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Chariot Makers [Hardcover]

Steve Matchett

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Book Description

April 1 2004
Join Steve Matchett, racing broadcaster, columnist, and longtime Formula 1 mechanic for the championship Benetton team, on a quest to build the ultimate racing machine. During a fogbound evening in an airport lounge, Matchett and some fellow enthusiasts began a discussion of racecar design, a conversation which evolved into a detailed examination of the teams and technologies behind the world’s most complex sport. Their thoughts are captured here, from choosing the best chassis and most advanced suspension to building the strongest gearbox, providing an unmatched insider view of the international F1 scene.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (April 1 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752856499
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752856490
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.3 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 567 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,080,522 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Fluent, often entertaining" SUNDAY TIMES SPORT "Formula One's just kicked off and here's about the best mood-setter for it there's been for a good many years. This highly original piece of work does exactly what it says it will. And very well too." LADSMAG "A good idea, well done." MOTORSPORT "A loving, detailed account of F1's greatest achievements." ZOO WEEKLY "Steve Matchett is one of the best writers on the sport. Matchett's latest book is well worth a look ... informative and fact-filled." DAILY EXPRESS MOTORING "Formula One fans should read Matchett, who does a good job of reducing science to a comprehensible level." THE TIMES BUSINESS

About the Author

Steve Matchett has spent over twenty years in the pit-lane. Now living in western France he writes on F1 for a variety of publications and works as a broadcaster for a US motor sports channel.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  40 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating intro to F1 technology Sept. 28 2004
By M. Rosen - Published on
I'm a big F1 fan and enjoy listening to Matchett's commentary on the Speed F1 broadcasts. He's intelligent, well-spoken and has a deep base of knowledge of the F1 universe. This book literally picks Matchett's brain for every scrap of knowledge about the mechanics and science (and art) of Formula 1 racecar design. It's built around a somewhat affected premise of a long airplane flight conversation with some fictional F1 fans. This is the only part of the book that feels a little weak. He doesn't write fiction as well as facts, and his new-found friends come off sounding like a group of wealthy British twits. One even asks Steve "What say you, old man?". Please tell me no one still says things like that.

I still strongly recommend this book. I learned a lot about F1 car design and the science of racing in general, as well as some interesting background on the people involved in the sport.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay but not indepth regarding F1 technology Jan. 29 2008
By FerrariF1Fan - Published on
I actually read this book about 3 months ago but forgot to publish a review of it. I bought this book hoping that I'd get some detailed info regarding current F1 cars. Although the book covered many topics relating to the cars, it just didn't have the info I was looking for. I've been looking for something that will provide detailed info regarding the design and function of the various components on a modern F1 car. It's possible that the book I'm looking for hasn't been published yet. At any rate, this wasn't a bad read for an F1 fan.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Insider's View of Formula One March 1 2011
By mastermindquiet - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Steve Matchett is a former Formula One mechanic who has become a successful writer and currently is a commentator for Speed TV and ESPN. In this book, Matchett weaves a tale set in an airport bar, where he and a few others wait for hours and hours for a delayed trans-Atlantic flight. To past the time they discuss what would make up an idea F1 car and team. However, the book is actually much better than this rather tissue-thin back story would suggest, although Matchett swears that the events he uses in the back story did happen, although he did alter the time sequencing and people.

Once you get past the setup, most of the rest of the book is an enjoyable discussion of Formula One technology, construction techniques and race craft. Matchett does touch upon the historic background of many of the subjects, but mostly he deals with the modern era. His style is informative without being too wrapped up in techno-speak. And, just as if he was conversing with a group of people, there are questions asked by his fellow would-be passengers that allow Matchett to explain and illustrate points so that the layman could comprehend them.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes racing, has an interest in F1 and would like to find out more about it without having to delve into much more technical books. As is always true in F1, as soon as a book is published the information in is becomes out of date, but enough of the currently technology of F1 has been around since before Matchett wrote this book that it does have relevance to the current racing season. And Matchett is a good writer, dubious back story or not.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dissapointed Aug. 22 2007
By R. Kendall - Published on
Although the writing is fine the technical content and graphics in this book are very 'lightweight'. There is nothing here that a casual enthusiast who reads F1 news stand magazines would not already know. Not recommended.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good intro for new F1 fans Nov. 3 2006
By H. Wu - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The setting is rather contrived at best (airport lounge for Concorde and a collection of rich, boozing, but technically uninformed F1 fans). The information delivered is adequate, and there are a number of good tidbits, such as the challenges of creating carbon fibre brake discs and the relative advantages/costs thereof.

For those familiar with F1, there is not all that much there, but for those who have an interest but lack much of the technical background to appreciate the level of ferocious competition, it can be a good eye-opener. The informal, chatty style fits the contrived scene.

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