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The Chariot Makers: Assembling the Perfect Formula 1 Car [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: 23.9 x 16.5 x 2.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 567 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,215,623 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.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  41 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 Amazon.com
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 Amazon.com
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.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Nuts and Bolts of Formula One Sept. 16 2005
By Leo Lim - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Matchett's latest offering opens the readers' eyes to the pinnacle of motorsport engineering that is Formula One and he does not disappoint.

Discussions on this book center around a car's "stressed members" namely the monocoque, engine and gearbox. Also mentioned is the design of the fuel tank which I find particularly interesting in light of BAR's "disqualification" from the 2005 San Marino Grand Prix for essentially using the same design as described here.
The reader also gets to differentiate between a pull rod vs a push rod suspension, twin keel vs single keel, oversteer vs understeer. Quite interesting also are Matchett's insights into the tire war.

My only beef with this book is that for a technical introduction to Formula One, it should contain more schematic drawings so that a reader who is not a mechanical engineer can readily grasp it without going through secondary sources. The context in which this book unfolds i.e. in an airport lounge among a group of stranded passengers seems out of place and sometimes gets in the way of the technical detail.

Little shortcomings notwithstanding, this has proven to be quite a good technical introduction to Formula One and inevitably makes the reader look beyond the drivers and pay closer attention to their steeds which are the real works of art.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great romp through the arcane world of F1 Aug. 19 2004
By Joe C. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Covering all aspects of the modern F1 car from nose cone to diffusers, Matchett serves up a masterful analysis of what's in an F1 car and why. Couched in the form of a chance encounter with F1 enthusiasts, his artful descriptions of the hyper technology and old fashioned elbow grease needed to extrude the final magnificent result are a pleasure to read.

To the enthusiast, this book will be a page turner. To the newbie, an approachable, non-condescending, very informative read.

However, the travelogue introduction and conclusion are a bit of an indulgence. They do, however, help the reader get to know Steve the person, reminding us that he is in some ways a regular guy who eats at diners in Manhattan and sips coffee in Paris, in addition to being at the pinnacle of the motorsport-journalist world, and enshrined in F1 hall-of-fame-of-the-mind for his role in the 1994 World Championship.
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 Amazon.com
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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