Formula 1: The Knowledge (Second Edition) reviewed

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As you may have noticed, I love a good stat. But it must be a good stat.

There are good stats and bad stats. Bad stats are filler for dead airtime and corporate social media accounts: How many hotdogs would it take to cover the surface area of the Circuit of the Americas? How much lobster gets eaten during the Singapore Grand Prix weekend? Who honestly cares?

Good stats tell us things. They uncover surprising stories. They quantify the influence of the fickle finger of fortune. They can even entertain and amuse.

But mostly they measure achievement. Who was the best overtaker? The fastest qualifier? The unlikeliest champion?

David Hayhoe is one of the foremost chroniclers of Formula 1 by numbers, having compiled the statistics section for the definitive Autocourse annuals since 1991 and contributed to the Wisden-esque Grand Prix Data Book. Three years ago he self-published the first edition of Formula 1: The Knowledge, a statistical guide which avoided the repetitiveness (and, frankly, unnecessary bulk) of endless race results in favour of a thematic, chapter-by-chapter break-down of the sport by drivers, teams, engines and more.

It’s an approach which works well. Obviously this is never going to be the kind of book to sit down and read cover-to-cover, but whenever you start wondering ‘I wonder if anyone ever…’, you’ll find it in your hands.

That said, this is not a dry and by-the-numbers as you might imagine. There are occasional semi-prose sections explaining unusual coincidences, common tales of brushes with the law or drivers pushing their own cars, and a useful potted history of the rule book.

This second edition has been published by Veloce and there is a noticeable clash between the neat, condensed format retained from the original and the exterior cover changes and new photographic section inside, particularly in choice of font. The selection of images seems to have more to do with what was available than what was chosen; surely some attempt could have been made to marry each picture to some significant titbit?

However the core of the book remains its meticulously researched and detailed deconstruction of Formula 1 by every metric you can think of. And not a ‘bad stat’ in sight.

RaceFans rating

Rating five out of five

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Formula 1: The Knowledge (Second Edition)

Author: David Hayhoe
Publisher: Veloce
Published: 2019
Pages: 544
Price: £55.00
ISBN: 9781787112377

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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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4 comments on “Formula 1: The Knowledge (Second Edition) reviewed”

  1. Sounds great. Though I am kind of hoping that in the third edition Hayhoe adds a tiny appendix about lobster.

    1. And you can’t not like @BadF1Stats (Twitter):

      Every driver who was Yuji Ide’s teammate in F1 has won the #Indy500

  2. The one stat I can immediately think of is, Fernando Alonso won both the Monaco Grand Prix and the Le Mans 24 Hours twice. But that’s not all. He also won consecutive editions of each event – Monaco GP in 2006 & 2007 and Le Mans 24 Hours in 2018 & 2019!

  3. Jose Lopes da Silva
    8th July 2019, 12:27

    Norris and Raikkonen were fighting each other at a time one of them was more than twice the age of the other.

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