Book Review: AUTOCOURSE 2002-2003 F1 Yearbook


 by Mark Cipolloni
January 2, 2003

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It just gets better
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Every year I wait anxiously for the new AUTOCOURSE Annual CART and F1 yearbooks to be published.  When it comes to documenting a Formula One season or a CART season, the folks at Hazelton Publishing do it best. 

The AUTOCOURSE F1 yearbooks have no equal, and this years 2002-2003, 272-page, 52nd 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 F1 fan if you don't buy AUTOCOURSE.  

I started buying AUTOCOURSE F1 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. I have every AUTOCOURSE CART yearbook published and many F1 versions.  Between the two, they make quite a nice library.

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 200+ incredible color photographs jump right out of the page at you.  The only thing missing is the sound.

Although the majority of the book is devoted to Formula One, there are brief summaries of racing in the USA, F3000, F3, Sports and GT cars, and Touring Cars.

In 2002 Michael Schumacher won his 5th world driving title, and with it equaled the late great Juan Manuel Fangio for the most world driving championships.  It was a banner year for Ferrari and AUTOCOURSE captured every important moment.

The top ten F1 drivers of 2002 were, 1) Michael Schumacher, 2) Kimi Raikkonen, 3) David Coulthard, 4) Juan Montoya, 5) Rubens Barrichello, 6) Ralf Schumacher, 7) Giancarlo Fisichella, 8) Jacques Villeneuve, 9) Jenson Button and 10) Eddie Irvine.

The Top Ten Drivers of 2002 ranking is followed by Special Features that include - "The Price of Domination": Alan Henry assesses the impact of Ferrari's triumphs on the world of F1. "Five-Star General": Alan Henry interviews Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn. "The Art of the Impossible": Alan Henry discusses change in F1 with Max Mosley. "Appreciations": Rob Walker, Jean Stanley and Jim Crawford.

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.

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 even show speed and gear selection at key places around the circuit).  Included is a comprehensive race result tables, starting grid, and race fastest lap.  I love the lap chart that is included. 

As I stated above, Hazelton also produces the annual AUTOCOURSE CART official 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.   Each one with the same high level of quality seasoned race fans have come to expect.

If you are a true Formula One 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. Order Here

The author can be contacted at markc@autoracing1.com

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