A shame, then, that he rarely finds the time to create an extended volume of his work such as this. “Chasing the Title” broadly covers anything and everything Roebuck chose to turn his mind to from the dawn of the World Championship onwards.
Roebuck got a killer brief when “Chasing the Title” was produced – he seems to have been given the option of writing about pretty much whatever he felt like from fifty years of Grand Prix racing.
For someone of as much passion for the sport as he, he must have felt like a kid in a candy store – or myself in the Donington Grand Prix collection.
But one can get blind-sided when faced with such an appealing yet vast brief, and 300 pages to fill. Thus “Chasing the Title” fixes its sight on only the most significant instances and individuals.
Ayrton Senna, Nigel Mansell, Mika Hakkinen, Piers Courage, Jochen Rindt, Rob Walker – all get chapters of their own. But there is a feeling on occasion that old ground is being re-tread.
Trumping that is Roebuck’s prose which, just as in Autosport, seems to flow effortlessly. For an avid fan who, for example, could recite from heart exactly what happened at Dallas in 1984, re-visiting it all with Roebuck is like rediscovering a long-lost story book.
It does seem unusual that, for all he professes his dislike of the over-importance placed on winning the championship, rather than Grands Prix (despite the book’s title), little of the book concerns the pre-F1 era of Grand Prix racing.
Perhaps he simply feels more comfortably writing about people he has had the chance to speak to, and you can’t begrudge him that. In the main it is excellent and I hope he finds the time to produce another title in the future.
“Chasing the Title: Memorable Moments from Fifty Years of Formula 1”