“The Chariot Makers” is the third book by Benetton mechanic-turned-TV commentator Steve Matchett.
When Eddie Jordan was famously outmanouevred by Flavio Briatore in 1991, losing the coveted contract to run Michael Schumacher, McLaren boos Ron Dennis strode up to him and simply said: “Welcome to the Piranha Club”.
You have to feel sorry for Michael Schumacher’s fans. First their hero quits, and then the predictable rush to cash in on his success follows.
Christopher Hilton’s history of Grand Prix racing from 1906 to 2005 is not for the faint-hearted: Both in terms of reading it, and lugging the 500-page hardback around with you. He attempts to condense a century of motor sport into a single book – an extraordinary task – and the end product is a unique … Continue reading “Grand Prix Century”?é?Ø (Christopher Hilton, 2005)
Perry McCarthy’s account of his often disastrous attempts to make it as a Formula One diver is littered with hilarious anecdotes.
I’ve always been fascinated by the Pescara track. It is an anomaly in Formula One history, used only once for a World Championship race. And, at 25.5 kilometres (15.8 miles) in length, the longest circuit ever used for F1 – though many might automatically assume that record belongs to the Nurburgring. So I was delighted … Continue reading “The Last Road Race”?é?Ø (Richard Williams, 2004)
There is nothing new under the sun. Just as the FIA provoked intense debate when they imposed 2.4-litre V8 engines from 2006, so there was similar distaste over the imposition of 1.5-litre engines after the 1960 season. This new book from Mark Whitelock turns the spotlight on this “largely overlooked” period of Grand Prix history. … Continue reading “1?é?¢ litre Grand Prix Racing 1961-65” (Mark Whitelock, 2006)
Dr Steve Olvey’s book on safety developments in CART and IndyCar racing is a fascinating and thought-provoking read.
Carrying on our recent theme of Michael Schumacher book reviews, this very early book dates back to the winter of 1994 when the German had just seized his first world championship. This book makes especially interesting reading in the light of everything Schumacher has accomplished in the 12 years since his first World Drivers’ Championship. … Continue reading “Schumacher: The Life of the New Formula 1 Champion” (Timothy Collings, 1994)
Few of us ever get the chance to get up close to Formula One cars. Unless you can blag a paddock pass, it’s difficult to get much of an impression of what goes on behind the scenes at a race weekend. “Inside Ferrari” puts the inner workings of the Scuderia on display through 285 pages … Continue reading Inside Ferrari (Jon Nicholson with Maurice Hamilton, 2006)
Michael Schumacher is heading for retirement, so place your bets now on how many new Schumacher biographies will be out in time for the Christmas market. There are plenty of books on the controversial seven-times champion already, though, one of the most recent of which is Timothy Collings “Team Schumacher”. This is not so much … Continue reading “Team Schumacher” (Timothy Collings, 2005)
Yet another biography of Ayrton Senna. I’m not sure what niche Christopher Hilton has in mind with this, his sixth book on the Brazilian thrice-champion. But you can’t deny that Senna sells. The Whole Story compiles four of Hilton’s ealier biographies, the first two of which pre-dated Senna’s death in 1994. They are The Hard … Continue reading “Ayrton Senna: The Whole Story” (Christopher Hilton, 2004)
Formula One is just one of the sports that Richard Williams covers for the Guardian, and that breadth of knowledge gives him a refreshingly broad approach to the often insular world of motor sport in general, and F1 in particular. He is also the author of several books on motor sport and in this biography … Continue reading “Enzo Ferrari: A Life” (Richard Williams, 2001)
By a funny coincidence I received a copy of the latest in Veloce’s “Those were the days…” series on racing at Oulton Park on the same day that I heard a Formula One car would be running at the Cheshire circuit for the first time in almost eight years. In the pre-FOCA years Oulton Park … Continue reading “Motor Racing at Oulton Park in the 1960s” (Peter McFadyen, 2006)
Michael Schumacher is the biggest character in Formula One today. With an unapproachable stack of wins and championship victories to his name, his identity is writ large across the sport. Media fascination with him is inevitable and it’s hardly surprising that, after more than a decade at the top of the tree, what little time … Continue reading “Michael Schumacher: Driving Force” (Sabine Kehm)
The controversial 1994 season provoked at least two noteworthy ‘insider’ books: Damon Hill’s Grand Prix Year and Steve Matchett’s Life in the Fast Lane. Together they tell the stories of the two championship-contending teams that year: Williams (Hill) and Benetton (Matchett). And they make for an intriguing comparison with each other.
“Life in the Fast Lane” is the first of the two memoirs of former Benetton mechanic Steve Matchett. It focuses on the particularly tragic, turbulent and controversial 1994 season which nonetheless eventually saw Benetton’s Michael Schumacher win the World Drivers Championship. Steve Matchett’s book tells the story of a season’s racing from a mechanic’s point … Continue reading “Life in the Fast Lane” (Steve Matchett, 1995)
James Hunt – hedonist extraordinaire. His legendary off-track exploits would more than fill a book – but happily this biography isn’t an overdose of sensation. Gerald Donaldson looks at Hunt from all angles: the consummate professional whose attention would nonetheless wander; the man who accrued vast wealth then carelessly squandered it; the party animal and … Continue reading “James Hunt: The Biography” (Gerald Donaldson, 2003)
Often we are told not to judge books by their covers. With this paperback edition of Robert Edwards’ 2001 biography of Sir Stirling Moss, do the exact opposite. The iconic picture of a youthful Stirling, face blackened by race track filth but for two goggle-sized spots gleaming white around the eyes. It’s all there in … Continue reading “Stirling Moss: The Authorised Biography” (Robert Edwards, 2005)
Grand Prix motor racing reaches its centenary in 2006 so this retrospective look at some of the behemoth racers from the dawn of the century is well-timed. It may be a little on the dusty side but you don’t need thick-rimmed glasses and an enormous beard to enjoy this book.