Best F1 books to read this summer

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F1 Fanatic reader Aled is looking for a good biography of Ayrton Senna
F1 Fanatic reader Aled is looking for a good biography of Ayrton Senna

Aled sent me an email asking if I could recommend some F1 books for him to read over the summer:

I am going on holiday in a few weeks, I want a book or two to read. I want a good book on Senna, one that will help me realise how so many people are fascinated by him as a driver and person. Any recommendations?

I did two articles on good F1 books to read over the summer last year: essential summer reads and more essential summer reads. Here?s a couple more books worth taking a look at ?ǣ plus one on Ayrton Senna for Aled??

??The Death of Ayrton Senna?? (Richard Williams, 1999)

Sure there are bigger Senna biographies out there but don?t confuse quantity with quality: a lot of Senna books are dross.

This is different: concise and free of that fawning tone some of Senna?s biographers adopt. Its title gives the impression that it?s only about Senna?s death ?ǣ but actually this is as good an account of his life as you?ll find.

Read the full review of “The Death of Ayrton Senna”
Buy “The Death of Ayrton Senna”

Here are some other biographies of Ayrton Senna I’ve reviewed:

??Winning is not Enough?? (Jackie Stewart, 2007)

One of my favourite books of last year and a popular title among F1 Fanatic readers too. Stewart tells his own story in a matter-of-fact fashion with little trace of ego and a lot of warmth.

When I interviewed him after it was published he said he originally envisaged it as being in two volumes and you can see why ?ǣ it?s packed with stories and anecdotes. It?s a hefty hardback though (the paperback comes out in October), so it might not be the best book for the beach. Otherwise you can?t really fault it. The DVD is an excellent bonus extra as well.

Read the full review of “Winning is not enough”
Buy “Winning Is Not Enough: The Autobiography”

“The Chariot Makers: Assembling the perfect Formula 1 car” (Steve Matchett, 2005)

Ex-Benetton mechanic Steve Matchett takes us through how an F1 car is built from the ground-up. But it’s not a book for hardcore techies – treat it as a quick and (above all) entertaining introduction to F1 car technology.

There’s a slightly odd narrative running through it where Matchett is explaining all this to a couple of people he met while waiting for a plane, but it doesn’t detract from the meat of the book. Matchett’s not short of an opinion or two as well which adds to the fun.

Read the full review of “The Chariot Makers”
Buy “The Chariot Makers: Assembling the Perfect Formula 1 Car”

Looking for more F1 book recommendations? Here’s the full list of F1 Fanatic book reviews.

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Author information

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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9 comments on “Best F1 books to read this summer”

  1. Another very good Senna book is Christopher Hilton’s first book – The Hard Edge of Genius.

  2. wasn’t there a book about jordan back in late ’90’s? not “race without end” which i have read (and the last chapter with the senna/irvine fraca made it worth the price, but another one written a year or so later(i think they were with peugeot)? i’ve sort of looked around a little but no luck. anyone recall the book?

  3. Matchett is the “technical expert” component of the US F1 commentary team. He was very very concerned this past weekend because it was his car that nearly formed the foundation of Jos Verstappen’s funeral pyre in that horrifying refueling accident.

    He seems like a very sharp guy – he certainly has a name for every single piece of the car. I’ve never heard an Englishman say “dude” so much, though.

  4. Terry Fabulous
    9th August 2008, 6:17

    Rubython’s book on Senna was a little fawning but otherwise a corker. Looking forward to reading JYS’s when it is paperbacked in OZ.

    Otherwise, a James Elroy crime novel like American Tabloid or LA Confidential is always worth reading, (if not totally off topic!)

  5. I really cannot recommend “Winning is not Enough” enough ;)

    So well written, full of fascinating stories, and really makes you live the experiences Sir Jackie has had.

    Well worth the cover price.

  6. Thank you very much! I have always loved F1 racing since I was little, but being a girl, it is hard to find materials that are accurate so I thank you for the time that you take for reviews. I shall read them!

  7. You forgot the wildest one of all! MIRACLE AT MONACO !!

  8. I was given a formula 1 one book by one of my american cousins for my birthday. I have not read it yet, but it looks like it should be very informative when i get round to reading it.


    it covers all the years 1950 upto 2008

  9. I would recommend Martin Brundle’s book ‘Working the Wheel’. It is full of stories and information about the great circuits of the world as well as about racing in general and about Brundle’s career. Very good read.

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