Burning Rubber: The Extraordinary Story of Formula One

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Trafalgar Square, 2011 - Sports & Recreation - 328 pages
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A fully updated, turbo-charged account of 60 years of Formula One, endangering the lives of its drivers and thrilling its fans since 1950   Viewed rationally, of course, there was something not quite right about Gilles Villeneuve. This is true of many (if not all) top sportsman, one way or another, but in Villeneuve's case it is hard to escape the conclusion that he was a natural, both in the sense that he was naturally gifted as a driver; and that bits of his personality were defective, or had simply gone missing.
A white-knuckle drive through the bends, straights, chicanes, and pit stops of Formula One's checkered history, this is the fast and dangerous story of motor sport's premier competition. It explores the lost world of the 1950s racetrack, the irresistible rise of British constructors in the 1960s, the impact of technological changes from the late 1970s, the advent of the high-profile team boss in the 1980s, and the revolution wrought on the sport by computers in the 1990s. Throughout, there are memorable profiles of the drivers who have risked life and limb on circuits from Monte Carlo to Monza--the ebullient Stirling Moss, the champagne-gargling James Hunt, the cerebral Prost and the mercurial Senna (whose combined brilliance was exceeded only by their mutual loathing), the adenoidal Nigel Mansell, the metronomic Michael Schumacher, the precocious Lewis Hamilton, and the reborn Jenson Button.

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The reason I love this book so much is that it covers almost everything that I ever want. Every informations that I desired are discussed within chapters of this novel. I fond of untold background stories - stories that are not included in season report or TV. I also like reading about Formula One technologies, which are told by the author. He explain some notable technical developments, such as Brabham FanCar, active suspension, ground effect, several Lotus ingenious innovations etc. One thing special about this book explanation is not the operating principle, which is difficult to be explained without assistant from pictures. Instead, he included feedbacks about the innovations from drivers. Not much is discussed about the engineers and management team though. There are many constructors key figures who mentioned in this book, but each one just feature short story. I guess the author focus much of constructors story on Colin Chapman and Alfred Neubauer.
His comparison on racing technology vs. drivers skills is amazing, and his comment about the lost of Americans in auto racing world championship is spectacular. He also discussed about menacing classic race tracks and spectator-friendly modern circuits. The hidden side of drivers are also covered, and it contains some pictures. 5 star rating. It do has flaws, but I ignore it.

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About the author (2011)

Charles Jennings is the author of Faintheart, The Fast Set, and Greenwich.

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