Books for Christmas: A year in the life of Benetton

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The Independent Online
THERE can be few sports other than motor racing in which so much is owed by so few to so many, writes Paul Newman. Only world heavyweight boxing champions and American basketball players can match the earning power of Formula One's leading drivers, yet the likes of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost would be the first to admit that teamwork is one of the keys to their success.

Designs on Victory (Stanley Paul, pounds 16.99), Derick Allsop's account of a year in the life of the Benetton Formula One stable, is a tribute as much to the team's backroom men and women as to its two drivers, Michael Schumacher and Riccardo Patrese, as they strove in 1993 to break the domination of Williams.

Allsop, the Independent's motor racing correspondent, followed Benetton's fortunes in these pages throughout the summer. The book completes the picture of the team, from the Benetton family itself ('I play only a small part,' Luciano Benetton insists) to the caterers in the team motorhome, Stuart and Diana Spires ('We've become Mum and Dad of the team because we've been around so long').

The overall impression is of a close-knit team in which success and failure are felt deeply by everyone. 'It's a love of what you are doing,' Gordon Message, the team manager, explains. 'It's a love of the sport because, at the end of the day, you wouldn't put up with all the aggravation for any other reason.'

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