Formula One : The Australian and New Zealand Story…

Posted: December 6, 2021 in F1

Formula One : The Australian and New Zealand Story is John Smailes’ latest masterpiece, and what a ripper read it is!

24 ANZACs faced an F1 starter, another 13 tested or raced in non-championship F1 events, this is their story told in John’s relaxed, engaging, informative style chockers with facts.

This time Allen and Unwin have cranked up the production budget, the book is a larger hardback and many of over 150 photographs are colour throughout 295 pages.

Smailes’ (he has now written five books with Allen and Unwin) books are passion projects, each one takes about a year to write, he interviewed 44 of his victims in 2019-2021 (or their nearest and dearest) so it has lots of new stuff, it isn’t a regurgitation of what’s gone before.

The format is ‘chronological interesting’. Whammo, he opens with Oscar Piastri – why not start with the future – before launching into the pre-war generation. There are a couple of drivers with stand-alone chapters, the rest are shared and neatly fuse, for example; Frank Gardner and Paul Hawkins, The Brothers Brabham, the ‘Best Opportunity : Worst Luck’ duo of Chris Amon and David Walker, ‘The Bruce and Denny Show’, and ‘Aussie Grit’ Webber/Ricciardo combination. The telling of the story(s) is skillfully cohesive rather than a bunch of stand-alone chapters.

As with his ‘Speed Kings’ Indy book, John has maintained his focus on others who made it to F1 as well as drivers; it’s fascinating to read about designers, team managers/principals, race officials and entrepreneurs in addition to those behind the wheel.

I’d rate myself a subject matter expert on half the drivers but I learned plenty, even about them. It’s a book the knowledgeable will enjoy, but equally assumes no racing expertise so the kid (or partner) you are trying to nurture in the right direction will engage and enjoy.

It’s a buy folks, $A39.99 from all the usual outlets in Australia and New Zealand. For international readers the ISBN is 978 1 76106 531 6 or http://www.allenandunwin.com

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