark Sutton

NIGEL MANSELL IN WILLIAMS RENAULT (CAR ON KURB) (Photo by Steve Etherington/EMPICS via Getty Images)
NIGEL MANSELL IN WILLIAMS RENAULT (CAR ON KURB) (Photo by Steve Etherington/EMPICS via Getty Images)

Formula 1 cars, and the buzz in atmosphere that they create continues to provide photographers with not only a challenge in finding that perfect shot, but also an opportunity to capture something extraordinary and striking.

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