MOST sports have their origins in Britain and among our greatest successes of the past 50 years has been that of Formula One motor racing which starts all over again in Melbourne this weekend.
During the next nine months nearly 360 million people around the globe will watch the progress of the series either in person or on television.
F1 hasn’t all been plain sailing – four of the 10 teams contesting last year’s event made redundancies and of the 18 who were competing 15 years ago 13 have gone bust.
But the glamour of high speed competition has attracted massive sponsorship from companies eager to show to the world that they are big players while the sophisticated technological wizardry involved has become as much a fascination as the racing itself.
And while F1 is ever changing, it is this scenario that has inspired Clive Couldwell to record the history of the phenomenon, to delve into what makes it tick and to reveal what happens in Motorsport Valley, where threequarters of the world’s single-seater cars are made, and Autotechnium, where automotive knowledge is created and sustained.
What makes a successful racing driver? The reader can obtain some idea from Clive’s pen portraits of all the great British stars – from the playboys of the 1950s to the ultra dedicated practitioners of today.
Emphasising the sport’s preoccupation with high-tech, Clive also tells us what is in store during the next few years.