We sat down with Williams F1 Team Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams on the morning of the 2013 F1 USGP to discuss her new role with the team, social media in Formula 1, and women in motorsport. (Photo credit: Williams F1 Team)
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Tradition has it that Japan was always the last country visited on the annual Formula One calendar and it was invariably a Championship ‘decider’…that was until a raft of new circuits and new markets for the premier racing series opened up. Of course, in motor racing terms, Japan is still fairly ‘youthful’, having held its first GP as recently as 1976. Fuji Speedway (owned by Toyota) was the initial venue but Suzuka Circuit (owned by Honda) has superseded it, a factor that would have pleased the late, great Soichiro Honda no end.
GRAND PRIX YESTERDAY & TODAY
By Bruce Jones
Published by: Carlton Books
ISBN: 978 1 84732 592 1
Consisting of just six chapters over its 192 pages, this uniquely constructed hardback could be a little confusing, with the manner by which the years are reported, which is decidedly haphazard through its content. It is not that the detail is uninteresting, because the innumerable photographs (many of which have never been seen in print before), in both monotone and full colour, help to lift fascination levels.
However, dotting random years into the page headings creates an unhappy imbalance. Yet, the subjects covered are similarly random, dating back to Grand Prix’s 1906 beginnings up to the end of 2010. If the evolution of motor racing is of personal interest, you will find this book serves purpose rather well.
Strangely, for such a well-regarded writer and author, Bruce Jones, a tall chap renowned for his shock of red hair, who can often be spotted strutting most assuredly through pit lanes and paddocks around the world, appears to have tackled this book with a stream of consciousness. He is a talented scribe, of that fact there is no doubt, yet this book can prove challenging on first read and, unless you are in the mood for such variance, it can become a major ‘switch off’. Even so, the contents are incontestably excellent and I would suggest that you persevere with it.
THE BATTLE FOR THE BRITISH GRAND PRIX
By Alan Henry
Published by: Haynes Publishing
ISBN: 978 1 84425 974 8
The British Grand Prix has become a hotbed of political and commercial intrigue over the past dozen years of its history. Although fingers have been pointed at Bernie Ecclestone, the consummate ‘puppet-master’ of the Formula One scene, for allowing the situation to proliferate, this 232 page hardback may help to redress the balance.
As an event, the importance of the British round of the premier series cannot be ignored. After all, it was the very first round of the FIA World Championship, when it was inaugurated in May 1950, and its past has certainly been exceptionally colourful, welcoming the great and the glorious of Formula One‘s past to its county venue, some 60 miles north of the City of London.
However, as a reliable and much-lauded journalist, the author’s inside track of knowledge and his innate ability to get directly in front of the sport’s main protagonists are what make this book so engagingly readable. Alan Henry’s background research is unimpeachable and you will be amazed at the various implications discussed in its content. Trust me, when I tell you that it is a fantastic read.
With any good fortune (and a following breeze), Silverstone’s future as ‘The Home of British Motor Sport’ does look somewhat more assured in recent times, a factor that lies clearly at the door of its present management structure, even though the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) remains the stoical owner and overseer of all things related to Silverstone Circuits.
While not wishing to dwell too heavily on the phenomenally funny scripts of the Monty Python set, in which it was asked, “Just what did the Romans do for us?”, without the Italian invaders discovering a health-giving, iron-rich water source that became known as Spa, some elements of this part of the heavily forested and hilly part of Belgium might not have retained the relevance that they have today. Spa gained notoriety as a ‘good time’ gambling town, before, in 1902, a car racing circuit was developed.
By Stephen Olvey
Published by: HAYNES PUBLISHING
ISBN: 978 1 84425 982 3
In 282 pages of paperback, US-based author, Olvey, who used to be the Medical Director for CART racing in the USA, tells the stories of a career that witnessed him working with innumerable racing legends around the world. While many of the chapters are packed with humorous anecdotes, Olvey often highlights the ecstatic peaks and tragic troughs of a sport that has been robbed of many of its leading lights, through some of the most spectacular of race incidents.
Remarkably frank and revealing about many of the key personnel involved in the racing scene, it is a henuine shame that the number of potentially lucid photographs is very small in number. However, the words more than make-up for the lack of imagery and factor in a long held belief that they can convey emotions better than pictures, some of which might be too explicit for any audience.
A truly captivating read, there is almost a thrill on every single page.
The simple fact that the author was present at so many races and events and that his powers of recall are so vivid is what makes this book such an essential read. As a means to obtaining an insider’s view, it is certainly every bit as good as Professor Syd Watkins’ autobiography and worthy reading for any race fan, whether of the senior formulae or not.