Burning Rubber: The Extraordinary Story of Formula One by Charles Jennings

By Charles Jennings

A turbo-charged account of 60 years of Formula One, endangering the lives of its drivers and thrilling its fanatics when you consider that 1950


A white-knuckle force in the course of the bends, straights, chicanes, and pit stops of formulation One’s checkered background, this the short and unsafe tale of motor sport’s ideal competition. It explores the misplaced global of the Nineteen Fifties racetrack, the impossible to resist upward thrust of British constructors within the Nineteen Sixties, the impression of technological alterations from the overdue Seventies, the appearance of the high-profile workforce boss within the Eighties, and the revolution wrought at the game via desktops within the Nineties. all through, there are memorable profiles of the drivers who've risked existence and limb on circuits from Monte Carlo to Monza—the ebullient Stirling Moss, the champagne-gargling James Hunt, the cerebral Prost and the mercurial Senna (whose mixed brilliance was once passed purely by way of their mutual loathing), the adenoidal Nigel Mansell, the metronomic Michael Schumacher, the precocious Lewis Hamilton, and the reborn Jenson Button.

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Extra resources for Burning Rubber: The Extraordinary Story of Formula One

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This was absolutely not what the organisers had in mind. They wanted one of the go-ahead new internal combustion engines to win. 5 mph, and a Panhard. Steam cars aside, this set the trend. For the next few years, motor races were all city-to-city, along unmade roads, in conditions of appalling danger and discomfort, generally starting in Paris, and watched by tens of thousands of hysterical spectators – these separated from the hurtling motor cars by nothing more than dust and thin air. They did Paris – Amsterdam; Paris–Berlin; Paris–Vienna.

After all, at the start of the last lap, von Brauchitsch was well over half a minute ahead, with enough fuel to get him round and no suggestion of mechanical problems with his W25. But Nuvolari wasn’t just driving out of his skin: he was using low cunning, too, having made sure to put harder-wearing tyres on the Alfa than von Brauchitsch had put on his Mercedes, thus providing himself with an essential margin of destructibility as he thrashed the Alfa round the track. Von Brauchitsch was now able to see the Alfa in the distance, absurd but unshakeable, like something out of a cartoon, but he kept his foot down, hanging on for the final minutes of the race.

And it was the mid-1950s, the Mercedes years, that represented an ideal state for him. He won six of the nine Championship races of 1954 (four for the German team), then took four out of the seven races for 1955. Moss likewise reckoned that Mercedes were about as good as a team could possibly get. Indeed, he never quite recovered from an early dream-like encounter with a Mercedes mechanic who came up to him where he had just stopped his car in the infield of a test track, in the middle of nowhere, and held out a bowl of hot water, a bar of soap and a small towel, just so that Moss could wash away the grime and brake dust.

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