12 Jan 2011

McLAREN-1967 AND 1981

The first image below was taken at the 1967 Guards Trophy sports car race at Brands Hatch and shows Bruce McLaren in earnest discussion with Dan Gurney standing over the latest McLaren. Although the photo is poor quality - it was taken on an Olympus Pen half frame camera and the film was processed by me in less than ideal conditions- it is one of my favourites  .The McLaren is standing in literally- the paddock . No sponsorship on the car because sponsorship was not allowed ,no fancy corporate gear, and no minders and spin doctors  No fancy transporter .Just simple kit and racers getting on with racing .
The second image was taken at the1981 Italian Grand Prix at Monza and shows the McLaren team working on their cars during practice .
A lot had changed in the 14 years . Bruce McLaren had been killed in a testing accident at Goodwood in 1970 but the team he had founded had gone from strength to strength and Emerson Fittapaldi had won the Formula I Driver's Championship in 1974 in a McLaren .
By1981 big business had seriously moved into motor sport and sponsorship had arrived so McLaren had cigarette company and other sponsorship,corporate gear and very professional presentation .Nonetheless it was still a relatively innocent time. No PR hacks ,no minders and although they had impressive transporters they did not have the fleet of massive trucks and motohomes and mobile communications facilities etc,etc which are an integral part of the gear for any Formula 1 team today. I could still get a pit pass and I could talk to the drivers on pitlane and take close ups of the cars .
Rapidly this era passed as Bernie and his money men moved in and formula one became a very decadent entertainment -- a sort of motorised circus .
Fortunately my photography had also become more sophisticated over the 14 years between these two images being taken.The second image was taken on a fullframe Olympus OM2 on Kodachrome .


  1. no doubt, the two illustrate the changes dramatically. must admit the kodachrome and corporate sponsorship make a happy marriage in the second picture, very dramatic. loved the contrast of the two pit-babes in the different pictures. and yes, the older one, taken with less technology and developed under difficult conditions is a hands down winner.

  2. Just great John - keep them coming