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on 30 December 2012
This book is misnamed, it doesn't provide "The Inside Track" or anything close to it. Maybe that contributed to setting my expectation levels too high, but either way I was massively disappointed by the anodyne, bland and sterile writing style. Jake seems to have one eye on a return to F1 presenting in the future and clearly goes to great lengths not to cause offence by breaking the paddock code of honour and telling any secrets. Unfortunately in the process of being inoffensive, he seems to have forgotten to be interesting.

Bizarrely the majority of the book is spent explaining F1 as though to a child, or recounting the already familiar events of the F1 seasons he covered. I can't be the only reader to be intensely frustrated to find many of the pages filled with descriptions of races and incidents I'm already well aware of because I was watching the coverage when they happened! Rather than telling us what goes on behind the closed doors of the paddock, or regaling us with anecdotes about the larger than life characters of the sport, Jake seems to focus on explaining the sport as though we know nothing at all. Major events of the past few championships are related as though they are somehow news.

The writing style seems particularly patronising at times, for example offering this gem of information: "Those a little more F1 obsessed may tune into the qualifying coverage a day before the race" wow, fancy that! Now I'm really learning something new Jake, thanks!!

There are the odd entertaining story and in the chapter "Savour the moment" Jake seems to open up and show us something of his personality, but mostly this book is blighted by misjudging the reader's intelligence and talking down to them whilst avoiding giving "The Inside Track". As you can tell, I didn't dislike it, I hated it. More than that I felt robbed. I didn't want to buy a book explaining what F1 is, pitched at someone who knows nothing at all about the sport. I wanted to buy a book telling me about Jake's experiences of being part of it. It's so disappointing when you consider what this book could have been.
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on 21 August 2017
Excellent service and good book
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on 4 December 2012
THe sales hype for this book gives the impression that the reader will be getting the "inside story" from Jake but in reality it is just a "guide to F1". OK if that is what you want and you are a relative newcomer to following the sport. But I used to work in F1 so know all about it. What I hoped for from this book was a bit of modern day gossip, behind the scenes information and an idea of the tales, experiences and logistics of F1's modern day TV media personnel, and this is what I believe was implied by the books intor and title. I found myself skipping page after page as it was just telling me what I already knew about the sport and business of F1, there is nothing new and no revelations/very few anecodotes and examples from Jake about his own experiences/funny stories, gossip, etc. Just another "beginners guide to Formula One" - of which there are very many already.
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on 9 December 2012
No great insights or stories to tell. Most of the book was telling you what a typical F1 fan would already know. Got half way through then gave up.
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on 19 November 2012
The title implies that Jake might be dishing the dirt, but sadly, he's not. It's an entertaining account of his four years as the lead presenter of BBC's Formula 1 coverage, which includes some amusing anecdotes (such as when he is driving Lewis Hamilton around in a Mercedes supercar), but I didn't really learn anything that I didn't already know. He's very supportive of the direction that the current Formula 1 management is taking the sport, reporting voiced criticisms, but ultimately coming down on the side of the establishment. One thing he is obviously passionate about is the sport's history, making it clear that, while he gives praise to the modernity and facilities available at the 'Tilkedromes' introduced in recent years, it is the historic circuits such as Silverstone, Monza, Spa and Suzuka, that are the heart and soul of the sport.

The book is presented in a subject by subject format, rather than a straight chronological narrative; and this gives Jake the scope to illustrate his topics with examples from Formula 1 history. This, then, forms the basis of a good introduction to the sport, or a book that provides fill-in information for the casual observer who hasn't quite 'got' F1 yet.

I've referred to the author as Jake throughout this review, because he's a very likable bloke, and he feels like a friend on screen. This comes across in the book. He writes as he speaks, in a very accessible style that I enjoyed reading, and I'm going to miss him when he leaves the program at the end of this season.
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on 19 November 2012
From the title and the description, I was expecting tales about his years spent broadcasting, what they get up to, how they prepare but it's really not.

The first chapter is actually quite interesting (I bought it after reading the sample thinking the rest would be like it) and talks about his fears and nerves while at a race the year before he started presenting.

I got half way through and couldn't finish it, it's a very basic general knowledge and history of F1, in idiot terms. It would be great if you're just getting into F1, but for someone whose followed the sport for years, it's disappointing.
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VINE VOICEon 5 January 2013
Oh dear, my most favourite presenter of all time (well, I've excluded Murray Walker) and he comes up with this rather short and not very interesting personalized review of FI in general.

I was fortunate, in a sense that this was given to me as a Christmas prezzy simply because the giver knows I'm a bit of an F1 nerd so I didn't fork out nearly twenty quid. I'm rather longer in the tooth these days so Murray Walker is the man I usually associate with motor sport but Jake fitted into the vacancy on the Beeb's showground and, frankly, did a remarkable job - just why he's gone to the depths of sport now is quite beyond me - but then, football does mesmerize some people.

However, this book is no lasting legacy of his time in the hot seat. This is a shame to put it mildly and one gets the impression that he's covering his back for who knows what in the future. He's young enough to make a comeback and I don't suppose he'll lose his interest in F1 just because he's watching softies kicking a round object about.

The book has been reviewed from both good and bad aspects and I suppose I'm sitting on the fence - mainly, I guess because he did such a good job at the BBC. I have watched, occasionally and usually when I'm abroad, the Sky version of F1 and I thank my lucky stars that I can come back to the BBC. Nobody's indispensable in any job so it would have been great to have more punch in this book. There must be loads going on, back-biting, unfriendly rivalries a la Senna and Prost (surely our favourite Spanish driver, Alonso, has a mad moment or two??), what Bernie said to Jake on occasions and so forth but, regrettably, this is just a picture story about someone's filtered view of F1.

Come on, Jake, now the season's over, give us the low down. You know you can and you know it'll sell like hot exhausts.
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on 2 February 2013
First time I've ever written a review for a book on here.

It's an ok book. It tells you what Jake has been through with F1 and some of the stories that he's seen. However - and this is the big thing. If you are a true F1 fan (i.e. watch 70%+ of the races, know the history) then just save the money.

There is the occasional story which is funny or interesting - but most of the book is about what the last 4-5 years of races have contained. If you have watched the TV then you will have seen it and it's old news.

It's written in a very easy and nice manner - but for a F1 fan wanting the "inside track" I had hoped that perhaps we would get some nice gossip - behind the scenes stuff and those little snippets that you never here about. Instead I just got 5 years of F1 history. My guess is that this has been aimed at the occasional F1 follower who watches 2-3 races and does not know the history.

I feel sad about it. Jake is a wonderful presenter and is going to be missed a great deal from the BBC. I guess that he could not and did not want to upset the establishment, but I think it's been mis-marketed and a little bit mis-sold.
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on 25 November 2012
Sadly this feels a lot like "f1 for dummies". Jake spends a lot of time explaining what f1 is, how the cars are prepared, designed and built. I was expecting a lot more of a biography of events and behind the scenes/interesting stories.
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on 2 January 2013
From his recent TV sports work - both Formula One and at the Olympics - Jake Humphrey comes across as a nice guy genuienley interested in people and their sports.
Meanwhile on TV with David Coulthard and Eddie Jordan at his side - the three amigoes - he has brought the viewer a lot of fun, insight and access to Formula One. This has been slavishly copied but not rivalled by their competitors since the BBC gave up their exclusive deal ahead of the 2012 season.
So if might be fair to assume that with this background and apparent access "Inside Track" might be a worthwhile read. It isn't. Turgid and slow it blandly tiptoes through the Formula One calendar clearly terrified of offending anyone and not telling you anything new or insightful.
Far better is Beverley Turner's waspish "The Pits", a book that makes you wonder why she worked in the business when she clearly disliked it and almost everyone involved in it.
Shame really because I did want "Inside Track" to be a decent read.
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