I have had a lifelong passion for Formula One and started to cover F1 Grands Prix in 1978.Lukas Gorys – F1 Photographer
It was a slow debut, which developed quickly into full season coverage in the middle of the 80ies (which were a glorious time for the sport). I was lucky enough to see Gilles Villeneuve and Niki Lauda racing at the beginning of the 1980ies. From 1985 till 1994 I followed the epic era of the battles between Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet, the era of the „professor“ Alain Prost and his fight with the most charismatic driver of all time – Ayrton Senna. When Senna died in Imola 1994, the F1 of my youth died as well. It was the end of these heroic days, of these heros of my youth. But right at this day for me it started to become a true business. F1 became german! First I produced Senna-books and then followed the rise of Michael Schumacher. The high time for Formula One in Germany lasted till his first retirement in 2006. 12 years with an endless stream of travel and excitment. We seemed to be riding on the F1-wave for more than a decade as these big wave surfers in Hawai or Portugal.
When Schumi retired, the business factor of F1 in Germany seemed to collapse. But Sebastian Vettel came to rescue and there was a new era to start – Thank you Seb! Digital photography changed the profession of photography more than expected. It has accelerated the speed of photography into F1-speed. Thanks to very loyal clients I managed to stay in the business. Even Covid and the retirement of Vettel haven’t stopped me yet. Many of my photographic heros from the older generation have stopped already, but I still am eager to see what the next generation of F1 can bring on excitement and fascination. If you look today at the show F1 produces in Miami and compares it with Zolder 1978 (the first race I had access to the paddock) it is another world – even another universe.
But as soon as the red lights go out, its racing as it was many years before. Much more strategic, much safer and with new superstars, but still racing. How to compare Lewis Hamilton or Max Verstappen to Niki Lauda, Gilles Villeneuve or Michael Schumacher? It is another era of the same sport. Totally changed if you look at the TV coverage, but inside the core the same as it ever was.
And so is the photography of this sport. It is colourful, exciting, full of action – still a magic place for me.
Remember: in F1 everything happens in a split second. You never get a second chance. So your eyes have to be everywhere!
Since my humble beginnings in 1978 till today I covered more than 650 F1 races and test-weeks. And the journey continous…