Formula One – the great global soap opera. It unites the favelas of Brazil with the nerve-centre of the motorsport industry around Silverstone, taking in Bahrain, Melbourne, Suzuka, Shanghai and Monaco, and bringing a dash of colour and glamour to its millions of fans wherever it goes.
Since the first official championship in 1950, Formula One has served up more than its fair share of danger and excitement, thrills and spills, courage and tragedy, shunts and feuds – not to mention endless sprays of Champagne.
From the begoggled, oil-splattered young men with a life expectancy measured in laps rather than years of the sport’s early days, to the multi-millionaire drivers of today with their playboy lifestyles and ultra-safe machines, the Daily Telegraph has followed this four-wheeled travelling circus through glory, scandal, defeat and disaster.
Motor-racing correspondents W.A. McKenzie, Colin Dryden, Timothy Collings and Kevin Garside have brought the Grands Prix to life with their incisive reporting.
Outspoken former drivers like James Hunt, Damon Hill and Jackie Stewart have joined forces with their modern-day successors in the cockpit, David Coulthard, Eddie Irvine and Jenson Button, to provide the inside track for Telegraph readers.
And in their own inimitable styles, writers like Sarah Edworthy, Andrew Baker, Sue Mott and Martin Johnson have explored the glitz and grimy reality of life in the pit-lane, captured the view from inside the drivers’ motor homes, and spoken to the men and women who keep the show on the road.
From Juan-Manuel Fangio to Lewis Hamilton, via Stirling Moss, Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell and Michael Schumacher, Formula One has come a long way in six decades.
Now, through contemporary race reports, interviews and analysis, all laced with the humour and insight for which the Telegraph’s sports writing has become renowned, The Daily Telegraph Book of Formula One replays the evolution of this most colourful and controversial of contests, creating a compendious, high-octane history that no true petrolhead should be without.
Martin Smith was for many years Assistant Sports Editor of The Daily Telegraph.