After the passion
Sunday at 7.45pm and all is quiet in the Parco di Monza.
As I walk through the wood that separates the Autodromo’s two main straights there is an eerie atmosphere.
Clearing the trees and climbing the crumbling steps that lead into the simple grandstand overlooking the run to the Parabolica corner I’m all alone – save for the old guy collecting empty cans so as to earn a Euro or two – so I sit down on one of the decades-old concrete benches and try to take it all in.
The silence is deafening.
The baying hordes of Ferrari-adoring Tifosi have long since departed, their presence evidenced now by discarded bottles of vino tinto and crumpled paper cups.
At my feet a scarlet air horn rolls back and forth in the gentle breeze, its piercing wail that greeted the Scuderia’s triumph so loudly now just a memory
Working as a photographer at Monza is simply a joy, and on a weekend of warm late summer light it really doesn’t get any better.
Creatively the circuit is a challenge because there really are only a handful of shooting locations – but what locations they are.
The entry to the first of the Lesmo bends as the cars flicker in and out of the shadows is gorgeous: the burst of sunshine that hits the car upon the apex illuminating the glossy paintwork against a dark black background.
Variante Ascari. This awesome complex of three blisteringly fast corners never disappoints. The cars swing left then right before being shot out of the final left at a terrifying speed, suspension working overtime as the loads generate visible body roll so rare in modern day Formula 1.
At the Curva Parabolica a rusting old photo tower hangs almost over the track, and as the cars rush underneath one feels the heat, power and speed. There is a real sense of purpose; the drivers are palpably eager to start another lap.
My work done, I leave this wonderful place. After a long day of glorious passion, thunderous noise and spectacular triumph this strange and evocative race track returns to its state of almost absolute tranquillity.
Just as it has for 88 years.