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“I have to do WHAT??” - 2012 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix

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  • “I have to do WHAT??” - 2012 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix

    Note: There are 152 (ONE HUNDRED FIFTY TWO) photos in this thread. Allocate ample of time to let the pictures load and read the essay. And yep, I’m a little late in getting the essay out. You’ll find out why at the end of the essay.

    Shots were taken on a Nikon D300. A few photos are from my iPhone 4 though.


    __________________________________________________ _______________________________

    “I have to do WHAT??..”

    That was the thought that came across my mind when Chief Photographer for SIC told me the task I had to do for him when we met up two weeks before the greatest show on earth was to decent onto Sepang, Malaysia.

    You see, he told me that I had to organise and schedule other photographers to cover all the events and sub events around the circuit for the four days we will be at SIC. Be it at the trackside or the grandstand areas. All of the events and all of the photographers in the team, including him!

    I sat stunned, letting the idea sink into me while he briefed another fellow on his task. The three of us were meeting to discuss our roles for the 2012 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix.

    Let’s see… I went from sneaking to the trackside to shoot Friday practice in 2010 to scheduling and coordinating other team members in 2012.

    Whoa…

    Yes, it was that time of the year again. The time of the year that gets me very, very excited.

    #1. The time of the year where these six guys and eighteen other ‘brothers’ come and wreck havoc at SIC. Three world champions on the front row. Michael Schumacher, Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso. Amazing…


    Usually this time of the year I’m inaccessible. Inaccessible to my staff at work, to my friends and to my family. I devote almost 100% to Formula 1 when they come. I even had to skip a family member’s wedding! But this year it was a little different.

    My wife, who told me I was INSANE last year, is expecting our third spawn. By end of March she was already 8 months pregnant. So I had to be accessible to her should any emergencies turn up. I was praying to god that our third spawn would stay comfortably and peacefully in his mummy’s tummy during the weekend and not surprise us with an early arrival. Thankfully, he did. Phew…

    I went home after the meeting in a daze. I was stumped for a good few days. Unable to start the schedule, I slept on it for a few days. I ignored it for as long as I could. As it got closer to the second meeting with everyone else, I finally accepted the inevitable. I fired up my spreadsheet and began creating the schedule and placed photographers at the right location at the right time. It was far from perfect by the time we had our meeting but it was workable.

    I tweaked it everyday after the second meeting with input from the others and finally got a good working schedule that allowed everyone time at the track and grandstand with a few other photographers as back ups for each event and sub events. I allocated time to rest for some while the others are on track shooting. There was time for everyone to eat. The schedule also gave everyone variety of things to shoot.

    With the schedule in our hands, we were ready.
    Last edited by Exarkun; 26-04-2012, 09:10 AM.

  • #2
    Re: “I have to do WHAT??” - 2012 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix

    WEDNESDAY 21st March 2012

    Most of the team did not have to be at the track on Wednesday. Some of us had to though. We were to collect the media passes from FIA, set up our table for the rest of the team members and sort out other issues. We were also to take pictures of the teams setting up the garages and paddock area.

    After settling a few things at work I drove straight to SIC with my gears all safely stored in the boot of my car. After collecting the passes for myself and the rest of the team, I ventured down to the pit lane to capture some setting up scenes.

    #2. Everyone busy setting up.



    #3. The Mercedes Benz SLS AMG being cleaned.



    #4. Red Bull Racing covered their garages with screens for privacy. Managed to sneak this shot through the gaps though.



    #5. “Now what was I supposed to do again??”



    #6. Most of the crates arrived straight from Australia on Tuesday morning.



    #7. HRT Formula 1 Team F112 being assembled.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: “I have to do WHAT??” - 2012 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix

      #8.



      #9. “It was sooooo funny!! Hahahaha!!”



      #10. The ugly stepped nose of the Ferrari F2012.



      Technical regulations for 2012 include the re-profiling of the car's nose. The pre-2012 regulations allow the nose to be as high as 62.5 centimetres above ground, but the revisions to the sporting code lower the maximum allowable height to 55 centimetres 150mm ahead of the front bulkhead. This resulted in cars being launched with a "platypus" nose, as teams designed cars with a visible change in height along the nose assembly of the car.

      It also resulted in one of the ugliest looking Formula 1 cars in recent history. Most teams used the stepped nose with only McLaren and Marussia being the exceptions.

      I was concerned that I’ll get put off shooting the cars this year with that nose on almost all the cars but as the days went by, it became not that noticeable and by race day I kind of forgotten about them and shot the cars happily.

      After what I gauged a healthy amount of photos of the teams setting up, I ventured back up to the Media Centre and started packing up to go home. I did have to pick up my 5 year old from school.

      Shot a few more photos on the way up to the Media Centre.


      #11. “You want lobster? I got lobster for you!” Pirelli crew messing around with a live lobster.



      #12. Ferrari crew unpacking what seems to be a floor cleaner.
      Last edited by Exarkun; 26-04-2012, 09:24 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: “I have to do WHAT??” - 2012 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix

        #13. Allianz logo being painted.



        #14. McLaren being McLaren. They have a template of their car that can be used to draw the pit stop area lines!! Talk about being detailed!



        With that shot of the McLaren crew painting the pit box lines, I packed up my gears, said goodbye to the rest of the team who were there and headed home.

        On the way, my mind was already thinking about the days ahead. Can the schedule be followed? Would it be too hectic for the rest? Did they have enough time to rest between events? How about lunch breaks? Did the time I allocated for them be enough?

        All this was running through my mind when I heard a loud CRACK!

        #15. SONAVAB*TCH!!! An errant rock struck my car windshield and left THAT! Right in my line-of-sight.



        Had it struck elsewhere I could have ignored it and just tend to it after the weekend was over but since it was right in front of me, it got distracting. Luckily I knew a glass repair shop near my home. So I made a detour and had them have a look at it.


        #16. An hour later, this is what’s left of the crack. Not a perfect solution but better than staring at that bulls eye for the rest of the week.



        To be continued...

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: “I have to do WHAT??” - 2012 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix

          THURSDAY 22nd March 2012.

          I woke up early on Thursday. In fact, from the scheduled I planned, everyone had to be at the circuit by 0900. That goes for the rest of the days all the way to Sunday (except on Friday where we had to arrive by 0800). We were required to be early to catch the drivers arriving at the track.

          Thursday was a relatively quiet day. There won’t be any on-track action, except for the FIA Safety Car and Medical Car track inspection later that day.

          It was still quite empty when I reached SIC. I trekked to the Media Centre and pulled out all my gears and checked them. The batteries were fully charged and the memory cards all empty, ready for action. I applied sun block on myself and strapped on my Think Tank system and plonked all my gears in them.

          I had a ‘secret mission’ that day besides getting shots of drivers arriving. Ahem. With a fellow team member, we positioned ourselves in front of the paddock entrance and waited. I knew from my last year’s experience the drivers would only arrive from 1100 onwards.

          #17. You know you’re in Sepang International Circuit when there’s a big palm tree right in the middle of the paddock.



          #18. Last years’ Virgin Racing driver and now Lotus F1 Team reserve driver Jerome d’Ambrosio arriving.



          #19. Nico Hulkenberg of Sahara Force India F1 Team.



          After shooting a few drivers arriving, I received a call from my brother. He reported that he saw Sebastian Vettel left his hotel in the city near his office and is on the way to the track.

          That’s when I got excited. My ‘secret mission’ was about to be start.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: “I have to do WHAT??” - 2012 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix

            #20. 2010 and 2011 Formula 1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull Racing.



            As soon as he cleared the gates and I got photos of him, I ran to him and asked him, “Sebastian, can you sign this for me?”

            #21. I thrusted my 1:18 scale Minichamp model of his 2010 Red Bull RB6 into his hands and grinned broadly. He looked at me, smiled and took the silver pen I had with me and promptly signed it. YES!! I got it!! (This was taken by fellow team member, Thananuwat Srirasant. Thank you!)



            “Anything else?” he asked.
            “Nope, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!!” I replied.

            With that, he grinned and headed for Red Bull hospitality suite. I was literally jumping up and down and dancing at the entrance. Some of the other media approached me to see the signed model car. One Italian media even shot me on video with the car. I might have appeared on Italian TV.

            #22. The signed Red Bull Racing RB6.



            A team member wanted to go back up to the Media Centre after I got the RB6 signed so I told him to bring the car up to my desk and leave it there as it was starting to drizzle and I didn’t want to get the model damaged.

            #23. Seven times World Champion Michael Schumacher. I wanted to bring a few of his winning Ferraris for him to sign but I’m not too sure if he would now that he’s with Mercedes GP. So I didn’t. Maybe next year if he’s still racing then.



            Then it began to rain heavily. Everyone scrambled to find shelter. I took refuge near McLaren hospitality unit and put my stuff down on a table and waited.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: “I have to do WHAT??” - 2012 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix

              #24. Even though it was raining heavily, I had to take this when she passed by. (There’s a picture of me taking this photo in one of Autosports online article.)



              Before long the rain reduced to a drizzle again and everyone went back to work.

              #25. Felipe Massa of Scuderia Ferrari arriving with his dad.



              #26. Nick Fry of Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team



              I decided to move closer to the entrance to get a better view of the drivers as they come in. I also had to spot one more person for my ‘secret mission’.

              And then there he was.

              #27. Jenson Button, 2009 Formula 1 World Champion.



              After getting the above shot, I approached him and showed him my 1:18 scale Minichamp of his Brawn GP BGP 001. I was anxious and expected him not to sign it since he’s with McLaren now but he gave me a whistle and big grin.

              #28.“Where do you want it? On the car or on the base?” he asked. (Shot by fellow team member, Andrew Khoo. Thanks dude!)



              “Err…on the base” I told him.

              With that he signed it, gave me a smile again and head for McLaren paddock. All he heard from me after that was the multiple thank yous.

              #29. The signed Brawn GP BGP 001

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: “I have to do WHAT??” - 2012 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix

                #30. When I shot this it was 13:16 local time yet the clock on the gate system is 08:16.



                #31. Some models arriving.



                #32. 1996 World Champion Damon Hill now with Sky Sports as one of their pundits.



                #33. They seem to notice cameras very well and snap into a pose automatically.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: “I have to do WHAT??” - 2012 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix

                  #34. 2007 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen, back after 2 years away from the sports to compete in rally.



                  It was lunch hour and most of the drivers had already arrived. So I head back up to the Media Centre to grab a bite and transfer out the photos to the laptop for selection and processing.

                  After I had my lunch I went through the shots and selected a few to be edited and handed over to our photo editor. At 1400, the Safety Car and the Medical Car would be going out to the track for some familiarisation. I’ve assigned other team members to capture that so I could rest in the Media Centre.

                  #35. Ferrari crew practicing their pit stop procedure.



                  When it was 1500 I rushed off to the Press Conference Room for the Thursday Drivers’ Briefing. The six drivers attending were Sergio Perez of Sauber F1 Team, Jean-Éric Vergne of Scuderia Toro Rosso, Pastor Maldonado of Williams F1 Team, Michael Schumacher of Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team, Jenson Button of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and Fernando Alonso of Scuderia Ferrari.

                  #36. The three world champions having a private whisper.


                  When the press conference was over I went back to my desk and started packing up. I had to leave early that day. There were other events and activities like driver briefings for the support races but I had assigned it to other members of the team.

                  I left SIC at around 1600 and drove back home as fast as I could. Once home, I emptied the memory card, took a shower, and prepared the gears again for the night.

                  Why?

                  #37. Because I had to attend the Malaysian launch of the brand new BMW 3 Series (F30).



                  To be continued...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: “I have to do WHAT??” - 2012 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix

                    FRIDAY 23rd March 2012

                    I started the day with a bounce. My ‘secret mission’ was a success and I got what I wanted. I chose to get the mission done on Thursday as it was the most 'relaxed' day. We didn't have to be on track and we had a lot of time for the arrivals.

                    Even though I got home late after the BMW 3 Series launch and slept quite late, I had to be at the circuit by 0800.

                    Out of the five days I was there, Friday was the most packed and tightest in the schedule. There were two Formula 1 practice sessions, GP2 and MSS practice and qualifying sessions. Lots of on-the-track sessions that needs to be captured by the team. I was anxious. Everyone on the team was anxious.

                    The grandstand team also started their duties on Friday. They were to cover activities on at the Mall areas and shoot all track actions from the grandstands.

                    I managed to get to the track at 0800 and quickly prepared myself for the day. Camera gears were out and checked in record time. The laptop was plugged in and ready to receive photos of the day.

                    #38. Red Bull Racing practicing their pit stop.



                    #39. A McLaren crew member.



                    After getting those shots, a few of us went to the paddock entrance to catch the arrivals.

                    #40. Apparently Sebastian Vettel arrived earlier than us. He was already eating breakfast at Red Bull hospitality suite when we head for the entrance.



                    #41. Mark Webber eyeing his teammate.



                    #42. Timo Glock of Marussia F1 Team.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: “I have to do WHAT??” - 2012 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix

                      #43. Daniel Ricciardo of Scuderia Toro Rosso.



                      #44. Nico Hulkenberg of Sahara Force India F1 Team



                      #45. Fernando Alonso of Scuderia Ferrari.



                      #46. Romain Grosjean of Lotus F1 Team.



                      #47. Nico Rosberg of Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team.



                      With that shot of Rosberg, I left the entrance and head back to the Media Centre to off load all the morning shots and prepare for Formula 1 Free Practice One that’s about to start around 1000.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: “I have to do WHAT??” - 2012 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix

                        Halfway back to the Media Centre I was stopped by security who demanded that I showed him my camera. That was weird. I had all the clearance and the proper pass to be at the paddock, so why did he stop me? When I handed him my camera he told me that I lacked the security tag on my gear. Puzzled, I asked him isn’t my media pass was enough? No. Apparently the camera needed a security sticker. Something new for 2012 and I’m supposed to get it from Pat Behar of FIA. Hoookay.

                        #48. Photographers drying out their camera and lenses after encountering severe condensation on their gears after moving out from the super cold Media Centre to the warm humid outside air. That there were probably hundreds of thousands worth of gears!



                        After taking that amusing scene I went into the Media Centre and off loaded the photos. I sat down for a while to recover and rechecked Friday’s schedule with everyone to make sure they all know where they were supposed to be for the whole day.

                        Then I remembered that I had to get my gears ‘checked’.

                        #49. So I went to see Pat and he gave me this. Word around is that the sticker is kind of hard to remove.



                        In fact I still see it plastered on a few cameras of other photographers long after Formula 1 circus had left town. In a way it’s kind of a ‘badge of honour’ for some of us. When we see that fluorescent green sticker on a camera body, we know he or she went through the trials and tribulation of the 2012 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix.

                        Around 09:30 I flagged a Media Shuttle and head for my assigned spot for F1 Free Practice One, Turn 2 inside.

                        #50. Daniel Ricciardo leading Kamui Kobayashi into Turn 2.



                        #51. Pastor Maldonado of Williams F1 Team. Note the white visualisation paint on the rear wings of his car that Williams uses to test the airflow around the car.



                        #52. Fernando Alonso blasting past the Malaysian Flag mural on his way to Turn 3.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: “I have to do WHAT??” - 2012 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix

                          #53. Pedro De La Rosa of HRT F1 Team.



                          #54. Vitaly Petrov of Caterham F1 Team. He replaced journeyman Jarno Trulli before the season started in Melbourne.


                          The first practice was about 1 ½ hour long. I stayed around Turn 1, 2 and 3 for the whole session, taking shots for SIC. That meant shooting with high shutter speeds to ensure sharp cars and also to include track branding that littered the track. That’s the difference between shooting for oneself and for shooting for somebody else.

                          We had to get every car and every team at every angle and at every turn. We had to get shots that would be useful for them to use for their magazine, books, advertising, banners, buntings, postcards and etc. It made shooting F1 tedious but I was more than happy to do it.

                          The rest of the team were doing the same at other turns I assigned them. Once I got most of the necessary shots, I started to play a little by lowering down the shutter speeds, using bigger aperture for shallower depth of field and playing with wider and tighter shots. What I could, I shot. What I couldn’t, I left for maybe the other days.


                          #55. After the session was over I head back to the Media Centre and off loaded the photos and took a breather. Up next was GP2 practice but I had a different team assigned for it. I was already kinda drained out from the first session and it was only the first session!



                          Before I knew it, it was time to head out to the pit lane for the first of the many Pit Walk sessions of the weekend.


                          #56. Charles Pic (middle) of Marussia F1 Team.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: “I have to do WHAT??” - 2012 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix

                            #57.



                            #58.



                            #59.



                            #60. That’s a GP2 car. Not the Lotus F1 car.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: “I have to do WHAT??” - 2012 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix

                              #61. Scuderia Ferrari pit wall.



                              #62. Formula 1 – even for the disabled.



                              #63. When this placard appears, it’s time to leave.



                              #64. Not before taking a shot of a wall of tyres.

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