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I Just Made the Tea: Tales from 30 Years Inside Formula 1 [Hardcover]

Di Spires , Bernard Ferguson
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 Jun 2012
This memoir of Di Spires looks at Formula 1 from a very unusual viewpoint. She travelled the world in Formula 1 for 30 years, running the team motorhome for a succession of different teams. As well as Formula 1 people, she encountered personalities from every walk of life, from royalty to criminals on the run. Her stories range from the hilarious to the tragic and provide a unique perspective. This is a fast-paced read packed with surprising snippets and observations, with plenty of intimate insight into what the drivers are really like.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: J H Haynes & Co Ltd (7 Jun 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857332236
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857332233
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 3.3 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 248,305 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description


Shortlisted for British Sports Book of the Year Awards 2013 --British Sports Book of the Year Awards

About the Author

With her husband Stuart, Di Spires spent 30 years running team motorhomes in the Formula 1 paddock and her experiences resulted in this book. Prior to that she was a civil servant working for ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) resolving strikes, and such was the demand for ACAS's services at British Leyland that for a long time she had a permanent office there. Her co-author is also someone with two aspects to his working life. Bernard Ferguson has worked in motor racing for 40 years, 23 of them at Cosworth, latterly as Director of Motorsport. In retirement he decided to try his hand at writing by taking on this project with Di Spires.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
'I Just Made the Tea' charts the three decades Di Spires and her husband, Stuart, have spent providing catering and hospitality within the hustle-bustle of top flight motor sport and spans the period from when hospitality was in its infancy and fairly rudimentary to the slick corporate industry it has become today. This in itself would be a fascinating insight into an area of the sport that is rarely discussed, but Di and co-writer, Bernard Ferguson, have done so in a highly entertaining, informal and affectionate manner.

The book follows a broadly chronological framework with occasional chapters devoted to a particular theme, for example, some of the racetracks Di and Stuart visited, or particularly important individuals who have touched their lives as and when they enter the story, such as Elio de Angelis, Flavio Briatore and Micheal Schumacher. Di and Stuart spent several years with Benetton, including the period during which Schumacher won his two World Championships for the team, and, in this context, 'I Just Made the Tea' provides an interesting counterpoint and companion piece to the books by Steve Matchett ('Life in the Fast Lane' and 'The Mechanic's Tale'), who was a race mechanic for Benetton during the same period.

Aside from conveying the genuine respect and affection the motor sport fraternity clearly has for Di and Stuart, or 'Mum and Dad', as they are called by everybody, the joy of this book is the number of anecdotes and character studies - made possible due to the informality of many contexts. The stories cover a range of emotions, from delight (such as when discussing Nelson Piquet, with whom Di and Stuart forged a particularly strong bond), to frustration over logistical headaches and the depths of despair whenever tragedy arose.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good news 25 Jun 2012
Most of time that Di's book relates to covers most of the time I have spent in F1. Her tale totally reflects how chaotic it was for the Motorhomers in the early years. They were expected to do everything whilst receiving very little reward. Many of the anecdotes in the book I had forgotten about and they are clearly and humourously reflected very accurately.

Every F1 fan should get a copy and read a real tale about how F1 worked in the alst 30 years.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great fun 17 July 2012
By sandyp
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I love this book. Its for anyone with an interest in F1, giving some fascinating behind the scenes info. You feel you get to know the drivers a little and shows that it is not always a glamorous life! Di is a warm and motherly soul, that comes across very well and her tales are entertaining, funny and sometimes tragic. It also shows the changing face of F1, not always for the better I felt. Took it on hols with me, a thoroughly good read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read 28 Jun 2012
As a formula 1 fan I have learnt a huge amount, how things have changed!!
As a person I have learnt one very important thing "follow your dream".
Di Spires obviously did this with her husband and the book really does convey how a positive approach gave them a wonderful career (albeit with some very sad times).
I would recommend it to anyone who loves motor racing or just wants a pointer on how to approach life,
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining and interesting book 2 Oct 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you are interested in F1 and motorsport you will find it a fascinating read. Lots of inside information. Lots of laughs and some very sad moments. Also insight into the daunting task facing the early catering and hospitality providers. As an avid motorsport fan I found this book an excellent read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really great read 21 Sep 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I loved the book and couldn't put it down, it spans a time that doesn't seem real in todays' F1 paddock and I just wonder how much fun they have these days. So funny and so poignant, Di and Stu certainly were Mum and Dad, and still are. Even if you are not a motor sport enthusiast the book is interesting and a must read.
I am xwaiting for the sequel!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brown Betty 14 Sep 2012
By Lynden
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I loved reading this book as it sums up how much fun was had in the Paddock 10 years ago before everything became so corporate. Stu and Di were loved by everyone as can be seen from the number of drivers who are part of their story. Its a must read for genuine motor racing fans and a wonderful insight into behind the scenes fun in former years of our sport. Do buy the book and help support my dear friends the Spires into their rest years!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant it is here!!!! 25 July 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Just made the tea is an excellent book written by a lady I can only describe as a diamond. One so many people in the pit lane ranging from team principles and technical directors right down to the mechanics and in my case tyre engineers call Mum. Di has been saying for as long as I have known her (and longer my colleagues tell me) she would write this book, and she has finally achieved this much to the credit of her and Bernard (who I have to admit I have not meet but have heard much of).
I tend to read in transit to the Grand Prix's (on planes) and have had many odd looks due to bursting in to fits of laughter and holding back the tears and sometimes shedding one or two. I only worked for a short 3 years with Mum and Dad when they were the Bridgestone teams test catering and I can honestly say there is a lot of love for these two characters not just in Bridgestone but in the paddock. Even my own parents know them as mum and dad after a trip testing to Silverstone.
These stories are just the tip of the iceberg from Mum so sit back, relax and enjoy ride because it has been one hell of career!!!!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful tales from inside F1
Wonderful tales from inside F1. Good insight into the world of F1 and how it has changed over the last 30 years. Could really imagine being there.
Published 16 months ago by Jim Fergusson
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
Okay, let's get the criticisms done first. The writing style is a little clumsy and the chapters about WRC are less interesting for a Formula One fan. Read more
Published 20 months ago by R. Hart
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, great memories
This is an excellent book and illustrates perfectly from an "unsung hero from behind the scenes" perspective of how the world of Formula One has changed over the years into the... Read more
Published 21 months ago by MickyD
4.0 out of 5 stars I just made the tea.
Great book, read it. It really is an insight into how the 'behind the scenes' has developed over the years in in F1. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Mr. P. C. Anderson
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice insider info on formula 1
This is a lovely book written by Di Spires, with help from Bernard Ferguson, two people who have worked in Formula 1 for years. It is funny and different. Read more
Published 22 months ago by MmeEAB
5.0 out of 5 stars Only 30 years ????
Being keen on F1 racing and most forms of motorsport I have now read and enjoyed the book. It is amazing that two people could dedicate their working lives for the love of... Read more
Published 23 months ago by BrynMawr
2.0 out of 5 stars Early F1 tome
Reads like a diary - or notes from which a more interesting book could be written - fairly mundane book with no great revelations about either the industry or the drivers - apart... Read more
Published on 9 Aug 2012 by Barry
5.0 out of 5 stars At last the book has been published !
Having known Di and Stu Spires for a good many years, and also working with them at Benetton Formula, I have been looking forward to this book being published - and it does not... Read more
Published on 25 July 2012 by AJ
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