Formula 1: The Roaring '70s Hardcover – 15 Oct 2011
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epic photography --Sport Magazine, Oct 2011
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Initially its weight, size, high quality dust jacket and image on same; its overall 'presence' is in the best 'coffee table' tradition most impressive indeed. Open the book however and you are immediately confronted with around 25 pages of title/intro. 'blurb' in five languages no less! Eleven modest photos punctuate aforesaid text with I hasten to add ten being driver(s) portraits with only one, a scene at Montjuich, showing the rear view of two 'small' cars set against an albeit impressive, imposing backdrop of an historic and beautiful building. This to some degree sets the theme for the rest of the book.
Another initial impression and personal observation: the choice of paper used is somewhat unusual. A low-gloss almost matte reproduction on admittedly high quality but overly heavy paper. Its rather like thin card and feels as if you are turning two pages at once. It doesn't quite work for me.
Back to the contents. Luckily my personal interest is primarily in the first half of the decade, the books content does reflect a strong bias for these earlier years. There are some superb studies of Jochen and Nina Rindt (but only one small rather 'ordinary' photo of his GLTL Lotus 72 on track). I believe I have seen some of these and other similar if not exactly the same images depicted in this book elsewhere, including Paul Parker's book as referred to below within which several images are duplicated.
There are a few wonderful paddock and 'atmosphere' shots but these are far, far outnumbered by countless 'people pictures' some of which really should not have been included. It's a 'variation' on a pictorial social commentary, primarily of the people and not the cars or circuits; that's the only way I can begin to have a subjective 'stab' at describing this title.
Being interested albeit to a 'lesser' degree in the Lotus 78/79, Brabham-Alfa BT46 et'al period, there are no on-track renditions of these or many other 'Roaring 70s' iconic cars either. Further compounding this, with the odd exception, there is as mentioned a similar lack of content that conveys the atmosphere, nostalgia and above all the majesty of long lost circuits.
In summing up. This is a very good evocative tome that primarily relates the personalities and people of the time. It fills a genuine, useful and worthy gap from the era but only if you can afford its price or consider its content relevant to what you are looking for. It makes a good if comparatively expensive companion to 'Formula 1 In Camera 1970-79' (Volume 1) by 'RWS' and Paul Parker (despite several duplicated images) where you will find great on-track action images of the cars; that publication in my humble opinion is a quite superb and in these times a more affordable prime option.
Finally, I believe that the subtitle; 'The Roaring '70s' might be as another reviewer has stated perhaps somewhat misleading and might have possibly read something along the lines of: 'The Drivers, People & Aura of the '70s - A Personal View'?
People like the author surely have a responsibility to bring the past to life. Show that it really all did happen, in colour! (I say that, because most of the images we saw at the time were in black and white.) More than that, the 70's was the last time that F1 raced on the 'great' circuits, like the Nurburgring Nordschliefe, Barcelona's Montjuich park, Clermont Ferrand, and the old Spa francorchamps. And in cars that 'look' more like the F1 cars of today. Surely it'd be great to see lots of images of those circuits as they were at the time? The author frequented all of those races, but we get no images of what went on out on the circuit! Frustrating! Today, we can only imagine what it was like to see a F1 car on the aforementioned circuits, and sadly it seems that it still has to remain in our imagination.
To put it into perspective, there are no action pictures of the McLaren M23 (1973-1977), Tyrrell 006 (1973), Brabham BT44 (1974-5), Lotus 79 (1978), Williams FW07 (1979), the seminal cars of the era. How can one look at car development over the period? The best pictures are of Francois Cevert's Tyrrell, jumping at Montjuich, and an out of focus image of Ian Ashley's 1975 Williams equally jumping at the Flugplatz (on the Nurburgring), but that's pretty much it!
The author has showed us previously some ground-breaking and unconventional images of motor racing, and to be fair, he's always been keen to share as much as possible with the public.
Success in motor racing, however, is achieved on the track. It is there that the differences are showing between drivers and cars. But what this book portrays is almost a record of how 'fashion' changed over the period. There is no almost no inkling that we are dealing in a competitive sport.
Given what the author's photo library must consist of, this book has to be seen as a failure. It represents a personal look at the people who made up the F1 'circus' at that time. Sadly, it misses out on the cars, the action, the drama, the technology and the challenge of that period.
The publishers should understand that the F1 fans of today LOVE anything to do the great circuits. They LOVE cars that are tail-happy, which F1 cars of that era primarily were. I'm sure they'd love to see cars jumping at the Flugplatz, or the Phlantzgarten, or opposite-locking in and out of corners. Surely, it's what we all aspire to - seeing cars driven on the absolute limit!
Here, we have none of this. As I say, purely a fashion show. And as fashion goes out of date so quickly, it's a bad one.
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