“Formula One: The Real Score?” reviewed

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The idea of having races for Formula One cars which aren’t part of the world championship is one we’ve lost. Well over three decades have passed since the last non-championship race.

But events like the International Trophy and the Pau Grand Prix were once major fixtures on the motor racing calendar, even if they weren’t points-scoring events.

And arguably, because we now concentrate only on the championship we tend to overlook the importance of these races. In “Formula One: The Real Score?” Brian Harvey makes the case for why F1 history enthusiasts should pay more attention to them – particularly when discussing the eternal question ‘who was the best F1 driver of all time?’.

The meat of the book is brief accounts of hundreds of these races. Harvey has even gone to the trouble of grading each race to assess which were up to the same standard as rounds of the world championship.

By adding in these ‘missing’ races and – rather subjectively – potential wins drivers lost due to misfortune, Harvey produces his list of the top 50 drivers of all time. As tends to be the case with these statistics-heavy approaches, the result feels somewhat simplistic, the top end of the list dominated by names from the fifties and earlier.

The text can be a slog at times with many excessive exclamations, digressions into irrelevance and unnecessary capitalisations. In places it reads like an over-long forum post.

The book would probably have benefitted from ditching the driver ranking aspect and concentrating on the race reports. The pithily-written guides to often-overlooked races are the reason to buy this book.

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Formula One: The Real Score?

Author: Brian Garvey
Publisher: Veloce
Published: 2017
Pages: 352
Price: £45.00
ISBN: 9781845846237


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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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4 comments on ““Formula One: The Real Score?” reviewed”

  1. In one respect, reviving and reviewing the sport of years long gone can be nothing but a good thing as there is a heavy bias towards over-assessing the merits of current and recently retired drivers – an affliction all sports suffer from.

  2. I do wish there was a way to rank drivers across all motorsport series in one ranking system – Formula 1, IndyCar, Dakar, NASCAR, Le Mans 24 Hours/WEC, Pikes Peak/Hillclimb, WRC, etc.

    I don’t have a ranking, but I have my list of the best, currently active drivers in the world – Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Nasser Al-Attiyah, Stephane Peterhansel, Carlos Sainz, Jimmie Johnson, Sebastien Ogier, Romain Dumas. Ranking them is a tough part though, but I’ll surely attempt it.

    1. Nice idea, although I guess it would be the motorsport equivalent of a world ranking system that had tennis, badminton and squash all in it…

      I guess that’s the appeal of things like the “triple crown”, Alonso at Indy, Hulkenberg at Le Mans, the “race of two worlds”, the early years of the F1 championship having the Indy 500 as a round…that feeling of different racing cultures clashing in an unexpected way when normally they exist in their own little bubbles.

      What would be cool (but deeply impractical) would be a proper “Motorsport World Championship”. Something a bit more advanced than the (crap, sorry…) Race of Champions – a season long competition where drivers take part in all the events but over different styles of racing, so rally, rallycross, touring cars, single seaters (road courses and ovals), go-karts and prototype-style endurance racing etc. Since I’m dreaming, might as well throw in a round of truck racing, and not sure if a motorcycling and powerboat round is just going too far!

      Obviously it would need to be sort of Asda “own brand” versions of F1, Indycar, WTCC, WRC etc. to even be somewhere remotely feasible, but sort of like a year-long decathlon for motorsports. Or even if you limited it to just 4, 5 distinct disciplines, you could probably get 4 or 5 rounds of each in a season, if some oil-rich Arab sheikh decides to bankroll it.

      Let’s make it happen :-D

    2. It’s difficult enough already to rank drivers in any non spec series, like F1 or WEC, let alone drivers from different disciplines. All drivers come from karting so I usually use that as my reference.

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