Darren Heath

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Darren Heath (born 1968) is a motorsport photographer specialising in Formula One motor racing, and is principal photographer for F1 Racing magazine. He is credited with discovering a secret braking system used by McLaren in 1997 which was copied by other teams before being banned by the FIA.

Heath was also the Chief Photographer of the Autocourse motorsport annual for the 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 editions.[1][2]

He has recently worked closely with F1 journalist James Allen.[citation needed] Heath was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of The Royal Photographic Society in 2006. These are awarded to distinguished persons having, from their position or attainments, an intimate connection with the science or fine art of photography or the application thereof.

Early life[edit]

Heath's grandfather was a grasstrack racer who competed in events at Brands Hatch before the track had been laid and surfaced with Tarmac. Heath originally professed the intention of entering motorsport but later realised that his goal was not a reliastic target.[3]

Heath discovered his passion for photography in his early teenage years when he brought a Kodak Instamatic 25. His spare time and money went towards funding on maintenance and buying new equipment for the camera and travelling to motor racing tracks to improve his skills.[4]


Heath has had many near misses with motor racing cars such as a Formula Three test where Alain Menu crashed and in the 1998 Monaco Grand Prix where the duel between Alexander Wurz and Michael Schumacher caused an crash with debris landing in front of Heath.[3]

F1 Racing[edit]

Heath is credited with revealing a secret independent braking system used by the McLaren team in 1997 by taking a picture of the footwell of David Coulthard's retired car and pictures of McLarens exiting corners with their rear brake discs glowing. The team was using a second brake pedal on one of the rear wheels, which allowed the driver to alter the car's behaviour in corners. The system was imitated by the Williams and Jordan teams the following season. The sensitive cockpit picture was published exclusively in F1 Racing in that year's November issue.[5] The device was subsequently banned by Formula One's governing body, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA).


  1. ^ Henry, Alan (ed.) (2003). AUTOCOURSE 2003-2004. Hazleton Publishing Ltd. p. 3. ISBN 1-903135-20-6. 
  2. ^ Henry, Alan (ed.) (2004). AUTOCOURSE 2004-2005. Hazleton Publishing Ltd. p. 3. ISBN 1-903135-35-4. 
  3. ^ a b Windsor, Peter (15 February 2012). Darren Heath F1 Photographer. (Interview). The Flying Lap. Smibs.tv. London, England. 
  4. ^ "Darren Heath Exclusive Interview". Pitlane Magazine. 29 August 2012. Retrieved 23 November 2012. 
  5. ^ F1 Racing magazine, December 1997 issue, page 23, British edition as imported to America

External links[edit]