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Features - Book Review

DECEMBER 12, 2005

Speed Addicts


Speed Addicts

Mark Hughes

Harper Collins, 320pp, Hardback, £35.00

ISBN 0-00-721279-8

Mark Hughes is a well-known name in F1 journalism and deservedly so for he is in the style of the journalists of old who knew the sport in intricate detail and did not get by with lightweight flim-flam and lifestyle articles. Hughes's knowledge is astonishing and he also has a deep understanding of what it is that Formula 1 drivers do when they are in the cockpits. Hughes does not even try to understand all the politics of F1 it is not his thing. And that is good because the key element is passion. Hughes is at heart a fan and his book will appeal to fans. Basically it is a picture book but each section features a short essay by Hughes, each one a thoughtful and yet opinionated analysis on the developing sport. There are useful timelines for each decade but where the book is really strong is in its captioning which makes you feel that you are reading and learning a great deal more than if the book was judged simply on the number of words written. This is a great idea and a good lesson for future publishers. Keith Sutton's photographs and photographic archive material is impressive and there is a nice mix of black and white and colour and dramatic action shots. I am not sure that I would have picked photographs of Stirling Moss bleeding in his car after the accident in 1962 at Goodwood but it gets the point across that the sport was different then. Overall it is a magnificent book although there are a couple of criticisms: there are a few too many pictures of cars and not enough behind the scenes photography (although what there is is good) and the reproduction quality could have been a lot better than it is. Too many of the pictures are too grainy. But there are some wonderful shots which capture the spirit of what F1 is all about and the result is a very nice coffee table book, which will make a very good Christmas present for any F1 fan.