The cover depicts Gilles Villeneuve whose death, for many, dominates the year in question. Yet there was so much more – I had forgotten about the drivers’ strike that January at Kyalami! The subtitle, “The inside story of the sensational grand prix season”, is for once justified.
To recap: 11 race winners and a thrilling climax, the battle of the normally aspirated cars against the fast but fragile turbos, Pironi’s ‘stolen’ Imola win and the sickening deaths of Villeneuve and Riccardo Paletti.
A chapter is devoted to each of the 16 rounds – after the fifth race, at Zolder, there are four pages simply headed “Remembering Gilles”.
Hilton’s comprehensive analysis is supported by circuit maps, grid positions and results. It’s not merely a fact-filled, dry stroll through an epic season, however. A fan’s perspective is provided by pages devoted to the thoughts and pictures of people who were there. More interesting still is the section alongside every circuit map in which drivers of the era explain their thoughts on the circuits and how to drive them.
An excellent work: informative, cleanly laid out and nicely printed. Some of the images are on the grainy side, but that merely adds to the period feel. How about a series of the greatest years, Haynes? PH
Published by Haynes, ISBN 978-1-84425-404-0, £35