There is always fun and games in the pitlane at testing as teams try to get a look at other new cars while protecting their own intellectual property, and with eight 2011 models on view at Valencia this week there has been much to keep an eye on.
All teams study internet pictures and employ photographers to provide them with shots of their rivals’ machines. However in Valencia Williams used one of its engineers – someone who obviously knows what he’s looking for – to get some shots.
At least the team was open about it and didn’t use a ‘ringer’ like others are known to have done. A former Ferrari aero guy who famously once got caught taking pictures when out of team kit at a test also used to give an Aussie GP pass to a Melbourne-based relative. The fellow duly ambled up and down the Albert Park pitlane on the Wednesday and Thursday with his camera, looking every inch the tourist…
Of course they all know that the others are doing the same as them, which is why Red Bull covered the rear of RB7 with a silver blanket every time it came in, the crew looking menacingly around like a bunch of would-be bouncers. It’s a fruitless task. When Sebastian Vettel stopped during last year’s Australian GP a manufacturer team that employs its own full time photographer soon received a full portfolio of views of the blue machine.
Not every team took kindly to the presence of the Williams representative in Valencia. When he gatecrashed the Toro Rosso launch and tried to get shots of its trick aero – from a spot even the invited media had been asked to vacate – he was told by a team spokesman to ‘f**k off…’