The 1994 F1 season shaped the modern world championship like no other 12 months in the sport’s history. The deaths of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger and a series of other serious crashes forced the sport to drastically reconsider its approach to safety.Alain Prost, triggered a changing of the guard. The new talent of Michael Schumacher rose to take his place, but his first world championship victory was marked by a series of controversies and was decided by a contentious collision with Damon Hill.
Many chapters have been written on the events of this year, not least in the numerous volumes on Senna. Hill himself (in “Grand Prix Year”) and Benetton mechanic-turned-broadcaster Steve Matchett (in “Life in the Fast Lane”) provided fascinating insights from the two teams which duelled over that year’s championships.
Now Ibrar Malik has produced a broad history of the season in “1994: The Untold Story”. Reminiscent of Christopher Hilton’s book on 1982 – another season marked by tragedy, political intrigue and a down-to-the-wire title fight – Malik has penned a well-research and thorough guide to the period.
With 25 years of hindsight it is easy to view 1994 through a mawkish lens focusing on the events in Imola. But in an era where F1 weekends seem to come and go without many talking points, in 1994 something extraordinary seemed to happen at every round. Mentally I’m already back in front of the television in the small hours watching Hill’s mastery of the wet in Suzuka, and ‘that’ collision in Adelaide.
Malik has dug deep with his sources for the book, and not being one of the usual F1 publication suspects, brings a refreshingly different perspective and array of interviews, particularly from mechanics on the front line. Likewise the text is not just a rehash (or reprint) of contemporary reports, which gives some refreshing perspective, and pushes for new insights.
As with other releases from Performance Publishing the book is very well presented with some great illustrative photos throughout. Equally, priced at a not unreasonable £29, this is well worth the investment, and a worth addition to the bookshelf.
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“1994: The Untold Story of a Tragic and Controversial F1 Season”
Author: Ibrar Malik
Publisher: Performance Publishing
RaceFans’ history of the 1994 Formula 1 season
- 1994: Remembering the year everything changed
- 1994 Brazilian Grand Prix: Schumacher wins, Senna spins and Brundle has an incredible escape
- 1994 Pacific Grand Prix: Schumacher wins again as traction control row brews
- 1994 San Marino Grand Prix Friday: Barrichello survives horror crash as F1’s darkest weekend begins
- 1994 San Marino Grand Prix Saturday: How Ratzenberger’s death stunned F1
- 1994 San Marino Grand Prix Sunday: The crash seen around the world
- 1994 Monaco Grand Prix: Schumacher takes fourth win at subdued Monaco
- 1994 Spanish Grand Prix: Hill wins, Schumacher stars on acrimonious weekend
- 1994 Canadian Grand Prix: Schumacher returns to winning ways in Montreal
- 1994 French Grand Prix: Mansell’s return fails to stop another Schumacher win
- 1994 British Grand Prix: Home win for Hill while Schumacher earns ban
- 1994 German Grand Prix: Berger ends Ferrari win drought after Benetton blaze
- 1994 Hungarian Grand Prix: Benetton bounce back with double podium
- 1994 Belgian Grand Prix: Hill handed win as Schumacher is thrown out
- 1994 Italian Grand Prix: Hill wins as crash crushes Lotus’s recovery hopes
- 1994 Portuguese Grand Prix: Hill cuts Schumacher’s lead to one point in Portugal
- 1994 European Grand Prix: Schumacher edges clear as fuel rig thwarts Hill
- 1994 Japanese Grand Prix: Hill denies Schumacher after Brundle’s crash disrupts race
- 1994 Australian Grand Prix: Schumacher’s first title tainted by clash with Hill
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