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3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 21 November 2004
I have to confess that Martin Brundle is a hero of mine, so you might therefore think it a bit strange that I approached his book with some trepidation.
His eloquent, insightful and often humorous commentary is beamed in to homes all over the English-speaking world and has made him familiar voice to millions of Formula One fans.
Usually, when someone is such a compelling orator, their written contributions don't always reflect their verbal talent. This is certainly not this case with Working the Wheel and, with the help of respected journalist Maurice Hamilton; this book is a compelling read. Brundle's unique style really comes through and it is written very much in the same vain as his award winning commentary.
Brundle's comments are often touching and give a unique insight in to the man behind the mic. He describes crying his eyes out after his engine blew on the starting grid during the 1994 British Grand Prix, the emotional aftermath of Ayrton Senna's death and the many close shaves he has had over the years; Breaking both his ankles in Detroit, flying though the air in his stricken Jordan in Melbourne and nearly being decapitated by Jos Verstappen in Brazil, Brundle has been there, done that, and, more remarkable, lived to tell the tale!
My only criticism is that these moments are all to short and the book contains too much technical information to appeal to the casual fan. However, for those of us who dream of competing on the great circuits of the world, this book provides us with nearest we will ever get to a drivers eyes view.
Martin Brundle is often described as the greatest driver never to have won a Grand Prix and, although his motor racing career never did his talent justice, this book certainly does.
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on 26 January 2005
I got this book as an Xmas pressie along with the Zanardi biog (lucky me!) after playing 'eeny meeny miney mo' I began reading MB's book first. Now I have read it I thought I would share some of the things that occur to me that might influence your choosing to buy this book.
First let me say that I have read a lot of books on motor racing. Among the best I have on my shelf are those where MH is involved - I also enjoy his Radio 5 commentaries on F1 with JL. So in some respects I was a little puzzled was how these two could have got together... they are in effect counterparts, competitors even. Nonetheless, their collaboration is a successful one. I enjoyed this book a lot.
Quite a bit has been written about this kind of high performance racing and not all of it is worth the cover price. This one is IMHO on the pricey side... relecting the sport maybe but not all of us have this sort of cash to spend in speculation.
You don't have to read this book from cover to cover. Maybe you can dip into it - read the chapter on your fave track first etc. It kind of follows the F1 season but only for the older tracks, there's no mention of the new dates in the F1 calendar... well, there couldn't be because it covers only the tracks where MB has raced. Two nice surprises were the inclusion of Le Mans and Brands Hatch.
Some parts of the book had me skimming a bit because the technical detail was a shade too much. But that does not detract from the flow, maybe you simply want to get on to the next bit of action! There is action aplenty here. It could have easily be sub-titled 'Brundle's Big Moments'. As in 'having a big moment'. i.e. crashing. Poor lad has had some near misses just about everywhere... he explains how he gets back behind the wheel but I for one doubt I could have done if I had been knocked about like he has.
He's seen a lot from behind the wheel of lots of great cars. If you are a Mclaren fan then there is much here to savour. He also comments on the other drivers especially Senna and Schumacher - team mates and rivals - and what has happened to them along the way. Maybe it would have been nice to get some more behind the scenes stories but that is not what this book is about. There's plenty of interpretation though and I liked his assessment of how come MS is so much better than nearly everyone else (love him or loathe him).
It was also a revelation as to why the F1 racer does not need a speedometer.... I have seen F1 and GT cars in action and yet even that cannot get across the sheer speed, grip and braking these guys experience. No wonder they are super-fit and appear to be so fearless.
MB is a great guy for sharing this with us (it was overdue!) and when you have finished this book you will also wonder how he never came to take that top step on the podium. Less deserving drivers have had that privilege but it has not embittered him. His passion for motor sport comes across well and you can almost hear him reading it to you like he was on the TV.
Finally, this book fits nicely alongside Perry McCarthy's biography on my bookshelf - contemporaries and rivals, both are Brits who could have been up there with Damon... Reading these books shows that you need a hell of a lot of the right breaks at the right time to get to the top and stay there!
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on 3 March 2006
The theme of this book will provide some mystery to those expecting an autobiography. He writes in some detail about several of the grand prix circuits and his experiences at them. Newer circuits are therefore not included, although do we want his views on the "designed" circuits like Bahrain, Indianapolis GP, Turkey etc? The writing is good and involving, but I really wanted to know more about Mr Brundle, his feelings on his career, the slightly disappointing Grand prix results and maybe some thoughts on the successful commentating, Murray Walker and even James Hunt. I liked this, but when is the autobiography coming, Martin?
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on 3 September 2007
I really enjoyed reading this little book. I found it entertaining, insightful and occasionally sad. It brilliantly tells the story of formula 1 racing from a drivers' perspective based around the circuits in the F1 calender at various points in martins' F1 career. Each chapter uses a different circuit. In this way, the book can be read in large chunks or left on the coffee table to be read one chapter at a time. I particularly liked the way martin weaves technical snippets into an otherwise un-technical and candid story. Genius.
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on 7 July 2009
Working the Wheel is a great book for motor racing enthusiasts and gives a fascinating insight into life as a racing driver. Martin Brundle's writing is similar to his commentating style, easy to follow and lightly humorous. The book covers various racing circuits Martin has driven, how he feels about them, how he drives them and contains anecdotes about each one: having his hire car impounded at Imola, crashing the Toyota at Le Mans are just two.
I really enjoyed the book. After reading a chapter I would watch some footage of that circuit on You Tube to better understand what the driver was going through and why some corners and circuits are more challenging than others. I feel that, in some ways, this book is Brundle's attempt at an autobiography as he is too modest to write a whole book about just himself. It would be a real shame, however, if he didn't put pen to paper again as I would love to hear more about his career, from F3 with Ayrton Senna to winning the World Sportcar Championship and Le Mans and driving for 12 seasons in F1.

My wife, who has no interest in the sport cannot understand why I would want to read about the characteristics of turn 4 at Paul Ricard - which made me enjoy the book all the more!
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on 24 April 2012
As the quote from Sir Stirling Moss on the front cover says "A nail biting account" I was looking forward to this book. It was however a bit of a let down.
I found it interesting but not a compelling read. It was a trip around the circuits and became very repetitive.
I am sure Martin can write something much more entertaining and show us inside racing and F1.
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on 12 August 2008
Martin Brundle, being a great commentator for ITV with his witty humour, makes him one of my favourite sports personalities. So I was looking forward to his book.
From the start, I found it very insightful... and very unusual. Very rarely do I hear or read just as much, if not more, strange stories off the track as on it. The dangers in Rio, dealing with death and getting lost in Japan etc. And that's what makes this book so interesting. Brundle explains his personal critisisms and praise in equal amounts aswell as very specific information on how to drive the tracks. I don't really agree with him on everything he says, especialy on his rather harsh views of Hockenheim, even if he is an experienced driver.
With so much personnal passion written in this book, this is a good read, and one that I really enjoyed.
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VINE VOICEon 10 February 2014
This is a very enjoyable book for fans of motor racing.

Brundle raced Group C sportscars and F1 at most of the world's greatest circuits and describes each one on a corner-by-corner basis (more or less) mixing this with anecdotes from races from his long (and quite successful) career.

Brundle's style comes through and it's readable throughout (no doubt due to the skill of his co-author). The sections one each circuit are concise too, so it's easy to pick up and put down.

Well worth a read prior to watching a race on TV at a particular circuit, although be aware that many have changed since the book was written.
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on 18 October 2005
This refers to the hardback version - hopefully someone has improved things for the paperback version - but I was shocked at how many errors there were in this book. At one point there's a sentence which, no matter how many times I read it, just makes no sense, to the extent that I can't even work out what Martin was *trying* to say!
Despite the bad proofing, this is an interesting book even for people who aren't dedicated petrolheads but just enjoy watching Formula 1. It's easy to dip in and out of and gives an interesting background in particular to races which are still on the calendar.
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on 10 April 2014
I have to agree with other reviewers this book has some great insights into circuits what being a racing driver is like and some stories from martins career all of these are fine but are too few. The rest of the bookis quite dull as it gives too much emphasis on technical descriptions of the circuits making this more of a track by track guide.
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