ec: How did you view the turbo era of F1? Which team and driver made the most impression on you?
KS: The turbo era coincided with my burgeoning exploits in becoming a professional photographer, so I look back at that era with fond memories. Personally, it was a tale of working hard to establish myself in the F1 paddock, making personal and financial sacrifices to work my way up the ladder. For instance, I remember hitching a ride in the back of a McLaren truck from England to Monza for the Italian GP, as air travel was still expensive, especially for a young lad from Manchester.
I also see the turbo era as a time of great fun. The paddock was a more relaxed place and the things we used to get up to with fellow photographers, journalists, team members and drivers--most of it is unrepeatable. There were fewer demands on us then. I used to joke that, at some races, I was on the beach within 30 minutes of qualifying ending.
We were also lucky to have a group of truly exceptional drivers--Senna, Prost, Mansell, Piquet, Rosberg, and so on--who were using their talents to drive increasingly powerful cars, far more so than we have now and likely to ever have again. It made for great racing and great opportunities for photography.
ec: The F1 establishment seemed to change in the mid '90s, with a more managed and staged event. F1 has drowned out many other championships with its self-importance and coverage is difficult to come by. Do you see this continuing? Can sports cars make a return to the front page--other than Le Mans?
KS: Our company will always be indebted to sports car racing, thanks to an introduction by John Brooks to Castrol in 1989, which led to us working for Jaguar, Toyota and Dunlop in the World Sports Car Championship through to its demise in 1991. The relationship with Castrol we forged in those years led to us securing our first F1 team contract with Castrol and Lotus in 1992.
Le Mans is a wonderful event, with an atmosphere unique in motorsport, but it remains the only sports car event familiar to the general public. But this `problem' is true in many other sports. Take cycling. Ask the general public to name a cycling race and they'll nearly all say the Tour de France, and struggle to name another, despite great races throughout the year. It's the same with sports car racing. It has many great events, a great championship and a legion of dedicated followers, but it suffers, and is always likely to, from the `one great event' syndrome.
With the internet and multi-channel TV, sports car racing has the chance to offer its product to a far wider audience than it ever could in its `glory' days of the '60s through to the '80s. And while I don't think it could ever compete with F1, it has the opportunity to claim the prize of the second most followed motorsport.