Art of the Formula 1 Race Car, by Stuart Codling & Gordon Murray 
Hardcover, © 2010 Motorbooks, ISBN 9780760337318

Art of the Formula 1 Race CarOne would think it would be impossible to gather eighteen of Formula 1’s most interesting, important, and – sometimes – beautiful cars in to a photographic studio, but that’s precisely what Art of the Formula 1 Race Car is all about.

A coffee table book in the purest definition, the title examines what made some of the sport’s most important racing cars tick. And as they say, beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder…

The usual suspects – the Maserati 250F, Mercedes W196, Tyrrell P34, McLaren MP4/4, Williams FW14 – are of course present and accounted for, but there are also a few more unusual choices.

Take the Brabham BT20, the car which pre-dated Sir Jack’s third and final World Championship, the only one to be won by a driver in a car of his own construction.

imageThere’s also the Leyton House CG901 from 1990, which is the only one in the book not to have won a race – although it came mighty close at the French Grand Prix.

Take a look at this Adrian Newey-designed turquoise-clad car, and you can still see all the Newey hallmarks on display in his designs some almost 25 years on.

As a reader you’re taken through the evolution of the sport, from heavy front-engined monsters from Maserati and Lancia, through the ‘wing’ and ‘ground effect’ era and right into today’s increasingly-sophisticated designs.

The ‘commentary by Gordon Murray’ disappoints. Here is a designer credited with some of the sport’s best innovations and with an intimate knowledge of the sport, and yet his offerings to each design are sadly too short to be really fascinating. His comments almost appear as throwaway lines, and that’s a shame.

In truth, it’s James Mann’s exquisite photography that pulls the entire book together. Every model is brought to life with pages of gorgeous, intricate and very tactile photographs. For an F1 historian, this book is a must-buy purely on this basis alone.

Using our unique ‘Chequered Flags’ rating system, we award Art of the Formula 1 Race Car


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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.