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F1: Chequered Conflict book review


Observer journalist and BBC motorsport commentator Maurice Hamilton’s got a new Formula One book out – looking at the events of last season, and comparing them with another troubled season, 1986.

We’re all only too familiar with the events of last season, but what happened back then? Well, the drivers’ championship was narrowly won by Alain Prost, driving for McLaren alongside Keke Rosberg, after a closely-fought battle with Williams’ Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet. Ayrton Senna, driving for JPS Team Lotus, was also in the mix.


The championship that year went down to the wire with three drivers contesting it and internal team rivalries much in evidence – a familiar story. Hamilton examines what revisiting the title fight of 1986 can tell us about the state of the sport in 2007.

So, what’s it like? Here’s an excerpt from a review in The Independent:

Book of the week: Chequered Conflict- The Inside Story of Two Explosive World Championships, by Maurice Hamilton

There are already signs, as the new Formula One season is upon us, that the scandal surrounding the McLaren team has yet to be buried by all the parties concerned, even though two of the three are supposed to be keen to draw a line beneath events that so sullied the 2007 World Championship struggle.

Author Maurice Hamilton has chosen to chronicle not just 2007 but also another gripping season, 1986, in which the title also went down to the wire with three drivers in play.

He was on the scene for every race in each of them, and for all of those in between, so is perfectly placed not just to tell the two very different stories but also to contrast them, and therein lies the hook in this account.


…no season in Formula One history has been so acrimonious, nor so riddled with politics. Even the governing body, the FIA, had to answer allegations against its own conduct.

Primarily, this is the story of a proud man, Ron Dennis of McLaren, who was to discover in the cruellest terms that he knew less than he thought about what was happening within his team as he was betrayed by his chief designer, Mike Coughlan, who received stolen Ferrari data from his friend Nigel Stepney. It is a parable of Formula One, primarily of its greed and self-interest. Read full review here…

Find out more about this title at Foyles bookshop >>


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