Formula One books

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Tom Castellani
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Formula One books

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Wikipedia is fantastic... Well, at summaries and statistics. If I want race results or a small bit of general information then it's the first place I check. If you want an in-depth knowledge about something however then steer clear of the net and turn to good ol' books.

Here I will list some that I have read recently or am soon to read and perhaps you guys can suggest others. I'm also including a short opinion on each to help you along.

  • Powerbrokers, The Battle For F1's Billions - Alan Henry
    Honestly I didn't get far into this one, it simply didn't hold my attention. Some might think otherwise though.
  • Gilles Villeneuve - Gerald Donaldson
    With this I fell in love with Gilles. An excellent book on one of the best drivers ever to have competed in F1. If you haven't yet read this and don't know much about Gilles, GET IT NOW!
  • It Is What It Is, The Autobiography - David Coulthard
    Although this was quite interesting it's definitely not the cream of the crop. The subject sometimes wanders a little and he repeats himself from time to time. Having said that the path of his career is good to read and there's a dabble of humor thrown in.
  • Independent Man, The Autobiography - Eddie Jordan
    I really quite enjoyed this one, a great insight into the Jordan team and it's path to F1. It has a bit of Eddie's cheeky nature with a few light hearted anecdotes etc. It also details the developments of each season in terms of the car which is very interesting.
  • To Hell And Back : An Autobiography - Niki Lauda
    Written in 1985 right at the (actual) end of Lauda's career I found this quite interesting. 'The Computer' as he was nicknamed is surprisingly witty and makes this an intriguing read. With a healthy mix of the man on and off the track, recommended to all fans of the sport.
  • Working The Wheel - Martin Brundle
    This book focuses on the tracks of Formula One past and present. Brundle recounts his own experiences of the tracks and surrounding areas and expect lots of hire car anecdotes. It maintains a combination of humor and technical aspects which keeps it interesting.
  • Memories Of Ayrton Senna - Christopher Hilton
    Only one of the books Hilton has written on Senna although this is more of a compilation. It's essentially a vast bank of quotes and stories from those that knew Senna with some brilliant first-hand recounts. A must for any Senna fan.
  • Life At The Limit, Triumph And Tragedy In Formula One - Sid Watkins
    As head of medical and safety in F1 from 1978 to 2004 Sid knows practically everyone in F1. This first installment was written in 1996 and although is discusses lots of the serious acpects of F1 and safety it's chock full of anecdotes. A really enjoyable read, you won't regret it!
  • Beyond The Limit - Sid Watkins
    This second book covers the progression from 1996 to 2000. It details each race from 2000 and although it isn't as long as the previous book includes a bit of extra info. A good follow up to Sid's first book.
  • Unraced, Formula One's Lost Cars - S. S. Collins
    I got this from the library, flicked through and took it back. Nothing very special, just 10 failed entries. Maybe if you're interested in the finer details this will interest you but I couldn't be bothered with it.
  • Winning Is Not Enough, The Autobiography - Jackie Stewart
    I've been meaning to read this for some time and have made a start but only a few pages. I expect it to be interesting but it is worryingly thick. I only say worryingly because from the picture pages I know it's going to go off track and onto things like golf and dogs... I suppose I'll get around to it soon, gotta love Jackie.
  • Chasing the Title - Nigel Roebuck
    Nigel is one of, if not the top motorsports journalist about. This is one of his 13 books and covers 50 years of F1, written in 1999. Another one I've only just started but I trust that it'll offer good information on the sport as a whole.
  • Driven Man, David Richards, Prodrive, And The Race To Win - Alan Henry
    Although I enjoyed some of it, I never finished this book. It gives good information on Prodrive but the problem is that's mainly all it does. It follows the format; This happened, then this happened, then this happened, and so on... Again I wouldn't discourage anyone from it but it doesn't have the character of some books I've read.
  • My Autobiography, The People's Champion - Nigel Mansell
    I spotted this in a charity shop and had to get it. I haven't read it yet but I've always admired Mansell and look forward to reading it.
  • Flat Out, Flat Broke, Formula 1 The Hard Way! - Perry McCarthy
    Perry, often known as the original Stig from Top Gear is a very funny guy and absolutely nuts. I'm only a few chapters into this book and it's just a barrel of laughs. Although he wasn't the most successful driver he's an experienced racer with lots of connections, just his nature makes this a better read than most. Plus, he wore a Gilles Villeneuve-esque helmet from 1992...

I hope you guys can make use of some of this and also recommend some of your favourites. I'm constantly on the look out for more decent books so I can cram as much F1 knowledge into my brain. Another one I'm after is 'Gerhard Berger, The Human Face Of F1', there doesn't seem to be any other Berger books about and he pulled plenty of pranks I'd love to read about.
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mx_tifoso
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Re: Formula One books

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Thank you for the suggestions Tom, it's good to know that people still read books in this world!

Coincidentally you happened to mention SS Colins, real name Sam Collins, he is actually a fellow member here at F1T and works mainly for RaceCarEngineering magazine.
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joemang
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Re: Formula One books

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I also believe books to be the best source for info. Although Formula one being what it is, it's difficult to get the scoop on the latest innovations.

I would recommend these books (of my over 60 books on the subject of motorcars and motor racing).

For the armchair reader;

- Life in the Fast Lane - by Steve Matchett

He goes into the details of what its like to be a member of a formula 1 team. A great book for those who wonder what it would be like to be part of this lifestyle.

- The Chariot Makers - by Steve Matchett

An enjoyable read, although most people in this forum are already aware of the more general parts of formula one car design.

- Grand Prix Car Design and Technology in the 1980's - by Alan Henry

Although this book is old and dated in terms of F1 tech, it does provide insight into the first carbon chassis, and the ideas that the designers had in those days. I've read it countless times and I may just read it again.

- Colin Chapmans biography - (Sorry I can't remember the name nor the author)

This was a great read, and a great look at one of the most influential designers in the history of F1. Unfortunately I borrowed it a few years ago, and read it, but forgot who wrote it.

For the Ferrari fans;

- Ferrari, The passion and the Pain - by Jane Nottage

Covers the period from 1996 until just before the beginning of the Ferrari era. A great book with serious insight into the team. A team I believe was probably the greatest in the history if Formula 1.

For the Students or any other tech head;


- The whole Carroll Smith series of "To Win" books

- Race Car Engineering and Mechanics - by Paul Van Valkenburgh

- Race Car Vehicle Dynamics - by the Milliken Brothers

The latter is very very very dry!!! :shock: but if you're designing a Formula car or just want to know what's going on with racecar dynamics, this is for you.

I'll be buying a few more books very shortly, and I'll be sure to give my assessment.

Happy reading!!

Joe

donskar
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Re: Formula One books

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As all who have suffered through my posts know, I am a dinosaur who has followed F1 since the 1960s - and am not particularly impressed with the state of today's F1 (a freeze on engine development?!)

With that context, I do believe that a true F1 fan cares about how we got here as well as where we are.

I unreservedly recommend The Grand Prix car, 1954 - 1966, by LJK Setright. Clear, concise, superbly written. He can make understandable topics as arcane as exhaust tuning. I taught technical writing at several Ameican universities in the 1970's and often referred my students to this book as an excellent example of technical writing. Does anyone know if this book was ever updated to go beyond 1966?

Louis T. Stanley wrote a series of books, each covering a single F1 season. Grand Prix: The 1964 World Championship is excellent. (Intro by John Surtees)

A good general reference: The Complete Encyclopedia of Formula One, by Bruce Jones (intro by Gordon Murray). The writing is quite poor (every third or fourth sentence begins with "And") but it is an exhaustive reference.
Enzo Ferrari was a great man. But he was not a good man. -- Phil Hill

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Tom Castellani
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Re: Formula One books

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Thanks for the heads up on some of the older stuff donskar. I'm only eighteen (it's my birthday today actually) so I'm working through F1 history. I'm not doing it linearly nor historically, mainly just getting books from the library that take my fancy.

Either way, my knowledge is limited to certain people and years not including much from the early ones, so I have much to learn. I finished Perry McCarthy's book and it is without a doubt one of the best I have read. Thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish.

Thanks also to joemang, definitely some to check out there. My Dad actually has all the Carroll Smith books, being a race engine tuner of nearly 30 years. I've flicked through them as they were sitting around and understand none of it... He hasn't really taught me about engines despite it being his profession, to make up for it I had my brother get me this for my birthday: http://www.haynes.co.uk/webapp/wcs/stor ... &langId=-1

Thanks again guys!
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Belatti
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Re: Formula One books

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Here the books I own:

- Grand Prix Fascination Formula 1 by Rainer W. Schlegelmilch
A LOT of amazing pictures from 1969 till 1993. A fundamental book to get to know F1 cars history and evolution. In the central page there is a double poster with pictures from the same angle: Lotus, Brabham, Ferrari, McLaren, Tyrrell and Williams, from 1975 till 1992 where you can truly see the evolution of F1 cars. Pics are divided in chapters: 1969-1993, Drivers, Variations, Cars, Faces, Helmets, Bosses, and Advertising+Women+Fans+Snapshots

This book is a MUST.

- 1000 imagenes de Ferrrari A nice Ferrari picture book

- The story of the prancing horse by Roberto Boccafogli
A goog book to understand why Ferrari is what it is: the most prestigious car brand in History. Also it has a nice cover of Gilles and the old Ferrari fart laughing and drinking a bottle of wine. I think only Gilles could do that.

Then I have got half a dozen of Yearbooks by various publishers, from 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1998.

Finally, the BEST F1 book I have got:

- Ayrton Senna do Brasil by Francisco Santos
A book finished in July, 1994. I barely imagine the effort and suffering the author put together to release that book in such short period of time. Prefaces from Jackie Stewart, Emerson and Christian Fittipaldi, Rubens Barrichello, Max Mosley and Mauricio Gugelmin.
Read it and you will know why I always say that Ayrton has won 4 WDC and Prost just 3. And yeah, I think that the Author is not biased at all.
"You need great passion, because everything you do with great pleasure, you do well." -Juan Manuel Fangio

"I have no idols. I admire work, dedication and competence." -Ayrton Senna

Vitesse
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Re: Formula One books

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donskar wrote:As all who have suffered through my posts know, I am a dinosaur who has followed F1 since the 1960s - and am not particularly impressed with the state of today's F1 (a freeze on engine development?!)

With that context, I do believe that a true F1 fan cares about how we got here as well as where we are.

I unreservedly recommend The Grand Prix car, 1954 - 1966, by LJK Setright. Clear, concise, superbly written. He can make understandable topics as arcane as exhaust tuning. I taught technical writing at several Ameican universities in the 1970's and often referred my students to this book as an excellent example of technical writing. Does anyone know if this book was ever updated to go beyond 1966?

Louis T. Stanley wrote a series of books, each covering a single F1 season. Grand Prix: The 1964 World Championship is excellent. (Intro by John Surtees)

A good general reference: The Complete Encyclopedia of Formula One, by Bruce Jones (intro by Gordon Murray). The writing is quite poor (every third or fourth sentence begins with "And") but it is an exhaustive reference.
No, Setright was never updated as such. However, there is a sequel, by Doug Nye: "The Autocourse History of the Grand Prix Car". The first edition covered 1966-85. It was revised and updated for a second edition to cover 1966-91. As yet, there is no comprehensive book on the years since then.

Neither edition is easy to find these days though.

For the years before 1954, seek out Laurence Pomeroy's "The Grand Prix Car": two volumes of masterful technical writing which Setright intended his book to supplement. Be prepared to pay very big money though ....

For a general history, stretching right back to the dawn of racing, I'd recommend "The Complete History of Grand Prix Motor Racing" by Adriano Cimarosti. Sadly out of print, but fairly plentiful secondhand: there was also an earlier edition called "The Camel History of Grand Prix Motor Racing".
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Oh, good friends we have lost
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You can't forget your past

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donskar
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Re: Formula One books

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Thanks for mentioning Laurence Pomeroy - a horrible omission on my part.
Enzo Ferrari was a great man. But he was not a good man. -- Phil Hill

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flynfrog
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Re: Formula One books

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Speed addicts is also a great book for the pictures alone

and the writing isn't so bad either

MadMatt
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Re: Formula One books

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Thought I would revive this thread since I am in the middle of a great book (quite rare for me to look forward to the evenings just to read that book):
  • Second time around - Niki Lauda
    If you like the ground effect area this is a great book. Gives lots of insides on how these cars were driven, the politics behind them, and in pure Lauda style. Some people are surprised as his declarations in the medias these days, but if you read this book, you'll see he's always been like that. Like him or not, this guy is a real petrol head!

Fulcrum
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Re: Formula One books

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I've read one of the books mentioned above:

Winning Is Not Enough, The Autobiography - Jackie Stewart

While interesting, it is rather self-aggrandizing which begins to wear thin by the time you get away from the F1 career and realize there are many pages left.

I realize Jackie is an accomplished individual, on the track and off, but the constant name drops give the impression of someone who is more concerned with knowing people than being himself. It felt more like an advertisement than a biography.

That said it held my attention, and is worth a casual read, in spite of the aforementioned caveats.

ChrisF1
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Re: Formula One books

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I'm in the process of a house move, and found the previously mentioned Sid Watkins books. If you haven't read them, do so! I really enjoyed these when I read them about 4-5 years back, and will be sitting down to read them again shortly.

Greg Locock
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Re: Formula One books

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Fulcrum wrote:I've read one of the books mentioned above:

Winning Is Not Enough, The Autobiography - Jackie Stewart

While interesting, it is rather self-aggrandizing which begins to wear thin by the time you get away from the F1 career and realize there are many pages left.

I realize Jackie is an accomplished individual, on the track and off, but the constant name drops give the impression of someone who is more concerned with knowing people than being himself. It felt more like an advertisement than a biography.
That's what he's like in person, so I guess it is quite an accurate picture!

No mention yet of Peter Wright's books, the Ferrarir 2000 one in particular is a great reference on the technical side.

BeerBear89
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Re: Formula One books

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- The story of the prancing horse by Roberto Boccafogli
A goog book to understand why Ferrari is what it is: the most prestigious car brand in History. Also it has a nice cover of Gilles and the old Ferrari fart laughing and drinking a bottle of wine. I think only Gilles could do that.
I've been looking for this book, it's so hard to get in my area. Is there any chance to find an "online" version of it? Like an ebook or something?
Get busy living or get busy dying. —Timothy Robbins, The Shawshank Redemption

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F1NAC
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Re: Formula One books

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Did anyone read Newey's book?

Also is there on amazon some sort of "newish" book regarding vehicle dynamics, designing etc for tech freaks?