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Features - Book Review

JANUARY 28, 2004

Ferrari Formula 1

Ferrari Formula 1

Under the Skin of the Championship-winning F1-2000

By Peter Wright

David Bull Publishing, hardback, 260pp, $89.95

ISBN 1 893618 29 3

You might argue that producing a book in 2004 about a car which won the World Championship in 2000 is a strange thing to do, but that is to analyse this book in quite the wrong way. This is not a "news" book which is late arriving but rather a history book which is well ahead of its time. When you read Peter Wright's in-depth analysis of Ferrari's World Championship efforts in 2000 you will understand why he has adopted this approach. To try to do the same on the 2003 Ferrari would simply not have been possible because the kind of information that appears in this book is not generally available until many years after a car has been consigned to the museum. In writing this book, Wright enjoyed the complete cooperation of the Ferrari team and its partners and that allowed him access to an extraordinary amount of information and gave him interviews that are simply not available in modern F1. Wright has drawings, graphs, photographs and even stress analysis data about the F1-2000.

Wright needs no introduction as a Formula 1 engineer nor as a writer. He fully understands the subject matter and as usual is able to present it in such a way that it is intelligible to mere mortals as well as F1 engineers. Although primarily a technical publication, this book also covers other important aspects related to Ferrari's success, analysing the role of proper management in success; the philosophies of the major players and the facilities available.

The car itself is broken down into a series of chapters relating to the design and build of the chassis, the engine, the transmission, the aerodynamics, the brakes, suspension and steering; the safety structures; the vehicle dynamics and takes it through to the development and performance of the car in the races. Significantly, Wright also includes in-depth analysis on the importance of Bridgestone tyres and Shell fuels, areas which are often overlooked when the performance of F1 cars is analysed.

Wright's interviews include in-depth talks with Michael Schumacher and all the other major players in the team and the illustrations are remarkable. By the time you reach the end of the book you feel that you know a great deal more about Ferrari and how the team operates and that is what gives this book a modern edge, because the same team remains in place today.

This book is a must for serious Ferrari fans and for collectors.

Joe Saward