Race Without End (Maurice Hamilton, 1994)

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Veteran F1 writer Maurice Hamilton has a new book coming out on last year’s McLaren-Ferrari espionage scandal. I’m hoping to get a copy of it for review soon, but in the meantime I picked up one of his older titles.

“Race Without End” is the story of the Jordan Grand Prix’s 1993 season. Hamilton had unrivalled access to the Jordan technical staff, race drivers (including today’s most experienced driver Rubens Barrichello, then in his d??but year) and team boss Eddie Jordan.

It’s an absorbing behind-the-scenes account of the kind of under-funded plucky upstart of a team that, Super Aguri aside, F1 doesn’t have any more.

From outside the sport fans only see glimpses of life within an F1 team. We get fortnightly windows into their existence watching the races on television, we read reports about their testing programmes, the lucky ones might even get to go to a factory.

But it’s hard to get an idea of how a team actually works – how the sponsorship deals affect which research programmes get investment, how personal rivalries within the organisation affect performance, and what a string of poor results does to team morale.

The best bits of “Race Without End” is when it shows the team working in this way – you really get a sense of the competing priorities someone like Ron Dennis or Stefano Domenicali has to deal with.

It helps that Jordan Grand Prix always were one of the most charismatic F1 teams, and so the entertaining anecdotes are in plentiful supply.

Returning to this book 14 years on it offers one truly unexpected dimension. The story ends at the 1994 Pacific Grand Prix – just two weeks before the deaths of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger at the San Marino Grand Prix that shocked the sport to its very core.

The lack of any sense of the trauma that lay just around the corner is a reminder of just how big a shock Imola ’94 was for the sport.

“Race Without End” is unusual and original and sadly I can’t imagine any of the current teams allowing anyone to get as close to their inner workings as Hamilton did. You have to wonder what it would have been like to have been a fly on the wall at McLaren last year…

Patrick Stephens Limited / Haynes
ISBN 1852605006

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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1 comments on “Race Without End (Maurice Hamilton, 1994)”

  1. I read this book about eight years ago and still remember how enjoyable (and at times funny) I found it. Yes, the team Maurice ended up writing about was part of the attraction, but there was a definite sense of depth and breadth that I hadn’t seen in an F1 book before and, apart from Jackie Stewart’s Winning Is Not Enough, haven’t seen since.

    My favourite anecdote from Race Without End was the Canada boat race, where the engineers had to cross a lake in teams of three using a boat made of the packing cases and other stuff used for flying the equipment over there. Jordan had two entries. One of them was a serious entry, while the other was effectively a team of two because the third member of the crew spent his time shouting out boasts and insults, to gales of laughter from the other teams. The Jordan entry with the wannabe Viking lasted all of 10 yards before sinking… …while the serious Jordan entry won the race. A really neat summation of the Jordan approach to F1.

    Maurice Hamilton did a follow-up fly-on-the-wall book behind the scenes at Jordan in 1998 (Against All Odds – I haven’t read it yet, but it sounds good), but unfortunately, I’ve not heard of any other team doing anything really similar to display their true selves. Some books claim to be “behind the scenes”, but they generally turn out to be limited in what they can reveal because there are things teams don’t want revealing. It says a lot about the insecurities of teams nowadays that this book could not be written in 2008.

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