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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 repeatedly. 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. Hardbound 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 how you might read a traditional book. 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 the rules governing Motorsports) have their own version of this book. It’s unofficially called “The White Book” because 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 and a fair number of them. 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.
Truth In Numbers
For example, chapter one 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, 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 number crunching in Formula 1 – The Knowledge. Car number one is the winningest number, for example. But that fits. Champions (who wear the number one badge) have a tendency to keep winning. So what’s the second-most-winning number? Number five. Odd. That was both Jimmy Clark’s number and Nigel Mansell’s. Maybe that had something to do with it?
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, fastest laps on home soil, percentage of laps lead without winning a championship, and so on. There is an entire chapter that exhaustively breaks down winning drivers. That chapter alone has over 100 sections.
Data At Your Disposal
Nice as this tome is, it’s not really an “I can’t put it down” type of book. However, if you’re organizing your car club’s trivia night or 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. Not counting any deals or promotions, it’s available on Amazon for about $45.00, with used copies going for a little less than that.
Longtime Automoblog writer Tony Borroz has worked on popular driving games as a content expert, in addition to working for aerospace companies, software giants, and as a movie stuntman. He lives in the northeast corner of the northwestern-most part of the Pacific Northwest.
Formula 1 – The Knowledge 2nd Edition by David Hayhoe