Ultimate 2008 F1 gifts guide: Books

Posted on

| Written by

Looking for a good F1 book? Start here
Looking for a good F1 book? Start here

Where you’re after a new biography of Lewis Hamilton with all the 2008 bits in, a quality F1 book for a fan, or just a good old-fashioned hardback to curl up with on the sofa, this comprehensive guide to the best in new and recent F1 books will help yu pick the right title.

New F1 biographies

Lewis Hamilton biographies

Inevitably last year?s swathe of Lewis Hamilton biographies have been followed by several updated versions adding in details of his record-breaking championship win. Both the official biography and Andrew van der Burgt?s rather better effort have had the ??revised and updated? treatment.

Other new F1 biographies

Mark Hughes? biography of Tommy Byrne, an Irishman who was a junior rival of Ayrton Senna, but had a brief and unsuccessful F1 career, is a highly entertaining and accessible read. New titles have arrived to mark the 40th and 30th anniversaries of the passing of Jim Clark and Ronnie Peterson (respectively).

Terry Lovell has updated his biography of Bernie Ecclestone but if you?re already got the original, ??Bernie?s Game??, then you?re not missing much. Derek Daly?s ??Race to Win??, aimed at aspiring racing drivers, has an autobiographical slant.

Modern F1

Every McLaren competition and road car is featured ??Vodafone McLaren Mercedes: The Cars 1964 ?ǣ 2008?? (not reviewed) – from this year’s championship-winning MP4/23, to the iconic McLaren F1 road car, to the original cigar tube machines raced by team founder Bruce McLaren.

Maurice Hamilton has an analysis of last year?s controversial season which he compares with the memorable 1986 championship in ??Chequered Conflict??. Fans of Giorgio Piola?s excellent technical drawings will enjoy his ??Formula 1 Technical Analysis?? (not reviewed). For an analysis of a different kind, Roger Smith?s statistical study of F1 is much more interesting than it sounds and a must for F1 trivia buffs.

General F1

Alan Henry?s list of his top 100 F1 drivers is best read as pithy, frank biographies of a collection of Grand Prix greats, rather than a definitive attempt to rank every F1 driver ever. The selection of drivers seems provocative at times, and the absence of the driver who won the most races and most championships from the top ten is sure to raise eyebrows and heckles. If top tens are your thing Roger Smith has plenty of them in ?ǣ you guessed it ?ǣ The Book of Formula 1 Top Tens (not reviewed).

A varied selection of new F1 histories arrived this year. Forza Minardi is homage to the team that may always be remembered as F1?s perennial losers, even though the team they became (Toro Rosso) finally won a Grand Prix this year. ??Hitler?s Motor Racing Battles? is, as you?d expect, a more serious affair, but a fascinating account of a time when motor racing and world politics were inextricably linked.

Chas Parker?s history of Brands Hatch covers the development of the much-loved British track from every angle and is packed with period photography as well. The late Cliff Allison, one of the least well known British drivers to race for Ferrari, now has a biography as well.

Essential F1 books

New isn?t always better ?ǣ here are some fine choices if you?re looking for a good book on a popular F1 topic.

If you?re after a quality biography of Ayrton Senna avoid the breeze block-sized affairs and seek out Richard Williams? ??The Death of Ayrton Senna?? instead. It?s not a morbid account of Senna?s final days, just a quality biography that avoids the mawkish tone that pervades some of the writing about Senna. I haven?t read as many accounts of Enzo Ferrari?s life as I have Senna?s, but Williams? book on the great Ferrari patriarch who died 20 years ago is also an excellent read.

But if you want a hefty tome that is also a good read, Jackie Stewart?s autobiography ?ǣ which runs to 548 pages plus a DVD ?ǣ is a must. It should be fetching bargain prices now and the same goes for Robert Edwards? authoritative biography of Stirling Moss.

If there?s a quality, complete biography of Michael Schumacher yet then I haven?t read it yet. The ??official? ones are, as you?d expect, merely extended press releases. James Allen?s ??The Edge of Greatness?? is good but its scope is limited to Schumacher’s later years.

Looking beyond biographies, Robert Daley?s fascinating studies of F1 in the 1950s and 1960s have been re-published recently. Though I often hear about how good ??The Cruel Sport?? is I enjoyed ??Cars at Speed?? even more and read it all in a single sitting. I can?t give higher praise than that.

Looking for an F1 annual or season review? See here: Ultimate F1 gifts guide: 2008 annuals & 2009 calendars

F1 Fanatic earns a commission on products sold via the links to our affiliate partners above, however you are not charged any extra.

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

Posted on Categories Articles in fullTags

Promoted content from around the web | Become a RaceFans Supporter to hide this ad and others

  • 5 comments on “Ultimate 2008 F1 gifts guide: Books”

    1. We could all chip in and buy Keith Honda for Christmas?

    2. _Ben_

      We could all chip in and buy Keith Honda for Christmas?

      What a great idea!!! Can you just check with Nick Fry whats the amount he want to mismanage this time aound :-?

    3. I would warmly recommend “To Finish First”, by Phil Kerr, former McLaren managing director in the 60s and 70s.
      It looks like a coffee table book – as it is lavishly produced with many interesting pictures – but there is a lot of substance in it as well.

    4. Paul – Not seen that, I’ll look it up.

    5. I’ve just received the celebration edition of the Lewis Hamilton autobiography and it is wonderful. There are new unseen pictures in there (of Lewis and his family with Nelson Mandela plus others) and is really big and good quality. I am so pleased with it!

    Comments are closed.