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Formula 1 Fanatic [Hardcover]

Koen Vergeer , David Colmer
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: 16.99
Price: 16.80 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

3 Feb 2003
FORMULA 1 FANATIC is a passionate and evocative history of the ultimate in motor-racing from the early 1970s to the present. It is also the story of an obsession. Vergeer cleverly interweaves the lives and deaths of such legendary drivers as Jochen Rindt, Ronnie Peterson, Gilles Villeneuve, and Ayrton Senna with the progress of his boyhood obsession. His accounts of the titanic fights between the top drivers - like the 'professor' Alain Prost (cool, precise and seldom failing) and the 'son of God' Senna (incredibly fast, but at times unpredictable) or Damon Hill (impossibly burdened by his father's reputation) and Michael Schumacher (apparently infallible) - are only matched by the even more ferocious rivalry between the top teams. For anyone enthralled by motor-racing, FORMULA 1 FANATIC is a feast of recognition and nostalgia. For those who know nothing about Formula 1, it explains a mystery.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (3 Feb 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747562148
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747562146
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.2 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 154,746 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Koen Vergeer's turbulent, passionate relationship with motorsport is chronicled in Formula One Fanatic. Witnessing a horrific, fatal crash is a strange starting point for a sporting obsession, but for this Dutch motorsport journalist, being in the race-day crowd when driver Roger Williamson was burnt to death in 1973, was an experience that plunged him into a love affair with the thrilling and dangerous world of Formula One.

From collecting toy replicas of the leading cars, and reconstructing whole seasons of racing on his bedroom floor--commentating to himself all the while--to covering the sport as a professional journalist, Vergeer has developed a romantic yet analytical view of F1, and weaves a series of compelling, intelligent stories out of 30 years of motorsport. Heroes and villains abound, seen through a fan's frustration and joy--and even in translation from the original Dutch, the language can be colourful and vibrant.

Vergeer's approach--part reminiscence, part philosophical analysis of the meaning and purpose of the sport--balances readability with substance, and while his viewpoint can be bizarre (could anyone else characterise Nigel "interesting" Mansell as "The Lion"?), he writes about what can sometimes seem a colourless business with a vigour and enthusiasm that is infectious.

The aficionados will revel in a fellow fan's personal reflections; newcomers will wonder why it's taken them so long to wise up to the sport's enduring qualities; and for the completely uninitiated, there's a comprehensive glossary of F1-speak, which, allied to Vergeer's passionate prose, makes this the ideal gift for the could-be F1 fan in your life. Even in today's troubled era of processional races and colourless stars, this book makes the prospect of the new F1 season something to relish. --Alex Hankin

About the Author

Koen Vergeer is the author of two novels, SAGRADA FAMILIA and DOSSIER DELVAUX. He is a reporter on the Belgian daily paper DE MORGEN and regularly covers Formula 1 and other motor-racing events. He lives in Utrecht. David Colmer is the author of the novella LEW, which will be published in Holland in 2003. His stories have appeared in Australia, Belgium and the UK. He has translated work by Annie M.G. Schmidt, Bart Moeyaert and Benno Barnard. He lives in Amsterdam.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By M. Lawrenson VINE VOICE
Formula 1 is lucky to have Koen Vergeer as a fan. As described in this book, his formative experience was the 1973 Dutch Grand Prix - the scene of one of the most horrendous accidents in motor racing history. Roger Williamson asphyxiated in an overturned burning car while another driver, David Purley, engaged in a lone, desperate bid to save him. A lot of people left F1 in disgust, but not Koen Vergeer.
Vergeer evocatively describes his life as a teenage F1 fan in the mid-1970s - getting the stickers and model cars; writing up his own race reports in a scrapbook; listening to his peers asking him why he likes 'watching someone burn to death in his car' (something still told to F1 fans today, or at least before the soporific 2002 season). He ticks off the list of fatalities in the sport during this period - Cevert, Revson, Donahue, Koinigg, Pryce. But none stop him watching, until he sees Ronnie Peterson dragged, legs smashed, from his burning Lotus in the 1978 Italian GP. Only then does he seek 'real life' thrills.
It may come as a surprise to British viewers, but Nigel Mansell was regarded as 'exciting' on the continent. His hard-charging performances for Lotus, Williams and Ferrari earned him the nickname 'Il Leone' (The Lion) from Italian fans. Vergeer was drawn back to F1 in the 80s by Mansell's combination of breathtaking racing and comical blunders. The story picks up from there, detailing the depressing politics and feuds in 1980s F1, which continue to plague it today.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful writing 1 April 2004
A marvellous book, and let's not forget the wonderful translation too. Mr Vergeer articulates why I've been a F1 fan for over 20 years too. Excellent, thrilling writing; He describes races with the excitement I felt watching them on TV.
And the chapter on Imola '94 is beautiful and yet horrible, I went cold reading his description of Ayrton Senna's fatal accident as it brought it all back, watching the car slide remorselesly into the wall.
A wonderful book. No F1 fan should be without it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars What makes the F1 fan tick 27 Feb 2004
By Russ
This is a very interesting book in which the author gives personal accounts of the track battles he's seen over the years,and is a personal attempt to convey the passion and feeling that Formula 1 creates in people.Worth owning.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Amateurish and irritating 30 Aug 2003
This is essentially a couple of hundred page essay on "why I am an F1 fan".
As such, it's not going to tell the dedicated F1 fan anything they don't know already, and as history it's too subjective, too fragmentary and too personal to be at all interesting.
I don't know whether the book was written in English as a second language, or whether it's been translated, but it reads oddly and the proofreading and fact-checking are both very shaky.
File with 'Fever Pitch' as something to read on the train as an alternative to falling asleep.
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