- Two of the wittiest and enthralling reads for any proper petrolhead.

Top Formula One Autobiographies

With the imminent arrival of Kimi Raikkonen's autobiography, I've looked back at the other valuable additions to your F1 book collection.

2y ago


Life moves at a constant, fast pace and most of the time that's the way we like it. Keeping busy and accomplishing our daily tasks to taking care of the family, it's hard to find a second to yourself just to indulge. Whether it's spending ten minutes scrolling through Instagram or a long relaxing bath it seems like you have to schedule down time which kind of defeats the purpose. It's a bit trickier when your obsession, the one thing you surround yourself with, is also your source of relaxation. Enter the car nut.

The car nut spends time looking for new (or secondhand) parts, driving to a job most likely involving cars while trying to optimise their gear changes. With all this stimulation how do they unwind? Like everyone else, with a cup of tea and a good book. Reading is amazing and I'm shocked that more people don't do it the old fashioned way. Reading a book clears your mind of the unnecessary allowing you to focus on one thing. While reading an ebook is cheaper, there can be more distractions such as group chat notifications. To keep the adrenaline fuelled race junkie entertained the perfect genre is the autobiography. Many ex-Formula one driver like to cash in on this quiet time so there is a vast array to choose from. With Kimi Raikkonen hopping on the bandwagon (even though it's not an autobiography, it's an authorised biography), I though it would be a good idea to go all book club and give my top picks from other F1 drivers (and other F1 personnels) foray in the world of book writing.

David Coulthard: It Is What It Is (2008) £12.99

Silver Fox

Silver Fox

The same year DC bowed out of F1 he released his first book and it is not so much as a confession but a means of setting the record straight. The media portrayed him as a womanising man whore and to be fair, he admitted it himself but their was a lot more to it. He goes into detail about his battle with bulimia and his first engagement along with his strong yet strict family ties. On the racing side, he finally has the opportunity to express how he felt about McLaren's favouritism towards Mika along with how he personally was treated by the world class team. Ron Dennis provides the foreword and immediately states that he won't like or agree with everything Coulthard has written. It's a very interesting view of a man with a reputation that proceeds him but his philosophy that ''it is what it is'' is something that is universal.

It Is What It Is

Adrian Newey: How To Build A Car (2017) £10.00

Does what it says on the tin.

Does what it says on the tin.

I have idolised Newey for a long time so imagine how exited I was when this beauty arrived. Starting from the very beginning including his semi alcoholic mother through to his teenage years in boarding school (yes, with one Mr. Clarkson) and subsequent expulsion, this book goes into great detail about not only his professional decisions but also his personal ones. Featuring in depth self analysis during good and bad times such as his three marriages, four kids (one named after a Beatle with the wrong middle name), ten championships, manslaughter allegations, Indycar, contracts gone wrong and contracts that never happened Adrian Newey packed a lot into one life. Although his memoirs can be dark in places (1994) there's plenty of humour and drunken tales from Milton Keynes . It was a fantastic read, the only problem I had was that I got to the end too quickly.

how to build a car

Life To The Limit: Jenson Button (2017) £12.78

It must be a requirement to have a moody portrait on the cover

It must be a requirement to have a moody portrait on the cover

With Jenson's lavish lifestyle and overindulgence in women this book was always going to be a bestseller. Even those who don't follow F1 know of him, so it appeals to the masses. He exposes more of what shaped him into the man he his such as his father,Papa Smurf, and his engine tuning to a moment with his then girlfriend that could have changed the whole outcome of his life. With Jenson being the fun-loving, cheeky chappy of he paddock it's a lighter read than Neweys' book, perfect after a gruelling day when you don't necessarily want to concentrate too much. With that said, have the tissues at the ready for the final three chapters. We all know what a personality John Button was and reading the words his son wrote about his unexpected death was heartbreaking. I don't normally cry at a book but the tears were streaming. I've had an even bigger respect for Jenson since I bought this.

Lift to the limit

Aussie Grit: My Formula One Journey: Mark Webber (2015) £7.21

This book is my everything

This book is my everything

As I'm sure you all know by now, I have supported Webber for donkeys years so this was on my Christmas list. He admitted that he would have released it sooner but Red Bull put it in his contract that he couldn't for a minimum of a year after he left. With the fractious years at RBR still fresh in fans' minds, this was a true insight into what really went down at the championship winning outfit, Dr. Marko's power complex, how Vettel got away with Multi 21 and Turkey and how tensions between the warring teammates diminished. He charts his way through from Minardi, Jaguar and a dismal Williams and how he ended up in WEC. Aside from racing, Mark reveals how distraught his mother was when she found out he was dating his manager, 13 years his senior along with his immigration to the UK. For a man usually private he goes into detail about his family life and childhood even borrowing money from a rugby player to go racing. In an era of pay drivers it serves as a reminder how they did it with pure grit back in the day. Never give up, fight to the finish and always maintain that true Aussie Grit!

Aussie Grit: my formula one journey

Unless I'm Very Much Mistaken: Murray Walker (2002) £14.99

Anything can happen in Formula One and it generally does!

Anything can happen in Formula One and it generally does!

Murray had a tough start but ended up a national treasure. His ''Murrayisms'' and the sheer fact that he IS very much mistaken make listening to him a joy and reading his recollections of races and faces gone by is equally enjoyable. From getting a start in the motoring world to being his ''fan with the keys to the commentary box'' style of delivery and handling James Hunt he has been a constant in F1 since puss was a kitten but all good things come to an end, so in 2001 he put his microphone down for the last time. This book transports you to a time when F1 was dangerous, glamorous and Murray didn't fit in at all! Even though he ceased commenting, Murray is still held in high regard up and down the paddock and makes the odd parody appearance every now and then. At 94, he's not at the finish line yet.

Unless i'm very much mistaken

The Inside Track: Jake Humphrey (2012) £6.36

Tunnel in Monaco? Good job it's Photoshopped.

Tunnel in Monaco? Good job it's Photoshopped.

Mr. Humphrey had one of the most envious jobs in the world; globetrotting around with racing royalty, enjoying the perks without having to worry about actually taking part. In 'The Inside Track' he give an insight into the effort and manpower that goes into a live broadcast of a worldwide sporting event and what happens when things go wrong, which is exactly what happened on his debut. Rubbing shoulders with DC and Eddie every second weekend and being on first name terms with many of the drivers, so it must have been a blow to find he had to leave it all behind. Not bad for a bloke from Peterborough. With Formula One waving goodbye to terrestrial television, this is a story of a time that is going extinct. Here's hoping that Steve Jones releases a book soon too.

the inside track

Honourable Mentions (I've Bought But Haven't Read Yet)

I'm in the middle of reading David Coulthard's ''The Winning Formula'' and so far it's more of a self help book for Formula One fans. If you are looking for motivation then this is your one stop shop. It was just the kick up the arse I've been needing and everything he is talking about makes perfect sense, like it is so obvious that I never saw it. Definitely it up the next time you are in WH Smiths.

I hope that you enjoy these picks or if you have already read them, let me know what you thought. Just a little disclaimer, all prices were accurate at the time of writing from Amazon

Thanks for reading

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Comments (4)

  • Thank you for writing my christmas wish list! :-D I've read "How to build a car" this spring on a vacation and as you said, I got to the end too quickly, too!

      2 years ago
  • I can confirm that Martin bundles and Johnny Herbert's are brilliant reads. You have missed Damon Hill's off your list, would highly recommend that, was never a great fan of Damon's but after reading his book I felt a bit bad that I wasn't!

      2 years ago
    • I knew I was forgetting something. I get that next time I'm in town. Thanks for the recommendations.

        2 years ago


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