The Danish photographer who has been working in Formula 1 for 40 years and is a fan of Fangio: “He is the best of the best”

Peter at the Balcarce Autodrome with a bust of the Quintuple (Peter Nygaard)

12 thousand kilometers away, the Danish peter nigaard has Argentine ties because of his idolatry for Juan Manuel Fangio and because her partner, Tinya, loves tango. His passion for motorsports led him to leave his law degree to devote himself to photography and He has been working in Formula 1 for 40 years. He recently visited Argentina on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of the Balcarce Racetrack that bears the name of the Quintuple.

The Scandinavian publishes and distributes the online magazine worldwide Grand Prix Photo after each Grand Prix. In the middle of the break of the Máxima, whose cars will return to the track from February 11 to 13 with the pre-season tests in Barcelona, ​​tests that generate a lot of expectation for the new cars from the drastic change in the technical regulationswas visiting the land of Fangio and visited his museum.

Peter is used to modifications and in four decades he saw the end of ground effect in 1982 which will now return the eighties, the return of the aspirants in 1989, he was in the races in Argentina in the nineties, the V12, V10 and V16 drivers and every time he is consulted for Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Michael Schumacher or Lewis Hamilton puts them all behind Fangio.

The five-time world champion (1951, 1954, 1955, 1965 and 1957), stands out, beyond his laurels, his attitude on the track and having been a gentleman. From his native Copenhagen, he gladly accepted the dialogue with Infobae And it has a nice story to tell.

Danish photographer in F1
Nygaard at the Fangio Museum with a helmet from El Chueco (Peter Nygaard)

-How did you start as a photographer in motorsports?

-I have been passionate about Formula 1 since I was a child and I was only 12 years old when I decided I wanted to work in the sport. While studying law at the University of Copenhagen, I started traveling to European careers during the summer holidays. When I graduated as a lawyer in 1987, I wanted to work for six months in F1 before getting a job as a lawyer. But F1 was too exciting and I never used my law degree.

-What did you think of the Juan Manuel Fangio Museum?

-It’s an incredible place! I am very impressed with the museum and the passionate people of Balcarce. It’s great to see how they keep Fangio’s story alive.

-What do you think of Juan Manuel Fangio?

-Very simple: The best of the best!

Danish photographer in F1
Peter, with the shirt of the Argentine national team, and his partner (Peter Nygaard)

During his visit to Balcarce, he gave the Fangio Foundation a book with the entire history of Mercedes that weighs seven kilos. The Dane also gave them photographs for the book “The 200 races of Fangio”.

-Of the Formula 1 drivers you saw, who looks more like Fangio?

Fangio was always a gentleman on the track, he never put his rivals in danger. Modern drivers are much more aggressive and I don’t like that: F1 was never intended to be a contact sport. the brazilian Emerson Fittipaldi (world champion 1972 and 1974) looked a bit like Fangio.

-How was the time you saw Fangio at the age of 80 drive an F1 car?

-It was in Hockenheim (Germany) a few days after he turned 80. Mercedes celebrated his birthday with a big party at his factory, and the next day they took a couple of his 1950s cars to Hockenheim for Fangio and Stirling Moss. It was raining, but the veterans clearly enjoyed the occasion: Fangio came out of the pits with a spectacular slide!

-What did you think of Argentina?

-We had a fantastic time in Argentina visiting Buenos Aires, Balcarce and Ushuaia. What a wonderful country! We had three tango classes with the great Adrián Luna in Buenos Aires and we will definitely be back. It is safe to say that we have fallen in love with Argentina. And I just found out that there is a Fangio tango. What more can you ask?

Ayrton Senna and Juan Manuel Fangio in 1991. For Nygaard, El Chueco was the best of all in the history of F1 (REUTERS)
Ayrton Senna and Juan Manuel Fangio in 1991. For Nygaard, El Chueco was the best of all in the history of F1 (REUTERS)

-Of everything you lived in F1, what era do you stay with?

-My first season in the category was in 1982. I was young. He impressed me and I really enjoyed it. But it was also a controversial and tragic season with two fatal accidents (Gilles Villeneuve and Ricardo Paletti).

The 2021 season with the close fight between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen It was also great – it was nice to be back at all the races after the difficult 2020 season with COVID-19.

-What do you remember of the races in Argentina?

-I was in all four races between 1995 and 1998. It was always hectic: airport, hotel, race track was all I saw. I am so happy that I had the opportunity to see more of the city and the country.

-You met Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell, Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton. Do you have any history with them?

I have interviewed them all. But my favorite interview is still the one I did with Fangio in 1991. It was a problem that we had to use an interpreter, but he was very nice and polite. Modern drivers aren’t always like this…

Could you choose your best five photos and tell the stories of each one?

1) Max Verstappen at the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix:

“The sparks are always spectacular and I think it creates a nice effect that I have focused on the sparks and not the car.

Danish photographer in F1
Max Verstappen at the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix (Peter Nygaard)

2) Lewis Hamilton wins the 2021 Brazilian Grand Prix:

“A nice colorful photo with the sign that tells the story and the very small Mercedes on the corner. A different image!”

Danish photographer in F1
Hamilton wins the 2021 Brazilian Grand Prix (Peter Nygaard)

3) Fans of Sergio Pérez at the 2021 Mexican Grand Prix:

“Formula 1 is all about passion. This shows the passion of Sergio Pérez’s fans at his home race in Mexico City. The big flag and the guy with the Perez mask: That’s passion!”

Mexican GP 2021
Sergio Pérez fans at the 2021 Mexican Grand Prix (Peter Nygaard)

4) Fernando Alonso, Belgian Grand Prix 2018:

“Accident photos are always spectacular. But I don’t enjoy taking them, I prefer to take different and artistic photos, crash photos are mostly a matter of being in the right place at the right time. I was at the start of the 2018 Belgian Grand Prix!”

Danish photographer in F1
Fernando Alonso, 2018 Belgian Grand Prix (Peter Nygaard)

5) Lewis Hamilton, Sunset 2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix:

“New and modern circuits often lack atmosphere. But in Abu Dhabi at least we have the Arabian sunset 30 minutes into the race. Some years can be quite spectacular: 2011 was a classic year for sunset photography. But you only have a few minutes to do it, then it gets dark and the atmosphere is gone for another year.”

Danish photographer in F1
Lewis Hamilton, sunset 2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (Peter Nygaard) (Peter Nygaard/)


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