Reader Photos: Gary Mason’s 1957 Italian GP Paddock
I’m continuing to wade through the box of slides and prints that Gary Mason sent in chronicling his lifelong love of photographing sportscar and formula racing (particularly Maseratis). In addition to these gorgeous images of the paddocks of the 1957 Italian Grand Prix at Monza, there is a large pile of shots that a then teenaged Gary was able to capture from the race itself (they’re coming, I promise). These particular shots of the Ferrari and Maserati paddocks really jump out at me though and are worth sharing on their own.
It’s been well covered here and elsewhere what a shame it is that spectators are all but barred from the paddocks of contemporary Formula 1. But it’s not just the level of access that strikes me about these photos. It isn’t just that Jean Behra’s Maserati 250F or Peter Collins Lancia Ferrari 801 is just sitting right there, a hair’s breadth away; begging you to casually extend a pinkie and touch it and prove to yourself that it’s real. What catches my eye is what surrounds these magnificent machines or, rather, what doesn’t. This isn’t just access to the paddock; it’s access to a nearly empty paddock. Empty of security to be sure, but also eerily empty of other spectators. Plenty of room to stand back and frame up a photo. Nearly impossible today even at club races.
Bonus Denis Jenkinson on the left there gathering notes and photos on the Ferraris for Motor Sport, no doubt. A nearly embarrassing charge of excitement leapt through me when this image slowly revealed itself line by line as the scanner worked its way through the slide: “Hey, that’s Jenks!”
As Gary pointed out in a comment on this similar photo taken a few years later, note the jump from garage 12 to garage 14. Can’t be too careful when you’re looking for luck on the track that day! No unlucky #13 garage for me, thank you.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Track photos of the main event and support races for the ’57 Italian GP to come as soon as I can get the images properly indexed and identified.
See more of the Gary Mason Archive.