Wonder Wheels

The 2019 Formula 1 Grand Prix in Austin, Texas

Corndogs, cowboy hats and cheerleaders are not what I remember about Formula 1 through as a wee boy’s distant memories of Scotland in the 70s and 80s. Back then It was just a fizzy drink, crisps from the ice cream van and sat glued to a black n white TV Screen watching Ayrton Senna and Jackie Stewart rule the tracks in less safe cars back then.

Fast forward a lifetime later and I’m asked to shoot the F1 Grand Prix in 2019 at the Circuit of Americas racetrack in Austin Texas, the only purpose-built track in the States to host F1 and motorsports.

The dream assignment;- be a fly on the wall and do a tour thing following the Haas F1 Team superstars as they prepped in the pits, raced, and mingled with fans in the grandstands. I’ve always meant to check out F1 in my adopted town of Austin but this was my opportunity, or way in to be nosey. I knew it’d be fun to document the F1 madness, especially on Halloween, the city’s biggest holiday where they like to ‘Keep Austin Weird’. I’ve been to COTA to shoot the X games and numerous big concerts and knew fully well this one would bring out all the weirdos and die hard sports fans flying their countries colours as well as their freak flags under one big loud white noise revving weekend.

The whole weekend at F1 was actually a pretty fascinating whirlwind and bizarrely stimulating to photograph, as a cast of extraordinary characters and an international mix of everyday fans and royalty melted together to take in F1 right before a Covid-19 lockdown shut it down for 2020.

Full set of images at INSTITUTE.

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