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Features - Book Review

DECEMBER 19, 2003

The Powerbrokers

The Powerbrokers

By Alan Henry

Motorbooks International, hardback, 208pp, £16.99

ISBN 0-7603-1650-3

Another contributor, Alan Henry is probably the best qualified of all Formula 1 journalists to write about Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley, although being close to the subject in this circumstance is probably a disadvantage because the need to work with the subjects on a day to day basis means that Henry has had to be careful not to rock the boat too much. Alan is the master of writing about contentious issues without upsetting too many people and there is nothing in this book which will cause offence. Alas, it also means that the books feels as though it lacks an edge.

Henry has been following the careers of Mosley and Ecclestone since the early 1970s when they first crossed swords. It is a complicated story and may not be to the taste of all race fans but this account helps explain step by step how it was that Ecclestone became one of the richest men in Britain and how Mosley rose to the head of the international automobile federation. Along the way there are plenty of anecdotes.

There are also chapters on Sir Jackie Stewart, the other F1 team bosses and the future of the British GP but these seem somewhat out of place in a book which is essentially about the two major players in the politics of the sport in the last 20 years. Henry has steered clear of the complex and controversial story of Jean-Marie Balestre, indeed Mosley's predecessor warrants only a few pages - which is odd - and Patrick McNally, who controls a huge chunk of F1's income and has done for the last 15 years, is mentioned only once.

Perhaps it would be a better book if it was more a little more contentious but I learned from the book and it is a good summary of how things happened.

Joe Saward