Formula One pre-season testing is the climax of a secret spy war between the 11 teams on the grid. With mere days until the Australian Grand Prix, teams are still trying to figure out their cars. What is working? what isn’t….but most importantly, why? And of course, always keeping a watchful eye (or lens) on their rivals.
The cold war mentality is well and truly alive in the Formula One pitlane. Mechanics taking secret photos of rival car’s suspension and aero work. Teams using any and all means to make it “hard” for photographers to capture what parts the car has on it by closing us out of garages with canvas screens, and tactics never seen before, to keep us all from capturing any extended views of the car. It’s madness really. Almost comical. Certainly annoying. But at the same time, it really is interesting.
You can’t make Formula one something it isn’t. It will never be a “stock car” series where everyone gets a kit to use, and you can only push the boundary so far. Instead, F1 has a book of rules, many pages deep, that can be, will be, and always have been interpreted with some amount of “how can we exploit this in a way that takes advantage of a loop hole?” It is what it is. Teams spend insane amounts of money making cars go faster tenth by tenth. Hundredth by hundredth. They add wing parts, curves, and suspension pieces that might make it marginally faster. but that marginally can add up to millions of dollars lost, or earned at the end of the year. On an F1 car, nothing is designed by accident.
Enjoy some of my favorite images from the final Barcelona pre-season tests in 2013.
MANY THANKS to James, Russ, Drew, George, Keith, and the friendly and helpful staff at Circuit de Catalunya. And of course and all the rest of the amazing people in the F1 paddock who I am lucky to call friends, and who always made it an enjoyable day on the job.
All images © Jamey Price/James Moy Photography 2013