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The Mechanic's Tale Paperback – February 3, 2000
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However, if you want a very human and personal account of one man's journey from being a road car mechanic to mechanic for a Formula 1 world champion in a half decade, this is the book for you. Matchett describes his cautious entry to the sport, the great Benneton personalities he meets (most of whom have now gone on to senior positions all over the sport), the insane hours, and the holiday antics in the off-season. The book is peppered with Matchett's insight about the workings of Formula 1. Interestingly, he strongly disagrees with the Benneton's sacking of Schumacher's teamates every year and believes stability in the 2nd driver position would have improved the team. Ironic that Ferrari has used that exact strategy: Schumacher has had 3 teamates in the last 11 seasons...
A must read for anyone whose interest in Formula 1 goes beyond glossy driver biographies and flashy magazines.
Perhaps I should be fair, in that I was expecting something more along the lines of what other reviewers have said about the book. Yes, there are some fascinating bits about the drivers he's worked with, and there are some humorous pieces as well (especially the part about Piquet's antics when Matchett had to stick his head down in the foot box with Piquet still buckled in). My complaint about the book is that it tends to go into great detail regarding the periphery of Matchett's journey into Formula One, and not enough into the technical acrobatics the mechanics have to perform, both in the garage and on the track. If you want to hear about the quaint little towns, the drives up the country on vacation, and the pub down the corner from Steve Matchett's point of view, then get this book. I feel it concentrates too heavily in these areas, and I was frustrated for it. Why, I recall perhaps the most compelling chapter wherein Matchett and crew are furiously chasing a hydraulics gremlin that is wreaking havoc with the car's variable suspension. He describes in excellent detail the agonizing frustration of checking each component, over and again with no success. Because of the enormous pressure the mechanics are under, this section starts to read like a suspense novel. In the end, though, after building us up to share the unbearable frustration he feels at the time, he doesn't let us know how the problem is fixed, or how the situation turns out. He just ends with saying something along the lines of "see how frustrating it gets?"
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Following on the heels of "Life in the Fast Lane" it fills the gaps and more. Definitely a joyful read! I will forever remember the question "Do you like chilli?"Published 3 months ago by Wei C. Wong
I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Matchett's book, the Mechanic's Tale. Anyone who is a regular fan of Formula 1 racing has surely daydreamed about a life and career working for a... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Woodman
Great book detailing the career of a mechanic in F1. Would highly suggest this book for any racing enthusiast.Published 3 months ago by Chris Albaugh
Methinks that the title of this book should instead be "I Rode The Coattails", as he just happened to be lucky enough to work on the same overall team as Michael... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Moose Of Evil
such an interesting book if you love racing and Formula One. It's extremely detailed so only people who love the sport will probably enjoy this.Published 6 months ago by Racer Girl X
Fascinating perspective on F1 racing from the man in the pits. Didn't take me long to rear it because I had a hard time putting it down!Published 7 months ago by da perfesser
Excellent book and written from a viewpoint you don't often hear. I really enjoyed hearing Steve's view on a number of F1 issues but I also got the feeling that he was holding back... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Bill VanderClock