One of the great privileges of my job is that I am occasionally sent books to read and review. My office has, over the years, started to resemble a rather ramshackle motorsport library more than it does a working space conducive to intelligent thought and I am delighted to report that at the start of this week, the library grew once again.
The tome which arrived at my door is truly a book that all self respecting motorsport fans should consider purchasing, because to my mind it ticks all the boxes a book can tick. Beautifully written, gloriously illustrated, and printed to an exceptional level of quality, “Art of the Formula 1 Race Car” has instantly placed itself among my favourite motorsport books.
Its 208 pages are filled with some of the most stunning images of racing cars you will ever see, as the story of Formula 1’s history is told through its most beautiful cars. And that’s one of the things I like the most about this book – it’s not necessarily about the most successful cars, just the ones whose aching beauty has set them apart from the competition. The quality of the photography at the hand of James Mann also gives us a detailed look at the engineering excellence of these creations, all of which are the real deal, the proper racers and not museum replicas. Indeed, the very first car profiled, the Alfa 158 is THE car driven by Guiseppe Farina to victory at the very first Formula 1 Grand Prix in May 1950.
From there, we are taken on a beauty-driven ride through F1’s past, stopping to gaze at the Maserati 250F, the Mercedez-Benz W196 streamliner, Lancia D50, BRM P57, Brabham BT20, Lotus 49B, Lotus 72, Tyrrell 003, Tyrrell P34, Ferrari 312T3, Williams FW07, McLaren MP4/4, Leyton House CG901, Jordan 191, Williams FW14, Ferrari F1-2000 and finally the McLaren MP4-23. Some list, I’m sure you’ll agree.
What marks this book out from your regular coffee table F1 photo album however, is Stuart Codling’s wonderfully written commentary. Stuart perfectly captures not only the stories behind the concept, design and realisation of these magnificent cars, but also manages to provide a history of their racing careers whilst also reflecting the heartstring-pulling passion which their sumptuous lines evoke. And with expert analysis from design legend Gordon Murray, you’re pretty much in F1 heaven.
Stuart’s one of the best writers in the business, and his first book has been a long time coming. I would advise any and all F1 fans to check out his blog, and to invest their hard-earned on his rather brilliant book.
However, if you’d rather not pay for one at all, then you’ll be very pleased to hear that I was accidentally sent two copies, and Stuart has agreed that I can give one away to the readers of my blog. Hurrah!
If you’d like to win a copy of the book, simply reply to this post and let me know your opinion on the single most beautiful F1 car ever designed. It can be one of the ones from the book, or one which you think has been a staggering omission from the list. Let me know your reasons on why you love it so much and find it so beautiful, I’ll narrow the list down to my top five and get Stuart to pick his favourite from that list. Et voila, we’ll have a winner.
Shall we say all entries to be in by chequered flag at the Chinese Grand Prix?