Formula 1 is a dangerous sport. But you might not be shocked to hear that it used to be a whole lot more dangerous just a few decades ago – or rather, how the concept of ‘workplace safety’ used to be nonexistent…
A user on Reddit’s /r/formula1 shared some photos his uncle – “who was friends with some people in the Ferrari team” – took of the Ferrari team’s garage at the 1983 Brazilian Grand Prix.
What’s both shocking (and a bit hilarious) about the photos is how laissez-faire the Ferrari engineers were back in the day. These days, virtually all mechanics in an F1 team’s garage wear a full fireproof race suit, which they regularly rotate. Race suits are even homologated by the FIA, and are required to be replaced after a few years of use.
But in 1983? Judging by the following image, the mechanics weren’t wearing fireproof race suits. Indeed, they wore almost nothing at all, going shirtless and rocking short shorts, likely to deal with the insane Rio de Janeiro heat.
You can also see a few gents enjoying a cheeky smoke – something that would never be allowed these days and something that shouldn’t really have been done back then, considering how much petrol and oil would be lying around an F1 garage.
Speaking of the garage, it’s striking how basic the garages were back then. Modern F1 garages are sleek, almost clinically clean, filled with computers and with tidy rows of toolboxes. The garage at Jacarepaguá (also known as the Autódromo Internacional Nelson Piquet and the home of the Brazilian Grand Prix between 1981 and 1989) is comparatively spartan and greasy.
We also love how the mechanics are just wearing sneakers and sportswear: lots of Nikes and FILA (makes sense that an Italian team would wear Italian sportswear). One dude’s even just rocking Havaianas. OH&S would like a word…
Of course, it’s fun to have a laugh at how devil-may-care these mechanics are, but there’s no doubt that modern F1 is a far safer sport for both drivers, team members and spectators. Still, these vibes are immaculate.
The 2022 Formula 1 World Championship will see racing return to Brazil at the São Paulo Grand Prix at Interlagos from the 11th to the 13th of November.