Top critical review
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A clingfilm-thin follow-up to a previous worthwhile book.
on 24 December 2001
Prof Sid should be worth a read. He has seen more of the action and characters of F1, closer up, than anyone - even Murray Walker or B. Ecclestone. ...
The book consists of a hotchpotch of anecdotes presumably assembled from the ones left on his editor's floor from the previous book, many of which are banal, weak and lacking any connection with F1. This last point would not matter if the stories were pithy, witty and interesting: few are.
A pointless, skimpy and garbled re-hash of the 2000 season is trotted out to fill out the mid-section and the book ends with appendices of tables of extremely erudite but arcane statistics on injuries, construction materials, design specs and other matters vital to the FIA Medical and Technical Committees but of no interest to anyone else - not even Grand Prix drivers, I suspect - least of all Eddie Irvine ...
Prof Sid is a self-deprecating fellow. The result of the modesty of his narrative is that on many occasions you feel he's apologising for being present at the events and with the characters involved: consequently, descriptions are thin, lack colour and tend either to drift to vague, aimless conclusions or just stop dead, leaving the reader suspended, waiting for a point that will never be made.
By all means buy this book for a journey, swallow it whole at one sitting for the occasional insight or humorous anecdote expressed by an evidently charming man, then leave it on the plane without a second thought, as I did. One day we will have the full autobiography of Prof Sid, hopefully guided by a writer such as Alan Henry, Nigel Roebuck or David Tremayne. Unlike this one, that book will be worth keeping.