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on 30 March 2010
This is a fantastic introduction to the history of Formula 1. The opening chapters deal with the beginnings of motor sport, from the road races between cities (almost invariably starting in Paris) to the dominance of Auto Union and Mercedes prior to World War II. The book really takes off with the start of the Formula One world championship in 1950, dealing with the principal bits of history from then to the present through a series of snapshots looking at the principal teams, team bosses and drivers. It's not as detailed as some other books on the subject (as a general introduction, you wouldn't expect it to be), but Jennings has an easy and very readable style, writing in such a way that you just keep wanting to read the next chapter. He also injects some humour into a sport that can often take itself far too seriously. The only criticism of this is that there are far too few photos, although the ones that are included are all of very good quality. Overall, an excellent book.
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on 22 January 2012
I purchased the book as a bit of light reading, and while the beginning of the book showed promise to being an interesting read, it certainly ended up as a disappointment.

I had two main problems with the book:

Firstly, the writer Charles Jennings pays more attention to some eras then others. The 1990s and 2000s are barely touched upon for example compared to the endless content on the 70s area. Of course we have our favourite era's and some are more interesting than others, but as a chronological introduction to Formula One, it certainly fast forwarded through some stories. It is also evident that Jennings has particular feelings toward certain drivers and teams. Whether or not this is deliberate i am not sure, but Lotus seems to be glorified a lot in the book, while Senna is victimised and even demonised, which paints an inaccurate picture i believe of not only Lotus' downfall and Senna's achievements.

Secondly, there are few too many mistakes in this book. Too often i find myself, no expert mind you, correcting what i've just read. "Alain Prost left Mclaren at the end of 1990" he didn't and "Nigel Mansell finally won the World Championship in 1994"...1992, are both examples that spring to mind.

It is because of this i rate the book as poorly as i have.
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on 6 September 2011
A good read, very enjoyable and very readable but was amazed when looking at the list of constructors' championships at the back of the book as it all nearly wrong!!! Right from 1958 -2010 there is a mistake for practically every year. For example apparently Lewis Hamilton won the 2008 championship in a FERRARI and Michael Schumacher won the 1994 world championship in a WILLIAMS! It is like that for nearly ever year. I do hope this is a publishers error and not the Authors error and maybe the publishers should get on to re-printing this book without the mistakes very soon. It is a shame because otherwise it is a good book.
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on 9 August 2013
Here we go again yet another weekend F1 journalist carrying out his latest assignment, which is a sort of whistle stop tour through F1 history.

Seasoned F1 enthusiasts will gain virtually nothing from this because most if not all the content has been taken from various other F1 titles, The eagle eyed will notice some fairly large chunks of interviews from some well known F1 titles.

The problem with books such as these is that somehow, while being able to state the facts and figures and quote the usual quotes, the soul of F1 is always missing - the soul that real F1 journalists bring like Roebuck and Jenkinson - these guys have been there and seen it all as well as having been both friends and enemies to most of the F1 stars from the last 50 years, and it makes a whole amount of difference. This author is simply going through the motions, and it shows.

As ever with these weekend F1 'experts' there are the usual litany of errors. Appendix I contains some fantastic howlers; here's a selection of drivers and their teams....

Ronnie Peterson 1978 (Ferrari)

Gilles Villeneuve 1979 (Williams)

Nelson Piquet 1980 (Ligier)

Nelson Piquet 1981 (Williams)
Alan Jones 1981 (Renault)

Keke Rosberg 1982 (Ferrari) - (This one had me rolling around the floor - thanks Mr Jennings!!)

And it goes on and on......Please, please bring back Roebuck and Jenks!!!!
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on 7 April 2012
I can highly recommend this book to anyone who is a casual fan of Formula One and who is interested in learning some more about the history of the sport.

There can be no doubt that the author has undertaken a lot of research and really knows the subject well. What is even more important is his obvious passion for the sport, which really shines out on every page. His style is one of great enthusiasm - you can almost imagine that you're sat in the pub having a pint with him as he recounts all of the tales that he has learned.

This is not a technical book - it concentrates more on the personalities involved with the sport, with all their fascinating little foibles which makes for very interesting reading.

For someone who is a complete 'petrolhead' and who has already read a dozen books on the subject, I can imagine that they might find this book a little lightweight. But anyone else without a good understanding of Formula One throughout its history is sure to thoroughly enjoy this book.
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on 4 April 2012
The story of Formula 1, told through the personalities of high profile drivers and some of the top engineers and team bosses. The origins of motor racing are dealt with rather briefly. Concentrates mainly on the 60s and 70s. I would have liked more on the cars and the circuits rather than just the people. Rushes through the last few years too quickly. Overall an informative and interesting read, written in a lively and engaging style.
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on 7 January 2011
Bought this book as a Christmas present for an avid F1 fan who is a relative novice of all things F1 and the history. He was absolutely delighted with it and couldn't wait to get home and get stuck in! Now for the bonuses - ordered very early for Christmas so it arrived very speedily, good price and free delivery. Ticked all the boxes - happy customer, happy gift receiver!
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on 18 June 2012
I haven't finished this book yet but it is a really good read, especially for those interested in F1's history. Goes right back to the early stages of F1 and brings out just what a dangerous sport it is.
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on 5 September 2013
Lots of stuff about F1 World Champions down the years. The author puts all of our heroes in perspective as well as having collected a lot of factoids and gossip you may not be familiar with.

If you're an ancient old geezer like me you will probably have come across a lot of this before, but most folks will be in for a few surprises!

Who was that woman in many of the Fangio photos?

Did Jim Clark really need help to get dressed in the morning?

Jaguar - biggest failures in F1?

It's well worth a read.
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on 29 January 2014
I thoroughly enjoyed Burning Rubber. It gives a very interesting insight into racing both past and present. It moved well and I found none of it boring. I recommend it for those of us who are very interested in F1 but not completely obsessed by it. Well done Charles Jennings
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