“Lunches with Legends” reviewed

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Last year I was disappointed to learn Haynes were to cease publishing new motor racing books. As many F1 Fanatic readers will know dozens of their books have been featured here over the years and many of them were reviewed very positively.

That was certainly the case for one of the last Haynes titles I received for review, Motor Sport Greats in Conversation, a collection of 24 interviews with famous motor racing figures originally conducted by Simon Taylor for MotorSport magazine.

Twelve months later, here is a new book with an identical premise. Lunches with Legends compiles 20 in-depth interviews originally published in F1 Racing magazine written by another of the sport’s great chroniclers, Maurice Hamilton (author of Williams, Chequered Conflict and others).

Wisely, from the three years’ worth of interviews available for Lunches with Legends, the selection chosen for this book does not overlap too closely with those of the title it bears such a conspicuous similarity to. Only Damon Hill and Alan Jones appear in both.

Unlike Greats, all the characters in Legends are principally known for their time in Formula One. And what a fascinating cross-section of champions, team owners and political figures it is, including Max Mosley, Frank Williams, John Surtees, Peter Sauber, Charlie Whiting and Alain Prost.

The most significant difference between the two is that while Taylor’s interviews are written as straight prose, Hamilton’s remain in their original Q&A form. To an extent this is a matter of personal preference, but I found that made for a less enjoyable read, and the text would have benefitted from the occasional interjection of context to smooth the transition from one subject to another. It’s also missing an index.

However there’s no faulting Hamilton’s knowledge of his subjects and his talent for getting the best out of them. The introduction to the Niki Lauda interview is proof of that, and Lauda’s account of responding to the crash involving one of his airliners that claimed over 200 lives in 1991 is fascinating.

Lunch with Legends suffers a little in comparison with Motor Sport Greats as you get slightly less for 50% more outlay. But if the F1 Racing interviews passed you by this is a fantastic purchase for some winter reading as we wait for the off-season to finish. It’s limited to a print run of 3,000 initially, so you’ll have to move quickly if you want a copy.

F1 Fanatic rating

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Lunches with Legends: One-to-one with the legends of motorsport

Author: Maurice Hamilton
Publisher: F1 Racing/Haymarket
Published: 2013
Pages: 285
Price: 29.95
ISBN: 9780957532021


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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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14 comments on ““Lunches with Legends” reviewed”

  1. It seems nitpicky, but I loathe the fonts on the front cover, they’re horribly 70’s; a decade well known for visual horrors. It makes me assume the book is years out of date.

    1. Whilst you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, I would entirely agree. It looks like the sort of book I’d pick up in a charity sale and then put it back as it didn’t look worth the £1.50 price sticker!

    2. How about the title itself… really? Nothing more imaginative to offer than ‘Lunches With Legends’? Could have been something like ‘Eating Out With The Best Of’Em’. No wait… But seriously, it begs for parody: ‘Formula Lunch’? ‘Fine palates and petrol heads’? ‘Quick eats with quick men’?

      1. Fast Food?

      2. Winners’ Dinners.

          1. Chequered flags stories over champagne & chicken followed by cheese and crackers

      3. @maciek The book should have been entitled Formula Lunch, and that’s all there is to it!

  2. Yannis Kappapis
    12th January 2014, 11:21

    No Bernie Ecc
    No Michael Schu
    No Keith Coll
    No Ross Braw
    Huge gaps

  3. thanks for the review, keith. for me, the q&a format works fine in magazine format, but i don’t know if i will care for it in book form. will you be reviewing the other f1 racing book – f1 retro 1970 by mark hughes?

  4. It’s an interesting way of giving it timeless appeal…

    Shame there’s not an electronic version (yet). The Q&A format may stink of press releases, but it would be great for reading in short bursts, or dipping into.

    1. I was trying to reply to the first comment by Hairs, but missed.

  5. I hope one day people will stop referring to Murray Walker as some sort of an F1 treasure, and even more ridiculously “great”. The guy was a commentator, likable and enthusiastic one, but that’s just about that. He was hardly an expert. His contributions during broadcasts were more in line with some nonsense irrelevant chit-chat than what was actually going on, and when he did comment on what was going on, he failed to properly identify what was actually happening.

    He obviously seems like a nice guy and one that really likes the sport he commented on, but I’m really not interested in reading about him in F1 books.

  6. Yet another book, about the same old folks. Nothing new, nothing original, the content has even been published before! There are 5 new books published about Senna EVERY year. Since these are merely pathetic attempts at extracting more money by rehashing old content, I suggest that Keith should not even bother with reviewing them.

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