The Chariot Makers: Assembling the Perfect Formula 1 Car Paperback – Aug 1 2005
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"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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Grand Prix mechanic turned author, columnist, editor and television broadcaster, Steve Matchett is an exceptionally rare commodity - a commentator of genuine insight; a man that has prepared world championship-winning machinery with his own hands. Standing alongside Ross Brawn and Michael Schumacher, Matchett worked the pit lanes of the world's most challenging sport throughout all of Benetton's glory years. He is currently a contributor to F1 Racing magazine and technical analyst to North America's SPEED Channel, a key member of their broadcasting team. He is the author of Life in the Fast Lane, The Mechanic's Tale and The Chariot Makers, all of which have been highly praised.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
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.
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.