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I Just Made the Tea: Tales from 30 Years Inside Formula 1 Hardcover – 7 Jun 2012

4.8 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: J H Haynes & Co Ltd; First Edition edition (7 Jun. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857332236
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857332233
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.7 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 537,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

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

4.8 out of 5 stars
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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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Format: Hardcover
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.

Congratulations
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A fantastic book written from the heart by a very ordinary, but obviously, very special person. Life on the grand prix circuit seems
a million miles away from most of us but this puts wholesale reality and genuine feeling to it. It is a simple format: 'I was there, working', but Di Spires tells it as it is and you feel that it was written to you personally. She obviously met some very rich and famous people on a very regular basis but was not fazed by them, she 'just made the tea' and lots, lots more without fuss. Brilliant.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There's nothing better than a giant positive surprise. And that's what you'll have by reading this book. In fact, this is one of the best and most revealing F1 books I've ever read (and I've read a lot of them by now), showing that the best stories aren't always those told by drivers or team principals. This book tells the story of Di Spires and his husband Stuart, who went on to pursuit their dream of entering the world of Formula 1 as hospitality caterers.

We learn their hopes, their let-downs, their good moments and some of the bad ones. It's sometimes a heart-wrenching book, as Di and Stu crossed the paths of so many big names in F1, some of them prematurely lost. It's very well written, with a pinch of humour, which is very much welcome. Even the bits regarding their personnal life are perfectly integrated.

All in all, I blindly reccomend this book to anyone who wants to know more about some of F1's big names, like Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher, Peter Warr or Johnny Herbert. Go for it! You won't be disappointed!
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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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book arrived yesterday and I have to say I have never read a book so quickly! The fascinating tale drives along at an F1 pace. The bigger scene is set against absorbing details offering a genuine behind the scenes insight into what goes on - not all on the track. An engrossing read all the way through to the chequered flag. Thoroughly recommended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an outstandingly good tale by one of the unsung heroines of probably the best era of Formula One motor racing. If you want the lowdown on the development of Formula One as a brand and the growth of corporate hospitality that was its inevitable companion then this is the place to find it. If you want to know what it's like to be involved in the unseen side of F1 this is for you. If you want a well-written and humorous autobiography then this is still for you. Oh, and there's some heart-wrenching bits too, but told with the same sense of humour that's an essential concomitant to working behind the pits. Essential reading.
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