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3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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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 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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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 12 November 2012
I'm a massive BBC F1 fan, I've never missed a race and feel that Jake is maybe the best sports presenter there is, yet I find myself disappointed with his book. I assumed that it would be full of behind the scenes stories of what it's like to work with Eddie Jordan and David Coulthard and what drivers get up to during a race weekend but there was none of that. All he really wrote about was the facts of F1 which most F1 geeks such as myself already know! I also expected the book to be a little bit longer as it was only 250 pages, and at £18.99, it's hard to justify the price!
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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 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 15 November 2012
This book is very much like Jake himself , a safe solid professional . How you view this book will be down to what you expect from it .
If , like me you were expecting a good bit of gossip about who does not get on with who or some tit bits of information , then this book does not deliver .
What it does do is give you a beginners guide to F1 and its history . Now if you do not have much knowledge of either then this book is fine but if you do then you will find it a bit boring and so you skip pages of the book .
Jake tries to interweave his experiences of F1 and the history of it but to my mind it does not work .
Conclusion , its well written and safe but if a fan of F1 then there is not much to recommend about this book .
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on 9 December 2012
Without a doubt the title is slightly misleading. When writing about the presenting and journalism side of F1 the book is very interesting but when Jake starts explaining the technical side of F1 I lost interest. It's a bit like David Coulthard writing a book about TV presenting! I did finish and enjoy it and it was well written so 3 stars.
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on 12 December 2012
I very much enjoy Jake presenting BBC F1 rather than the crap Sky throw out, but this book spends more time waffling on as an introduction to F1 and "what teams do" rather than an actual behind the scenes, detailed account of stories and events. Very disappointed and he's very closed, overly inoffensive and guarding throughout the book, even saying "Sorry I can't say what really goes on". THEN WHY WRITE ABOUT IT? Another Amazon reviewer summed it up perfectly: it's F1 for dummies.

The typeface size used is also huge, which makes the 265 pages significantly shorter.

I regret buying it honestly, please borrow a friends copy first or look at the second hand sales which should be littered with them for a quid pretty soon.
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