“Grand Prix Who’s Who” fourth edition reviewed

F1 review

Posted on

| Written by

How many drivers have started races which counted towards the world championship? After crunching the numbers earlier this year I came up with a figure of 742.

Steve Small’s Grand Prix Who’s Who attempts to detail the careers of each of them, with potted biographies of each as well as a complete record of their F1 appearances.

The Who’s Who first appeared in 1994, published by Guinness. I have a well-thumbed softback edition which poignantly refers to Ayrton Senna’s recent move to Williams and remarks “it would be a brave man who bets against him rewriting the history books in the future”.

Now in its fourth edition, Autcourse publisher Icon has taken up the rights to the title. The extensively updated tome now appears in a larger format, has doubled in length and quadrupled in weight compared to the original, tipping the scales at a hefty four kilos.

The criteria for inclusion limits its scope to drivers who started in races run to F1 rules which counted towards the world championship. That includes drivers who only competed in F2 machinery in F1 races, and the notorious example of Hans Heyer who failed to qualify for the 1977 German Grand Prix but started it anyway.

It doesn’t include drivers who only started the Indianapolis 500 in the years when it counted towards the world championship nor does it record the Indianapolis 500 starts of drivers who competed in other F1 races, such as Alberto Ascari’s in 1952).

And drivers who failed to qualify for any races such as Pedro Chaves or Perry McCarthy appear in a separate appendix with their careers summarised in a couple of lines.

But even with these minor limitations the book’s scope is enormous. The biographies, each accompanied by an image of the driver, are pithily-written and cover much more than just each drivers’ time in F1. The vast amount of research which must have gone into producing them is impressive.

Even the drivers whose F1 careers ended several years ago have had their biographies updated – the entry for Alex Zanardi refers to his success in this year’s Paralympic games.

Formula One literature features many large, heavy books which are thick with pictures but short on detail. This is my kind of ‘coffee table’ book – pick it up, flick to one of its 800-odd pages at random and you’ll learn something new.

The asking price is high, but the publishers are offering a discount and free UK delivery on their website.

F1 Fanatic rating

Buy the Autocourse Grand Prix Who’s Who from Icon Publishing

Buy the Autocourse Grand Prix Who’s Who (UK)

Buy the Autocourse Grand Prix Who’s Who (USA)

Autocourse Grand Prix Who’s Who fourth edition

Author: Steve Small
Publisher: Icon Publishing
Published: 2012 (Fourth edition)
Pages: 832
Price: 70 / $95
ISBN: 9781905334698

Looking for a present for an F1 fan? Check out the 2012 gift guide:


Browse all Reviews

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

10 comments on ““Grand Prix Who’s Who” fourth edition reviewed”

  1. Drop Valencia!
    2nd December 2012, 12:02

    Looks like a good chrissie prez for me, might leve this screen up for the wife to see…

  2. I guess its exactly the right buy to excell in the F1Fanatic quizzes! :-)

  3. “And drivers who failed to qualify for any races are also omitted so there’s no Pedro Chaves or Perry McCarthy.”

    The original edition (which I also own) had a “Non-Starters” appendix – does this no longer exist?

    1. @midgrid Yes it does – actually I’ll tweak the text to make that a bit clearer.

      1. Thanks. :)

  4. fifty five quid! holey moley. Looks like a great book to have around, though. Tough choice…

  5. I told my partner “no Christmas presents this year” but this is about the fifth thing from f1fanatic that I’ve emailed him a link to this weekend…

  6. Hmmm.. That’s a great idea…. Plus 1 in my Christmas Wish List :D

  7. The price actually seems pretty reasonable to me! I imagine this is the sort of thing reporters/journo’s would love so it could be seen as a pretty small but wise investment.

  8. I am probably a bit late in asking this but when does this book go up to, does it go include all of the 2012 season, part of it or just up to the end of 2011?

    The reason I ask is that Amazon states this was published on 24/7/2012, and a review on Amazon says it goes to the end of the 2011 season, but in the F1 Fanatic review Keith mentions that includes Alex Zanardi’s exploits at the London 2012 Paralympics which were in September.

Comments are closed.