Silver Snappers: The Legends Behind The Lenses

Silver Snappers: The Legends Behind The Lenses

Get to know the characters that chart our adventures across the globe…

Ever wondered who captures those magic moments on camera here at the racetrack and around the world? Well, wonder no more...

We caught up with Wolfgang, Steve and Paul to chat all things photography - and Formula One, of course!

So, when you see 'Photo by Wilhelm', 'Snap by Etherington' or 'Captured by Ripke' on our imagery, you'll know who all those high-five emojis are for... enjoy!

Wolfgang Wilhelm

A veteran of 42 years and a legend in the Formula One paddock, Wolfgang has photographed almost everyone and everything that’s worth seeing over the years.

Wolfgang never formally trained as a photographer. But driven by a raw passion for cars and racing, plus a chance meeting with Jochen Rindt at the 1970 Austrian Grand Prix when he was just 18, he pushed himself to forge a career as a motorsport photographer.

Five years later, Wolfgang was working for the German magazine ‘auto motor und sport’, following the F1 circus around the world and photographing the 1975 season. Niki Lauda was champion that year and, through a shared language and sense of humour, the two became friends.

There are too many photos from over 42 years’ worth of experience to pick just a single favourite. But Wolfgang will always have special memories of Niki’s 1984 title winning season.

Now 64-years-old, what keeps Wolfgang coming back each year? That same passion for racing he had as a boy in Germany. He just can’t quit that intoxicating feeling from the sounds and smell of Formula One.

Wolfgang Wilhelm and long-time friend Niki Lauda

Steve Etherington celebrates his 400th Grand Prix with the team

Steve Etherington

If you’re a Formula One fan, chances are you already know about Steve Etherington – or at least you’ll have seen his photos. He’s been shooting F1 full-time since 1992 (without missing a single race!) and is credited with some of the sport’s most iconic photographs – capturing the exploits of names such as Senna, Schumacher, Alonso and Hamilton.

A photographer by trade, Steve’s professional career started back in 1977. From humble beginnings shooting for a local paper, Steve was sponsored to attend Richmond College in Sheffield, earning the NCTJ award in press photography.

His career covering sport took him from the Champions League to the World Cup Finals, before going freelance in 1997 and specialising in F1, where he has remained ever since.

For Steve, every single day in the paddock is different – and that’s the bug. Shots of Formula One cars in action or blurred into pure art; reflective driver portraits, up-close and personal; they all feature in Steve’s immense body of work – which acts as an ever-expanding gallery of the great and the good in modern-day F1.

Paul Ripke

A visual artist, Paul’s passion for photography was born when he was just a boy, borrowing his father’s cameras. He soon graduated to his own first camera, putting it to use photographing his friends skateboarding, football matches and Germany’s hip hop scene.

Paul rose to prominence in 2014, when he photographed the victorious German national football squad – Die Mannschaft – as they beat Argentina in Rio’s historic Maracana, joining the victorious team onto the pitch and as they climbed the steps to lift the Jules Rimet trophy for the fourth time.

Paul got his first taste of motorsport in 2016, when he was invited to document Nico Rosberg’s 2016 Formula One campaign. Little did he know then that his pictures would go on to form the basis of the book ‘Finally’ – a visual journal of the emotional final months of Nico’s championship winning year.

Paul is at his best when up shooting up close and personal. His intense, artistic, behind-the-scenes shots tell a visual story of the human side of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport.

Paul Ripke documenting Nico Rosberg's Championship campaign

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