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Old 11th March 2018, 00:33   #1
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Default Adrian Newey's Autobiography - A treat for racing fans

How to build a car – Adrian Newey

Adrian Newey's Autobiography - A treat for racing fans-img_20180306_222526.jpg

I bought this book as a treat to myself to celebrate a recent accomplishment. Deep inside I also wanted to break my jinxed period of internet straying and get back to reading books. So, I went ahead and ordered the book without reading any reviews and just out of passion for Motorsports.

It is one of the rare non-academic books, that I was tempted to take notes from. Every page was so full of information that I simply relished and wished the content never ended. The book begins with the childhood days of Adrian Newey as a troublemaker with a funky attitude. His passion for designing fast cars and creativity in solving problems that tease the regulation’s limit creates a sense of respect and awe for him.

In this book he widely describes his journey in life with lot of revelations about design and also about the people. The much anticipated part is the story behind the fatal crash of the legend Ayrton Senna at Imola circuit in 1994. Although largely diplomatic, the assumptions that he makes to identify the root cause sounds honest and convincing to me. He frankly accepts that the car he designed could have been better although not everything was under his control. He finally concludes that chapter with his belief that a slow puncture lead to a rear slide while defending that the poor design choice they made with the steering column is not entirely to be blamed.

Another striking aspect is his general dislike for Ferrari and the FIA's management approach to favour the big teams. He is quite vocal in claiming that Ferrari took the political route if they cannot compete technically. He goes on to say in various appropriate chapters that Ferrari objected because they couldn't make/copy electronics, active suspension and 4th pedal (rear differential braking by Mclaren in 1997) designs successfully in their car. These claims made me inquisitive about the legend of Ferrari although I agree it is an one side story.

He also with a tinge of proudness details the length he went to capitalise loopholes in regulations. There is a lot of interesting technical explanations and vivid details about the designs (with a conventional engineering drawing) for Aerodynamics and weight reduction. He goes on to give insight into various controversial solutions like "Hot blowing" exhaust and "V-profile narrow" chassis for his cars.

The book is not just technical, but also offers an idea about the power tussle and politics that lurks behind all the glamour of Formula 1. One gets an idea about the kind of attitude that some of the popular names in the paddock come to hold. This along with the background about his personal life makes it a well rounded Autobiography.

Ending on a high note about converting the fledgling Jaguar Racing team into multiple Championship winning RedBull racing, the book makes for a great read for all fans of Motorsports. And for me, it has given me a totally new insight into the world of Formula 1 and legends that make it what it is like Mr.Newey himself. If the movies Rush and Senna excited you, this book will surely not disappoint.

Eager to know your thoughts.
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Old 12th March 2018, 10:45   #2
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Default Re: Adrian Newey's Autobiography - A treat for racing fans

Many thanks for sharing! Ordered and can't wait to deep dive into it. No designer in F1 has as many championships under his belt as Newey. In fact, Newey has more championships than even Schumacher!

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Old 12th March 2018, 11:17   #3
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Default Re: Adrian Newey's Autobiography - A treat for racing fans

Thanks for the intimation vivee90. I just stopped short of reading your review and placed an order for the hardcover.

Looks like great value at INR 519 for the autobiography of someone who apparently doesn't need flow viz to validate the behavior of air around his cars.

I have bought F1 Racing magazines for much more in the past when internet wasn't this accessible.

Will finish up and update this thread.
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Old 12th March 2018, 11:28   #4
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Default Re: Adrian Newey's Autobiography - A treat for racing fans

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Many thanks for sharing!
Ordered the same. I had seen this 3 weeks back on a Saturday at the same price, but when I went to order on Sunday the price increased by Rs 100 :P. Therefore I didn't order it then. Glad to grab this at a lower price. :P

Sidenote, the price of a lot of books are much lower on Amazon.in as compared to its US and UK bros.
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Old 12th March 2018, 12:05   #5
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Default Re: Adrian Newey's Autobiography - A treat for racing fans

So true that the price is lower. Infact, when I ordered it in Amazon in January, I had to shell out Rs.1170 for the same. So, good time to buy even if you don't plan to read it in near future.
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Old 12th March 2018, 12:57   #6
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Default Re: Adrian Newey's Autobiography - A treat for racing fans

Quote:
Originally Posted by deetjohn View Post
Looks like great value at INR 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by sharktale View Post
Sidenote, the price of a lot of books are much lower on Amazon.in as compared to its US and UK bros.
Indeed, great value. Sell local, then price locally I guess. Even iTunes follows the same strategy - the price / song in India is dirt cheap (average of 10 bucks) compared to their USA store ($1). Most books on Amazon are superbly priced. This is one way to fight piracy = you price the original book / song so well that no one will bother with a poorer quality version.
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Old 27th March 2018, 11:26   #7
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Default Re: Adrian Newey's Autobiography - A treat for racing fans

Guess what? Even I received my copy a few minutes back. Amazon says the original price was around Rs. 1,000 and the same with Flipkart as well. Got it at a discounted rate of Rs. 467+delivery charges from Flipkart. Total cost was a shade under Rs. 510.

Not an F1 fan, but this book has made for a very interesting read so far. Hope I am transformed into an F1 fan very soon.
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Old 7th April 2018, 05:48   #8
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Default Re: Adrian Newey's Autobiography - A treat for racing fans

So, I got the book and also read it in full.

No classified information here in the book that a follower of F1 wouldn't know about, but some people like to go into a book without knowing what to expect. They would just like to know whether a book is good or bad. So, if you are like me in that regard, you should stop reading this post after the next paragraph.

It is well written! And that is evident by looking at the time I took to finish this one up even though its a bit heavy with technical details. Some bits from some designs really went over my head, but it was never boring and I finished large chunks of it whenever I sat down with the book.


Spoiler Alert
Newey hasn't held back on sharing technical information on the cars he has designed over the years. But like I said, it's not boring at all. It interlaced with personal details and some good tidbits from the title fights each season. Though I would have really liked to learn a bit more in detail about the later - the race engineering, the strategies, the preparations etc.

Also, one will need to read the book with an open mind especially if you have always cheered for his competition while following the sport. Some details aren't really forthcoming or how I recall the championship fights. Especially, the recent seasons when Red Bull shortchanged Webber in favour of Vettel on crucial weekends when the German didn't have it all going for him.

And Newey doesn't have high regards for Ferrari or Michael and that is very evident from the book. Also, he seems to have skipped many details from the seasons where his teams were found wanting and have kind of concentrated more on the seasons where he got the constructors or the double. Also, the book kind of stops abruptly right after 2013 when Red Bull was knocked off their perch by Mercedes.

However, he is very candid about the details surrounding Senna' death. I could see the details falling into places when compared to the numerous articles and videos that I have seen over the years on the subject.

So, be a bit tolerant and anyone irrespective of the team colours can enjoy this book. And like all autobiographies, some good learning in it too.
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Old 21st April 2018, 12:19   #9
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Default Re: Adrian Newey's Autobiography - A treat for racing fans

Hello all,

I read this book in full and here are two cents of observation from my side:

1. The earlier part of book chronicles the childhood of Newey. You have notes written by teacher of his school where they say he should concentrate more. This guy built a cart after he was kicked out of Repton. Also his rebelling attitude in Repton is described by his many antics in school.

2. The second part focusses how he got career breaks and went to learn about racing instead of getting a job which dealt manufacturing assembly cars with Lotus. He thanks the wind tunnel is his college where he learnt the foundation of aerodynamics.

3. The years with designing March cars and the Indy races. They gave me a good insight about what NASCAR was all about as I had no idea about them.

4. Then the break with Leyton for F1 cars and then Williams, McLaren and RedBull.

Why the book is good?

It goods practical insights how regulations affected the design of F1 cars. How he modified the cars, how he found loopholes in regulations, how Ferrari cries if they get anything wrong or can't work out.

The politics that happened when Max Mosely led the FIA, the driver rivalries in a team.
I watched many youtube videos of epic battles described in the book.

He also described the death of Senna. I felt it was a bad design of the car which led to crash and Newey says that he is guilty for it. But in the chapter, also tries to bring focus on a slow puncture when Sennas car went over a debris.

He also dislikes Schumacher as he deliberately spoiled the race of Damon Hill by crashing on him but in later years he praised Schumacher for letting Vettel pass by for a championship.

Also got to know how Ron Dennis behaved like a dictator with McLaren.

What the book is silent about?

The years Ferrari dominated F1. I guess it was 1999-2004. He is silent how McLaren dealt with those dominating years of Ferrari. Same way he tried to blame regulations when Mercedes dominated for four years (2014-17). I say look at 2018. We are still in Hybrid era and we have exiting races lined up.

When red Bull dominated for four years, the races were boring. Remember Vettel winning races in half of a season. I stopped following F1 when a single team dominates a season.

Next, some frank admission. I am poor in understanding mechanical aspects of car and the drawings but did enjoy reading the book. I liked how Vortex spins affect the car and understood that aspect of designing well.

The book is hardcover and is of very good quality. Took a long time to read it.

P.S:I got the book for INR 550 as I bought it when it was launched in Feb 18.

Last edited by rst89 : 21st April 2018 at 12:21.
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Old 6th June 2018, 07:44   #10
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Default Re: Adrian Newey's Autobiography - A treat for racing fans

Absolutely enjoyed reading the book. Great narration. I should say that I've caught up with Formula1 after a long time. Lost interest in the sport for the past couple of years.

Had to google and Youtube a lot to understand the technical terms. But still didn't understand them all!

Now I need to read about Ross Brawn and Ron Dennis to get their side of the story
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