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The Chariot Makers: Assembling the Perfect Formula 1 Car Paperback – August 1, 2005
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"Fluent, often entertaining" SUNDAY TIMES SPORT "Formula One's just kicked off and here's about the best mood-setter for it there's been for a good many years. This highly original piece of work does exactly what it says it will. And very well too." LADSMAG "A good idea, well done." MOTORSPORT "A loving, detailed account of F1's greatest achievements." ZOO WEEKLY "Steve Matchett is one of the best writers on the sport. Matchett's latest book is well worth a look ... informative and fact-filled." DAILY EXPRESS MOTORING "Formula One fans should read Matchett, who does a good job of reducing science to a comprehensible level." THE TIMES BUSINESS --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Steve Matchett has spent over twenty years in the pit-lane. Now living in western France he writes on F1 for a variety of publications and works as a broadcaster for a US motor sports channel. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Once you get past the setup, most of the rest of the book is an enjoyable discussion of Formula One technology, construction techniques and race craft. Matchett does touch upon the historic background of many of the subjects, but mostly he deals with the modern era. His style is informative without being too wrapped up in techno-speak. And, just as if he was conversing with a group of people, there are questions asked by his fellow would-be passengers that allow Matchett to explain and illustrate points so that the layman could comprehend them.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes racing, has an interest in F1 and would like to find out more about it without having to delve into much more technical books. As is always true in F1, as soon as a book is published the information in is becomes out of date, but enough of the currently technology of F1 has been around since before Matchett wrote this book that it does have relevance to the current racing season. And Matchett is a good writer, dubious back story or not.
Matchett's prose is workmanlike, and if there is any flaw that needles the reader, I'd say it's occasionally that the book's conceit--that he had an extended conversation on the book's thesis and contents with a single small group over the course of a long-delayed flight--wears thin after a while.
Nonetheless, this book is well worth your time as a basic primer to the competing demands racing engineers must satisfy in order to get their chariot on the podium. I'm very happy to have read it and came away more knowledgeable.
I have a basic knowledge of cars, and I followed the majority of this book easily. However, I got the impression that even a learned mechanic will enjoy the insights this books offers.
The only con is that this book is now 10 years old... so keep in mind that where the book leaves off is certainly not the current state of F1. But it will give you an excellent understanding of where the sport has come from, and why things are the way they are today.
While this is not a technician manual, it still offers enough insight to cause the reader to now ask the right questions. Steve openly admits that this novel is penned to strike a balance between entertainment and education and his technical know-how mixed with his anecdotal framework does just that. I highly recommend this book for anyone with a passion for Formula 1 as this story will only throw fuel on the fire. Whether an old technical salt F1 expert or a new comer, this story appeals to all. Mr. Matchett is like the cool professor in college to whom everyone can relate.
My only hope now is that Steve finds some time between circuits with the NBC team (thank goodness they stayed together!) to write the next volume to cover the last ten years of technical progress and what, from his insider perspective, is yet to come.
Cheers mate. Thanks for the classic! See you in Austin, TX.
- US Formula 1 fan (yes we have them here too)