Shy Rajdev on his journey capturing emotions at the peak of motorsport

Motorsport photographer Shy Rajdev’s work has been recognised and loved by millions of Formula 1 fans across the globe. Having worked with some of the most iconic names in motorsport – from seven-time F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton and F1’s first Chinese racing driver, Zhou Guanyu, to McLaren, Sauber and now, Andretti – Shy has collated an impressive portfolio of images which capture the emotions at the heart of on-track racing and off-track lifestyle.

Silverstone caught up with Shy to hear about how he paved his own way into photography and spent time working in music before making the switch to motorsport, as well as his roles in Formula 1 and his new role across multiple racing categories as Head of Content with Andretti Global.

First introduced to the art of photography at the age of 16, Shy was given his dad’s old 35mm film camera, a camera he still has to this day. At this time in Shy’s life, digital cameras were beginning to push through onto the scene, so film was still very much at the forefront of photography.

“That was my introduction to a first camera, to look after it and to treat it well,” Shy says. “I’m sure I had some disposable cameras from when we went on holidays but this was my first real camera that I had respect for and I wanted to learn everything about it.

“Everything was all manual with those cameras; there was no screen, no second takes. You’d click and that’s the shot you’d get.”

Shy didn’t take any courses in photography, and simply learned his craft by practise. Once he’d mastered the three settings on camera – shutter speed, aperture, and ISO – using any camera became easy. Some of his first experiences with a camera were shooting with his friends wherever and whenever he could.

“I took a camera everywhere because I was wanting to shoot everything and document it all,” Shy says. “Just purely for memories sake, but also because I was fascinated by this thing in my hands which I could use.”

“You learn photography by doing photography; obviously, you have to have an eye for what you’re shooting, but as long as you learn and you know how that tool in your hand works, that’s it, it’s just practise.”

Shy didn’t study anything related to photography at university, and instead found himself studying Music Journalism, after falling in love with music at a young age.

“Music has always been part of the family,” Shy says. “When I was 18 and just about to go to university, I had no idea what I wanted to do in life.

“I knew that there were things I was interested in but I didn’t know what I wanted to do in five or ten years, so I decided to study music journalism.”

Shy’s degree spiralled into him writing for a few online music magazines, then going to music festivals, meeting bands, and going to photoshoots with bands. While working with one music magazine at university, he was sent to a press junket to work with Zane Lowe and other radio presenters to present an MTV show with Biffy Clyro and Ed Sheeran.

After university, Shy found himself working in the music industry, but away from the camera. Across his years in music, Shy worked with a PR agency, then Relentless Energy and Monster Energy.

“My whole career has just been this next step unfolding for me almost,” he says. “Obviously working for it, but everything just fell into place.

“I’ve always had a passion for music and sports and I didn’t want to limit myself to just doing one thing, and because I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I thought I might as well experience everything; if the opportunity is there, you don’t say no.”

After working with Relentless and Monster, Shy spent some time working at Atlantic Records with a roster of incredible music artists, but predominantly on campaigns from behind a screen. Although he knew he would miss working in music, Shy decided to make the switch to motorsport – something that had been part of his life since his childhood – and begin working with cameras more and more.

“Cars and motorbikes are just part of who I am and I wanted to be involved somehow,” he says. “I wanted to be behind the camera; that’s where I feel happiest, where I excel the most, where my experience comes to life.

“And so, motorsport was my way to jump into that and be more hands on with the projects I was working on.”

In terms of audiences, Shy believes there’s definitely a crossover because most people are passionate about both music and sport. The technicalities of shooting each however, are quite different; music is mainly twofold and a photographer will be shooting at either a music festival or music show, whereas motorsport is quite vast. And Shy has definitely experienced just how vast motorsport can be.

“I’ve shot everything from two-wheel Isle of Man TT and BSB to rallycross, Formula 1, Formula 2 and IndyCar,” Shy says, “There’s a much larger plethora of sports within motorsport to shoot and that’s the difference.

“You’ve got to adapt so quickly and so much to everything around you – all the scenarios – whether it’s hot conditions out in Doha or cold temperatures or rain in Suzuka; you’ve got to adapt to every environment.”

Having made the switch to motorsport, Shy joined the P44 team, where he worked alongside seven-time F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton. He worked across Lewis’ social media channels, captured content from behind the camera and also launched Lewis’ Extreme E team, X44.

“Lewis is phenomenal,” Shy says. “I worked with him during the COVID years so I didn’t always get to go on the road with him, but I was in and around that; I was with him when he wasn’t at a race track and when he was at a race track, not all the time but mostly to cover the perspective that people don’t usually see.

“My job was to make sure I covered Lewis away from the circuit, or cover him at the track but in a different light, in a more artsy way.” 
After a year at P44, Shy moved to McLaren Racing and worked with the content team to create pieces for the team’s social media channels, with the overall aim of increasing the brand and their new Extreme E team. Then, at the beginning of 2022, Shy moved to another team on the grid: Sauber, known on-track as the Alfa Romeo F1 Team. 


In Formula 1, a digital team usually consists of over three people; one person is the social media manager, one video dedicated person and one photo dedicated person.

“My job at Sauber was to do all of those, as well as the social posting and community management, the digital strategy and also all of the content capture,” Shy explains. “The partner content that we’d shoot on the Thursday media days and all of the challenge videos.
“Everything that you saw on the Alfa Romeo F1 Team channels for the past two years was me.”

Although this was difficult at times, and Shy dedicated his entire life to Formula 1 and travelled to every single race on the calendar across the two years, he did learn some new skills, because he needed to be the fastest off-track when it came to content.
“I got really good at becoming fast at editing because I had to,” he says. “Not only are the teams competing on the track, but teams are competing off-track on social media as well, the first ones to talk about the drivers’ parade, the first one to talk about the fan zone experience.

“It was speed over everything and I just became really good at that.”

Another huge aspect of Shy’s role with Sauber as Head of Content and Social was to capture the stories and emotions of the drivers and his colleagues across special moments at a race weekend, whether that be on or off-track. Telling stories in motorsport can be done in a multitude of ways, and Shy did exactly that from behind the camera.

“That’s the whole point of the job,” he says. “To capture the moments, to capture the feelings, to capture everything.
“It’s just how you tell the story of the entire team.”

Because of how much time you spend on the road with your teammates in F1, it’s only natural that you build close relationships with the people who become your second family. This is something that helped Shy capture those emotional moments through the art of his photography. In the garage during the race, there’s no commentary, so the only conversations team members hear are the ones through their headphones between driver and engineer. It’s these conversations that helped Shy pick up on what was happening, and because of the close relationships in the team, he then knew who might react in a certain way. This is how he knew how and when to capture certain moments off-track during a Grand Prix.

For Sauber, adding points to the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships is where the main celebration lies, because the team aren’t pushing for wins, they’re pushing for points.

“Everyone is hugging and clapping and that’s the story you need to tell,” Shy says. “You’re not going to be on the podium but there’s still a lot to celebrate and it’s telling those stories in the team that mean everything.

“Also, getting close to the drivers and spending time with them, picking up on their personalities, knowing what they like… it’s just documenting it all. You really do end up filming and photographing absolutely everything.”

During a race, Shy tended to stay in the garage for the first three or four laps to take in the most exciting moments, depending on the race. Then, knowing everything was running smoothly on-track, Shy would head back to hospitality, edit all the footage he’d just captured from the grid and just enjoy some time to actually sit down after an intense build up to lights out.

“That was my chance to edit everything, get it posted or saved on my phone so it’s ready to go after, and then I’d go back to the garage,” he says. “I’d stay in there, stay with the team and just see what happens.

“The cars might come in for a pit stop, so I’d capture that, or there might be an issue of some sort. It’s all about just staying with your team.”

Away from the on-track moments he captured at Sauber, Shy also worked closely with Zhou Guanyu, capturing the lifestyle side of content away from a race track.

“I got to do a Dior fashion shoot with him at the Dior fashion event in Paris last year and that was fantastic, to experience something outside of motorsport,” he says. “Fashion has never really been something on the forefront of what I’ve wanted to shoot but it was just so cool.

“I love being thrown in the deep end and it was cool to see how it all works and it’s something Zhou is so passionate about.”



Shy has visited Silverstone on multiple occasions, either to work the Formula 1 British Grand Prix or to attend another racing event, like MotoGP and to him, like many other racing fans across the world, the Home of British Motorsport is a staple track on any calendar.  

“It’s such a historic track, and the racing is always entertaining,” Shy says. “Turn one always keeps you on the edge of your seat. It’s a brilliant track.”

At the 2023 Formula 1 Aramco British Grand Prix, Silverstone hosted their first ever ‘Meet the Admin’ panel at the all-new Drivers Inn Stage, located on the iconic Copse corner, which aimed to give a real insight into what it looks like to work in an F1 team and inspire the next generation. On the panel, Shy represented the Alfa Romeo F1 Team.  

“As the one-man band, I was speaking on everything,” he says. “It was like a bit of a takeover because I was talking from a content perspective, a digital perspective, about strategy and competing with other teams on social media.”  

Last year, Shy spent some time stateside with Andretti at the IndyCar Thermal Test and the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix in Nashville, where he shot images of the series on a freelance basis with the team.  

“I decided that I wanted a bit of a break from F1,” Shy says. “Everything was just becoming so second nature to me and I didn’t feel like I was in my creative peak anymore, so I decided to step away and try to find a new challenge.  

“It’s about finding a new angle with a fresh perspective, find my creativity and then maybe bring some new ideas back to the table if I return to an F1 team.”

Although a return to F1 in the future could be on the cards, Shy is now working at Andretti full-time as their Head of Content. His role consists of overseeing all the content that comes into the team from their many racing categories, whether that be IndyCar, Formula E or Extreme E, and solidifying one image under the Andretti umbrella.  

“It’s my job to pull all of those teams together to make sure the content looks and feels Andretti,” Shy says. “You go to certain team pages and they have this certain look and feel because of the colours and this is very much the same; bringing everything to life under Andretti colours.  

“Also, there’s quality control, telling stories and just levelling up everything, that’s the main goal. We’ve got a mini media house now at Andretti and we want to create some really cool stuff.” 



Working across a variety of racing categories with Andretti means that every week is different for Shy. So far, he’s been out in the desert with Extreme E, in Florida with IndyCar and in Brazil with Formula E, to name a few of his recent racing adventures.  

“It’s nice that every week is different and there’s a team of people I’m working with who are all so passionate about racing,” Shy says. “I’m stoked about it."

“F1 has always been and always will be my home almost because that’s where all my friends are and I’ve spent a lot of my time there, but it’s nice to step away and find a bit more leeway, a bit more room to breathe; F1 is not the be all and end all, there’s so many other motorsport categories out there.” 


Photo Credit: Shy Radjev (@shy_rajdev)