All sports depend on vast amounts of preparation which go largely unseen by the outside world, but it is perhaps in motor racing that the tip of the iceberg is smallest in relation to what lies beneath.
For all his talent, Michael Schumacher would not rule Formula 1 without a massive team, every one of them -- engineers, designers, mechanics -- as obsessed with winning as the German himself. And guess what? Most of the expertise behind the drivers is British.
The sport's Golden Triangle, "Motorsport Valley", can be found by tracing an arc from Guildford up to Huntingdon (with a secondary development in south Wales). Seven of the 11 Formula 1 teams are based there, plus Formula 3000, World Rally and Indycar outfits and 2,500 companies to service them. Three-quarters of the world's single-seater cars are produced here; the industry is worth nearly £5 billion to the UK.
Clive Couldwell begins his exhaustive analysis with an account of how the German domination of the 1930s was ended, partly thanks to the airfields built during the war and then adapted by British teams.
The detail is staggering, and though leavened by the odd jaw-dropper -- the massive downforce means you could literally drive a Formula 1 car on the ceiling -- this is a book for the enthusiast rather than the general reader.
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- Formula 1
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