Much of the charm of ‘countdown’ books is that they’re largely pointless and they almost instantly become outdated as soon as they hit the shelves.
As the book’s author, esteemed F1 journalist Alan Henry, acknowledges, it’s almost impossible to come up with a definitive ranking when trying to compare drivers from different eras. But it does give him a platform to relive the past exploits – and revive a few reputations – of some of the sport’s best craftsmen behind the wheel. The end result is an interesting and certainly contentious ‘100-to-1’ countdown.
Some on his list are sadly long-gone, while others will only be recognised by the true ‘anoraks’ of the sport. There are also those whose talents rarely had the chance to make themselves known on account of their equipment, while there are of course the obvious choices, like Fangio, Stewart, Senna, Schumacher, Moss et al.
What lets the book down, sadly, is that Henry doesn’t reference his selection of drivers back to the remit he set out in the book’s preface. Often failing to build excitement in the reader about why his selections embody the characteristics that make them a top-100 driver, he resorts to too much reliance on statistics alone and his driver profiles are often noticeably, and breathlessly, brief.
Closer examination of his earlier titles and it turns out that much of the text – certainly for any driver whose career pre-dates the early 1990s – is lifted (often with more brevity) straight from his earlier Formula One: Driver by Driver publication.
With this in mind, the title falls well short of the potential it so certainly could have enjoyed and deserved.
Using our unique ‘Chequered Flags’ rating system, we award The Top 100 F1 Drivers of All Time…
OUT OF A POSSIBLE FIVE.
The Top 100 F1 Drivers of All Timeis available at specialist and second-hand bookstores.
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