on March 10, 2004
Another year, another Autocourse Annual. While in recent years, my usual anticipation of recieving my Autocourse has receded somewhat, due to what I feel is lower quality product than in past years and superior annuals from other publishers, this year was a little different. This stems from the fact that earlier this year I purchased the F1 Annual-The Season, the latest effort from Bernie Ecclestone's mob. In stark contrast to the F1 annuals of 2001 and 2002, the 2003 edition was extremely disappointing. Since then I have heard that Ecclestone has shut down his F1 magazine (on which the F1 annual is based) so it's probably unlikely we will see another edition of the F1 annual.
So unlike past years, I was actually looking forward to getting my Autocourse. Having now recieved after my first order went missing in the post (Amazon resent the entire order with absolutely no hassles! Good on you Amazon), I can say that Autocourse is easily the superior product of the two. As usual it has the Editors top 10 drivers, always a source of contention amongst F1 fans, the teams review (much better than F1 Annual this year although I wish Autocourse would take on board what F1 Annual did in 2001/2002 in this area) as well as the race coverage. Photography is excellent as always (Darren Heath is now onboard as chief photographer). The results pages (far, far superior to F1 annual this year) has been spruced up with nice graphics displaying the qualifying positions, but if I have a gripe with Autocourse this year, it is that they changed the format a little halfway through the year by starting to include the 2nd practice times from saturday midway through the year instead of from the start. A very minor point though. For 2003 however, there probably is'nt a superior annual of the Formula One season than Autocourse, and it sure spanks F1 Annual this year, but that is more to the poor editoral content of F1 Annual than any improvement from Hazelton.
So all in all, Autocourse for 2003 is much the same as 2002 and 2001 and... you get the picture.