The Mechanic’s Tale, by Steve Matchett 
Paperback, © 2000 Orion, ISBN 9780752827834

From the writer of Life in the Fast Lane, former Formula One chief mechanic – Steve Matchett’s second book of his autobiographical trilogy – The Mechanic’s Tale covers his entire career with a strong emphasis on the 1994 season until his retirement in 1998.

Machett’s prose on the pressures and efforts of assembling a winning Formula One car makes a compelling read. For ten years, Matchett was chief mechanic with the Benetton Formula One team and witnessed the arrivals of impeccable talents such as Nigel Mansell, Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher.

With an insight from his time as an apprentice for Ferrari and BMW, to his success with Benetton, Matchett goes to specific detail of the promotions, pay rises and the overall philosophical ideals that come with the motorsport.

Matchett was part of the Benetton team that won the Drivers' Championship in 1994Matchett’s focus on key Benetton personalities explains how the team was transformed into a strong, competitive organisation, winning three World Championships.

Schumacher’s success with Benetton is described in these passages – winning the Drivers’ Championship in 1994 and repeating the streak the following year, winning the Constructors’ Championship.

From a mechanic’s perspective, Matchett explains why he opposes refuelling during a race. His sentiments are echoed throughout the book that describes the practice being grossly artificial and increasing danger at the pit stops.

Matchett’s description of day-to-day life as a Formula One mechanic highlights both life in the factory and on the road with the race team. He even discusses some extreme perspectives noting that the sport should shift from the driver politics and focus on the technology of the vehicles.

Life in the Fast Lane is truly portrayed by Matchett’s fervour to motorsport. He discusses the persistence which is required and serves as an inspiration to readers. The Mechanic’s Tale delivers a fast-moving account of the Formula One culture and is a must-read for enthusiasts whose interest goes beyond driver biographies and glossy magazines.

Using our unique ‘Chequered Flags’ rating system, we award The Mechanic’s Tale


This title is available for sale on – click on the banner below to purchase it online:

Buy this title on Amazon!

Click here to return to view other book reviews on

Today’s review was written by Melbourne-based reader Suzan Mustafa, who has joined the team as a guest product reviewer. If you would be interested in learning more about becoming a product reviewer, click here.

Suzan Mustafa
The following two tabs change content below.

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.