F1 Winter Break
Video: Ecclestone and Stewart honour one of the greatest F1 photographers
Posted By: James Allen  |  11 Dec 2017   |  6:49 pm GMT  |  16 comments

Rainer Schlegelmilch is a pioneer among F1 photographers, creating portrait and action work that broke new ground during a career that spanned from 1962 to 2017, when he retired.

A new film, which I have produced through my new vehicle Allen Content, tells the story of Schlegelmilch’s work, with contributions from two men inextricably linked with him; Sir Jackie Stewart and Bernie Ecclestone. It will premiere this weekend.

“We were all blessed by his lenses,” said Stewart. “He just was always in the right place at the right time.”

Ecclestone, who at one point signed Schlegelmilch as F1’s official photographer, said: “He’s a nice guy. His work is super and one photograph is better than a thousand words.

“You look at it and everyone sees something different in a photograph. I see these photographs and, having been there, it brings back good memories. He’s done a fantastic job as long as he’s been in Formula 1.”

Rainer Schlegelmilch: Freezing Speed: Motorsport TV, Saturday 16th December, 8pm. UK time (see local listings for details in other countries) and available on MotorsportTV OTT platform

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This vehicle and platform talk had me off topic for a bit – like it was automotive related or something.


Here’s a link to Dale Kistemaker, the editor of “Passion and Precision: The Photographer and Grand Prix Racing 1894-1984”, explaining the creation of the museum exhibition and the creation of the book (catalog of the exhibit):



Rainer was a peer duriing my F1 photography days with Road & Track and other publications. His book, Grand Prix Fascination Formula One, has a four-frame sequence on page 376 from the famous incident at the 1980 Long Beach Grand Prix that I set up for a friend of mine.

I am the guy with the blond hair with the girl’s hand on my shoulder. This
happened at the 1980 Long Beach GP at the hairpin, the first corner after the
start, one minute before the race started. I brought the girl, took her top off
in front of 40000 people just so my French photog buddy would have a shot to
sell. Every other photog sold shots of this, except for me of course as I had
to stage it, but all the photogs became my buddy because they made money.

If you’d like to read what Rainer has to say on F1 photography, look for a book (actually a museum photo exhibit catalog) titled “Passion and Precision: The Photographer and Grand Prix Racing 1894-1984.” The book contains 105 images and interviews done by Dale Kistemaker (the editor of the book) with photographers (F1 World Champ Phil Hill is interviewed as a photographer!), photojournalists, editors, art directors, designers and drivers. It really is an outstanding book. Alas, I’m not interviewed in the book, but one of my shots is one of only two full page reproductions, and also graces the books cover. You can find a copy on ebay every so often. Only four hundred copies were printed. You can also do a google search on the title to get more info.

If James allows links here is a link to the forward page of the book listen what it is about and the participants.



@ Jay J Hector…many thanks for posting that. Great story. Come back any time. Love to hear the anecdotes, the publishable ones, that is, hahaha.


Here’s what Maurice Hamilton said about the incident in his blog dated Nov. 14, 2012 (a friend in France, David Taylor of MotorsTV, tipped me off to this):

“Long Beach used a tough and reasonably quick street circuit which was good enough to regularly pull 80,000 spectators, mainly from nearby Los Angeles. The weather in April was usually perfect; the crowd good humoured – particularly when, during a lull before the start in 1980, a well-endowed woman in tight shorts stepped onto the track at Queens Hairpin and pulled up her tee-shirt for the benefit of an appreciative grandstand fuelled by Budweiser and overheated by the sun.”

I’ll have to correct Maurice one day on the details. It’s great to have single-handedly orchestrated a gonzo incident in Formula 1 that is only retold by unreliable narrators so it is still clouded by a noir cloak.


Can’t wait, what an amazing photographer.


If this is as good as the LAT Photographic documentary that I watched on Motorsport TV (Also produced by Allen Content I believe, and James did the voice over) then it will be well worth a watch. Rainer Schlegelmilch features in this as a contributor too.


So Kubica has dropped out? No funding, plus need to pay insurance company back for the claim if he is to drive professionally again means it doesn’t make sense. No one will willing to throw that much money behind a one season feel good story, which will likely not produce any fruit in the long run. Kubica’s nationality is just not marketable enough as well. Sergey Sirotkin along with his 15M PLUS the fact that the Russian Grand Prix hosting requirement demanded by President Putin is satisfied with a Russian driver on the grid will seal it. This requirement was satisfied by RBR/STR last 3 years means that it will be Sirotkin. I feel bad for Sirotkin, after watching Kvyat be chewed up and spit out. Welcome to the machine.


it was comical listening to the professional media rambling on about Kubica as if it was done deal.
There is so much negative media pressure surrounding a Russian racer returning to the grid.

The media- without being too specific are completely caught up in their little fantasy world of pushing an anti Russian agenda at the bequest of their media bosses that its at their expense, making themselves look utterly unprofessional and basically stupid.


@ Toe Clipper…The media have been relentlessly pushing the Kubica story as well. This ‘fairytale’ charade built around his supposed return to the sport has, over the past three months, become just so saccharine as to be totally unpalatable. I shudder to think what the reaction will be if he actually does get the drive. Yes, Kubica was a talent seven or so years ago. He dropped out of contention as a result of his accident whilst driving in a rally car. If you were to believe the ‘media’ reports his F1 achievements were built up to a degree mythological proportion that he was virtually guaranteed a series of WDC’s!!! Some sites are still at it. I, for one, would like to see either Kvyat or Sirotkin get the drive. The former has great speed, he just needs to be embedded in a team that believes in him and can play to his strengths. He would be fast right out of the box. Kubica , whilst still a good driver, is not the future of Williams..IMO.


A must see film then. Motorsport are really sorting their act out . Before it was just dreary commentators and dodgy camera work and some obscure place in billabong Creek for jet boat mud wrestling followed by some car crash compilations.
Glad Autosport and James Allen et al have got involved with the Channel. Hoping for more special progs like this one.


Any plans to release it onto a platform available for private purchase James?


A shame to hear that Schlegelmilch has given the game away after such an impressive career. The sheer weight of his books is testament to the volume of work he has created in his time, and has been a favourite F1 photographer of mine since I borrowed one of his books from the local library as an impressionable teenager (which was subsequently stolen by someone else!). Needless to say, several of them are in my bookcase at home, and I always marvel at the way he was able to produce those shots on old-school film. If only I could tune into the tribute!

Tornillo Amarillo

A new film, which I have produced through my new vehicle Allen Content

What’s that James? What kind of projects could we expect from there?


Allen Content sounds very interesting indeed….would especially like anything from the 70’s-80’s in particular! *cough*nudge*wink*


If you watch the last lap of the 1970 Monaco GP, you can see Schlegelmilch standing on the INSIDE of Mirabeau as Jack Brabham and Jochen Rindt pass by……….no barrier either to separate cars from photographers. Can’t imagine that now…….

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