F1 Racing Confidential review: Insights from the many cogs that make F1 whirl

Sam Cooper
F1 Racing Confidential

F1 Racing Confidential is out now.

It can sometimes be easy to reduce Formula 1 to the driver. He is the most public face of the sport of course but the reality is that for a car to even make it onto the track, hundreds of people have had an influence on it.

F1 Racing Confidential, a new book from the Guardian’s F1 correspondent Giles Richards, speaks to some of those people that work to make the sport possible.

Of course, the famous faces that we all know are there in the form of Toto Wolff, Christian Horner and Lando Norris but the real interesting aspects of the book come from those who are less spotted in front of the camera.

From aerodynamicists to race engineers, each has a story to tell of how they first arrived in F1 and how they each went about adjusting to working in the circus that lives in the paddock.

Some of the technical chiefs spoken to include the FIA’s new hire Marianne Hinson, McLaren’s race team mechanic Frazer Burchell and race engineer turned academy head Guillaume Rocquelin but while many of the roles are directly involved with the technical aspect of the teams, some of them are from an organisational background.

Long-time head of comms including stints at Aston Martin and McLaren Matt Bishop tells a poignant story about his particular history with the sport. While there are interviews with Mercedes CFO Russell Braithwaite, McLaren’s logistic coordinator Sarah Lacy-Smith and Mercedes marketing chief Victoria Johnson who each paint a picture of how their role directly impacts the cars on the grid.

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There is even a look towards the future in the form of Lucas Blakeley, a McLaren eSports driver and the 2023 World Champion.

Giles Richards is himself knowledgeable enough to speak of life inside an F1 paddock having worked for the Guardian for decades but the interviews he conducts with various members of this mad sport show how even the smallest cog helps to keep the F1 machine whirring.

F1 Racing Confidential by Giles Richards is out now and available online here.

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