Top critical review
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Wrong title... Wrong book
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.