Automoblog Book Garage: Formula 1 – The Knowledge (2nd Edition)

  • Formula 1 – The Knowledge 2nd Edition will turn you into a modern-day Motorsport scholar. 
  • Your buddies will be impressed by all the interesting tidbits and information contained within. 
  • Our Book Garage series showcases what every gearhead and enthusiast should add to their library.  

Formula 1 – The Knowledge 2nd Edition: Records and Trivia Since 1950 is an interesting and somewhat unorthodox book. It’s not exactly a page-turner and has no real plot worth mentioning. At the same time, it’s a book that a big time F1 fan will end up going to again and again. How’d they do that anyway? Well, the first edition followed a similar format: the entire book was dedicated to F1 records, statistics, and trivia for fans and enthusiasts. The second edition is now updated again, with current stats and a number of amusing and memorable stories from the history of F1.

One Mighty Tome

Formula 1 – The Knowledge 2nd Edition: Records and Trivia Since 1950 was written by David Hayhoe and published by Veloce Publishing. Hard bound and clocking in at 544 pages it seems to weigh twice what it actually does. It’s a heavy tome, packed literally end-to-end with useful, but largely unreadable information; in the sense of a how you might read traditional book that is. Instead, Formula 1 The Knowledge is basically a book of all the Grand Prix records since the formal codification of the sport in 1950.

The FIA (the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, the people who make up literally all the rules governing Motorsports) have their own version of this book. It’s unofficially called “The White Book” due to the fact it’s bound in white vinyl. Even though this is not The Official record book, it does have the FIA’s White Book beat in a number of ways. First off, the print is bigger. Secondly, there are pictures. A fair number of them. There’s a big section of pictures plopped right in the middle. Some of these shots are familiar but a lot of them seem new. Sure, there’s an understandable bias towards current drivers, but it’s always nice to see a photo of, say, Jack Brabham you’ve never seen before

And yes, there are statistics. Page after page, literally hundreds of pages of statistics. But they are oddly arranged. Unlike The White Book, you won’t be able to flip to a given year and see who came in 12th at the Italian Grand Prix. No, what The Knowledge does is group things, sometimes into childishly-entertaining categories.

Keke Rosberg wins the 1984 Dallas Grand Prix. Photo: Williams F1 Team.

Truth In Numbers

For example, Chapter 1 is titled Coincidences. And that’s just what it is. Did you know Jackie Stewart had this weird thing with the number 11? He did. Stewart was born on the 11th, and that was 11 years before the F1 Championship started; he was the 11th driver to win the Championship and did so with his 11th win. And, while driving car number 11 he got his 11th pole position. See? Coincidences!

Then there’s the more nuts and bolts kind of number crunching in Formula 1 – The Knowledge. Car number 1 is the winningest number, for example. But that fits. Champions (who wear the number 1 badge) have a tendency to keep winning. So what’s the second-most-winning number? Number 5. Odd. That was both Jimmy Clark’s number and Nigel Mansell’s. Maybe that had something to do with it?

 Related: How a Formula 1 team moves their cars and equipment around the planet.

Jeopardy For Motorsports

And Formula 1 – The Knowledge 2nd Edition goes on like this. There are 1,200 some sections that cover the drivers, their cars and engines, along with the tires and the circuits. Longest races, shortest track, race retirements by driver’s nationality (that would be Italy, because Andrea de Cesaris was a baboon); fastest laps on home soil, percentage of laps lead without winning a championship, (yes, that would be Stirling Moss) and so on. There is an entire chapter that exhaustively breaks down winning drivers. That chapter alone has over 100 sections like Winner Age; First-Time Winner When A Circuit Was New; and Wins But Never A Fastest Lap.

Photo: ICN UK Bureau.

Data At Your Disposal

Like I said, this is not really a “I can’t put it down” type of book. However, if you’re the person organizing your car club’s trivia night, or if you want to impress your coworkers in the shop, then pal, have I got the book for you. Formula 1 – The Knowledge 2nd Edition should be at the top of your list.  

Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle formatFollow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz  

Formula 1 – The Knowledge 2nd Edition by David Hayhoe 

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Veloce Publishing; 2nd edition (June 18, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1787112373
  • ISBN-13: 978-1787112377
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 1.2 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 lbs.

Price at the time of this writing: $55.20 (Hardcover) on Amazon.

About The Author

David Hayhoe was born in Beckenham, Kent in 1954 and attended Hawes Down Secondary School, West Wickham. His professional career as a Civil Servant began at the age of 17 in London, a career which lasted 33 years. He began in the Department of the Environment in 1971, in housing and road construction statistics, and moved to IT in 1986. He progressed to Aviation Security in 1990 and was an inspector of the airports and airlines throughout the UK from 1992, until he opted for voluntary early retirement in 2004. Alongside his professional career, Hayhoe developed a Formula 1 database and has contributed to numerous Formula 1 books, media guides, magazines, and newspapers since the 1980s.

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