“Formula 1 Technology – The Engineering Explained” book reviewed


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Watching a dull Formula 1 grand prix, it is disconcertingly easy to forget just what technical marvels the cars are. At the very forefront of mechanical and technical design, their performance and reliability is astounding – as is their complexity.

I wouldn’t even know where to start in describing how the cars work – but fortunately Steve Rendle does. His new book ‘Formula 1 Technology – The Engineering Explained’ is the perfect primer for anyone interested in the technical aspect of the sport. As a piece of research and technical writing made accessible, it is a true achievement.

After a brief chapter spinning through the evolution of Formula 1 cars from the inaugural 1950 season to the present day, the structure of the book follows a component-by-component – chassis, power unit, aerodynamics, etcetera – explanation of how a Formula 1 car works.

Managing to be both comprehensive and accessible, ‘Formula 1 Technology’ is easy to dip into, making it the perfect sofa companion during a grand prix weekend for unpicking the updates from the pitlane. The challenge with books in this territory is balancing the detail level between novice-friendly and doctorate, and it is rare to see it done as well as this. Comprehensive illustrations also helpfully clarify some of the finer points.

While trade secrets aren’t exactly given away, it is also clear that Rendle has had first-hand observation of the workings of modern F1 cars, giving insider credibility that could easily be lacking otherwise. I found the chapters about testing and set-up particularly fascinating.

For the F1 fan with a technical interest, this is a must-have. Particularly at the start of a new season when understanding those winter tweaks is paramount.

RaceFans rating

Rating five out of five

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Formula 1 Technology – The Engineering Explained

Author: Steve Rendle
Publisher: Evro Publishing
Published: February 2023
Pages: 336
Price: £55
ISBN: 978-1-910505-73-1

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Ben Evans
Motorsport commentator Ben is RaceFans' resident bookworm. Look out for his verdict on the latest motor racing publications on Sundays....

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3 comments on ““Formula 1 Technology – The Engineering Explained” book reviewed”

  1. Who’s Steve Rendle??

  2. Rendle’s work on the ‘Red Bull Formula 1 Car Manual’ was pretty good, so a more general take on modern F1 cars probably suits his style and knowledge well. I see on the publisher’s website that they’re using a mixture of photos, drawings (most of them seemingly by Giorgio Piola) and a few renders from third parties. Piola isn’t the quickest, and the drawings seem to reflect that in being a couple of years old. Not a big issue given the concepts are largely unchanged (and I suspect there’ll be more current images in the part not shown in the preview about current floor designs).

    Evro can sometimes be a bit off with their measurements, but from the few units used on the preview pages it seems they’ve kept a global audience in mind and used appropriate standard measurement units.

    One quibble;

    At the very forefront of mechanical and technical design, their performance and reliability is astounding – as is their complexity.

    F1 is actually quite behind the times on a lot of mechanical and technical aspects, but there are good competitive justifications for most of those limitations. They’re definitely pushing what they can use to their extremes, though.

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