Book Review


AUTOCOURSE is THE Formula One book to have

 by Mark Cipolloni
December 23, 2000


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Every year I wait anxiously for the new AUTOCOURSE Annual to be published.  When it comes to documenting a Formula One season, the folks at Hazelton Publishing do it best. 

AUTOCOURSE has no equal, and this years 2000-2001, 304-page, 50th anniversary edition, once again raises the bar by which all other auto racing annuals are measured.   To me you are not a true die-hard Formula One fan if you don't buy AUTOCOURSE.  It is THE Formula One bible.  

Being American, I started buying AUTOCOURSE back in 1976 when I was following American Mario Andretti's quest for the F1 title.  Even though there have been few Americans in F1 since Mario left in the early 80's, I have continued to buy the book because I love F1 and I love AUTOCOURSE.  When my racing friends want to argue about some racing trivia, we usually end up dusting off our old versions to determine who is right.

Each edition of AUTOCOURSE continually improves on the previous years with outstanding statistics for each race including lap charts, the absolute best photographs from the world's best photographers and an always intriguing editor's top ten drivers list. The race reports don't miss a beat from first to last place. The technical breakdown gives every detail of each car down to what brake pads and spark plugs they use.  The high quality glossy paper helps make the 350 incredible color photographs jump right out of the page at you.  The only thing missing is the sound.

Although three-quarters of the book is devoted to Formula One, the last one-third covers Formula 3000, Formula 3, GT Racing, Touring Cars, the USA racing scene and an appendix of race results from around the world.

In 2000 Michael Schumacher brought Ferrari the world driving championship for the first time since 1979 when Jody Scheckter won it.  It was a banner year for the tifosi and AUTOCOURSE captured every important moment.

After the traditional Editor's introduction by Alan Henry and the Top Ten Drivers of 2000 ranking, this year's book includes a profile on Michael Schumacher, a special called "Wrestling with 50-Years of The Top Ten" by Alan Henry, a special interview with Max Mosley by Alan Henry, a retrospect on 50 years of F1 car design  by Gordon Murray, a retrospect on 50 years of F1 tire development by Alan Henry, and a special feature on the Coming of Age of the BAR team.  

That is followed by a detailed analysis of each F1 team, including the drivers, sponsors, principals, Engine, Transmission, chassis and illustrations of the cars complete with sponsor logos (see illustration to left).  There's also a special feature that documents the 40-year racing history of Marenello Concessionaires LTD.

Some say the editor of this great book, Alan Henry, is simply the best-ever motor racing journalist to appear in England. He knows the technical side, the human side, the money side of every detail in F-1, for a very long time. He's the natural choice to edit this famous annual and he certainly has not lost any of his touch.

My favorite part of the book is the race reports.  They are detailed, easy to read and full of race statistics including track diagrams that show speed and gear selection at key places around the circuit.  Included is a comprehensive race result tables, starting grid, fast times in each practice session, race warm-up times, and race fastest lap.  Their lap chart is colorful and easy to follow (see illustration at right). 

Hazelton also produces the annual AUTOCOURSE CART official Champ Car yearbook, and similarly, it is THE bible of CART.  They don't stop there.  They do the same for motorcycle racing with their MOTOCOURSE publication, and Rally racing with their Rallycourse publication.  Every year they produce wonderful F1, CART, and Motorcycle racing calendars, and they too set the standard by which all other calendars are measured.  Then there's the 50-years of Grand Prix Motor Racing book, 50-years of Moto Grand Prix History, CART The first 25 Years books, and more.  Each one with the same high level of quality seasoned race fans have come to expect.

If you are a true F1 fan and have never bought this book, I suggest you do so. You'll find it hard to put down. If you have bought AUTOCOURSE before, you already know what I am talking about.   This and other great Hazelton racing book are available online from Amazon. 

Autocourse F1 2000-2001 Annual - Order here.
Autocourse CART 2000-2001 Annual - Order here
Autocourse F1 2001 Calendar - Order here
Autocourse CART 2001 Calendar - Order here
Motocourse 2000-2001 Annual - Order here
Autocourse: 50-years of GP Motor Racing - Order here

The author can be contacted at markc@autoracing1.com

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