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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every bit as good as "Life in the Fast Lane"
Steve Matchett returns with a book that in some ways expands on his earlier "Life In The Fast Lane" -- but whereas that was a race-by-race account of the turbulent 1994 season, this is a more relaxed account of his entire career as a mechanic, from apprenticeship in the late 70s via Ferrari and BMW dealerships through his F1 career with Benetton in the '90s...
Published on 7 Feb 2000 by Peter Fenelon

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Disapointed
Can be quite boring. Your best bet is to read it in between reading a thriller, you don't think it is going on and on then.
Published 1 month ago by Janice


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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every bit as good as "Life in the Fast Lane", 7 Feb 2000
By 
Peter Fenelon - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Mechanic's Tale (Paperback)
Steve Matchett returns with a book that in some ways expands on his earlier "Life In The Fast Lane" -- but whereas that was a race-by-race account of the turbulent 1994 season, this is a more relaxed account of his entire career as a mechanic, from apprenticeship in the late 70s via Ferrari and BMW dealerships through his F1 career with Benetton in the '90s. Sounds like it's of minority interest? Wrong. This is one of the best "insider" accounts of F1 I've ever read. Matchett is intelligent, perceptive, and writes with wit and economy about the characters, the deals, the technology and the atmosphere of F1. Since this is less "chronological" than his previous book there is more room for Matchett to reflect on what F1 has meant to him, and how working in it has affected him.
A unique and fascinating work.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating insight into F1's other side, 11 Sep 2002
This review is from: The Mechanic's Tale (Paperback)
The aspect of this book that really struck me was Matchett's ability to combine elements of a personal autobiography with an enthralling account of those first (and last) championship years for Benetton. I enjoyed reading about his ascension through the ranks of the team (he makes it sound all too easy!) but also about everything else he experienced that makes F1 such a special business to work in.
It was particularly interesting to read the book after having read 'The Death of Ayrton Senna' (Richard Williams), comparing the two different viewpoints of the Great F1 Witch-hunt of 1994, and Benetton's involvement in it. But, but offsetting the serious parts of the book are some wonderful comic moments (such as Nelson Piquet's ability to, ahem, break wind on cue).
I would say you don't have to be an F1 fan to enjoy this book (although it helps to have a little bit of technical knowledge, since Matchett's descriptions aren't always perfectly clear) but if you are an F1 fan, I guarantee you'll enjoy it. If you've ever watched a pit stop and thought, "I wonder why..." or "I wonder who..." this is the book for you.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite unique: a genuine original, and impossible to emulate, 16 Jan 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Mechanic's Tale (Paperback)
Steve Matchett's second book, The Mechanic's Tale, is a quite extraordinary work, in essence the memoires of a Grand Prix mechanic throughout his ten year career with the Benetton Formula One team. That an engineer has written such a fascinating and interesting account of his life inside the somewhat secretive world of Grand Prix racing is unique in itself, but what makes this book so outstanding is the authors original approach to the subject and his natural flair for writing: his style is witty, rhetorical and very readable. "Every so often in the endless stream of biogrophies churned out by the Formula One book industry," says Motoring News, "something different comes along. This is it." Matchett touches on all aspects of this prestgious job, describing the incredible effort that the team are expected to give, the dangers and high stress of the pit-stops, the myriad of famous drivers he has worked with, and how Benetton and Schumacher stormed the world championships - amid great controversy - in 1994 and 1995. But The Mechanic's Tale is more than a collection of derring-do racing escapades; through his occasional digressions Matchett takes the reader on many colourful diversions, including an ill-fated ballooning trip, his views on the future of computer technology and his slightly surreal comparisons between Formula One and Orwell's 1984. All of that, combined with his attemps to make reason of Lewis Carroll's Jabberwoky make this book anything but predictable.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping, in depth read-a must for any F1 fan, 12 Jan 2001
By A Customer
Before reading this book, I had never picked up a book about the inside goings-on of Formula 1. I must say that I`m glad I did. `The Mechanics Tale` is a superb read for anyone interested in the sport. The book goes through the entire career of a Mechanic in the high-paced sport that is F1. As soon as you pick it up, you won`t be able to put it down. It is interesting throughout and details many good(and bad things) about working for a Formula 1 team. The highs, lows, successes and failures are all excellently written about. The book makes you feel like you are there with the writer from start to finish, experiencing all the feelings and emotions. A gripping read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good read for f1 enthusiasts, 23 Aug 2011
By 
B. Palmer - See all my reviews
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A really enjoyable insight into the unknown world of an f1 mechanic. Knew it was a difficult and skilled job but didn't know the mechanics are also responsible for the very demanding role of pit-stops wheel-changes and previously re-fuelling. Can thoroughly recommend this book to all who love motor-racing. Excellent!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Loses a little momentum, 4 Dec 2002
This review is from: The Mechanic's Tale (Paperback)
A very interesting book, presenting an insider's view of the world of Formula One. I was engrossed in the early years - breaking into Formula One and coming to terms with the lifestyle of an F1 mechanic. However, when the story should have become even more interesting - the world championship years of 1994 & 1995 - the description became more and more superficial. I'm sure this is a deliberate move - the author has already written his story of the 1994 world championship in another book. But if this book is considered on its own, the interest generated by the early chapters is lost towards the end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Machanics Tale, 23 May 2013
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I found this both interesting and insightful. I particularly enjoyed the description of how the engine management system works.Brilliant and funny
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book, 6 Jan 2013
A very interesting book with lots of the behind the scenes information about F1 and life around the job of a F1 Mechanic
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting book, 23 July 2012
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This review is from: The Mechanic's Tale (Paperback)
A good book if your into Formula 1 as it gives the reader a feel of what its like behind the scenes. Matchett keeps you interested and entertained while writing about the stages he had to go through to become a grand prix mechanic to life in the pitlanes on a race weekend to day to day chores back at the factory. All in all a really good read :)
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2.0 out of 5 stars Starts well but drifts and looses focus, 15 May 2014
By 
J. Tracey "CrazyPaving" (Saddleworth) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Mechanic's Tale (Paperback)
This popped up as a recommendation and as I was about to head off for a week in the sun and as I love F1 I thought I'd give it a go. It starts off well and the author talks about his early years before making the break into F1 with pace and interest.

Initially he covers the shock of working in F1 well, but as a year by year account of his career, the books seems to loose focus and it feels like the author got bored of writing about F1. Indeed, from about halfway through it appears he had gotten bored of F1 when he was working within it, but he stuck it out to win the constructors.

He clearer had ambitions to be a serious writer and he punctuates his F1 anecdotes with stories about holidays and his personal life. Sadly these come across as an attempt to showcase his writing ability rather than to entertain as the stories are incongruous to the book and not very interesting. I skim read quite a lot of these parts as they were wordy and dull.

He then skims through the 94 and 95 seasons, states cars should be remotely driven and built as a feat of engineering and scoffs as the FIA wanting F1 to be a drivers championship. Hardly what any true F1 fan thinks. He then seems to get bored with the book, moans about his life in F1 before the book ends with no real story or closing point.

The fact that I know more about his house in France, his publisher and his first book than any of the technical aspects of the F1 world championship winning car says it all about this book.

In the end, starts well, lost its way, became boring then stops. I wouldn't recommend it.
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The Mechanic's Tale
The Mechanic's Tale by Steve Matchett (Paperback - 3 Feb 2000)
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