Formula One – Bravo Honda!

Can you think of a better use for photography?

Now it’s no great secret that I graduated from the same college as Colin Chapman of Lotus Cars fame – University College, London. Indeed, while I shared the education of Mechanical Engineering with that inspired genius, I never practised as an engineer. Not only was I far from Chapman’s class, it was just too hard a way of making a living, and too fraught with risk. In my case, I suspect, that risk would have gestated in the guise of serious injury to users of my designs. No, the engineering world became a safer place for my absence from it.

However, none of this in any way dilutes my interest in one of the only two sports I care about (the other is cricket), which is Formula One auto racing. The near senseless pursuit at vast expense of solutions to problems no one ever imagined has a certain perverse appeal, I must admit. Sort of like an expensive woman. You know you should know better. But you get involved anyway. When it comes to photography and Formula One racing, it has largely been a desert strewn with forgettable detritus. How many snaps of cars at speed and babes in tight tops do you really want? OK, I can do with fewer of the ones of cars at speed.

With the honorable exception of photographers like Jesse Alexander, little great photographic work has been done in this sport, despite the fortunes expended on motor drives and extreme telephotos. However, watching the 2007 season opener in Melbourne, in the fair land known as Australia, I was captivated by the new Honda car, which is devoid of stickers and sports a magnificently applied picture of the earth. The picture is from Honda’s web site, God bless them.

It gets better. Honda has offered to pixelate the names of the first two million donors on the car, so that you can honestly say you support the racing effort. And the money goes to saving the world. That’s a twofer. Rest easy, the boob who was one heartbeat away from the presidency a while back isn’t going to be stealing it, as he is not involved. Anyway, he’s too busy with cinema ticket sales.

I have always greatly enjoyed the huge pictures of produce on those delivery trucks and now Honda has gone one better. By the way, I’m totally conflicted, rejoicing every time my wife reminds me of the 48 mpg (60 mpg in the UK) she just got on the last tank of regular gasoline in her Honda Civic Hybrid.