Les Annees Fangio 1950-55
By Gerard Crombac
ISBN 2 7268 8336 2
Published by ETAI, £39.99
First the good news: this is a fine book. The bad is that it’s written in French. For now at least, non-Francophones will appreciate the generous photographs and technical drawings, but will miss out on what is a concise and enjoyable review of the first six years of the World Championship.
This is the first of an ambitious five-volume history of Championship Grand Prix racing, and Crombac is the ideal reporter for this one and the volume to follow, The Clark Years. Not only has he been an eye-witness from the beginning of the championships as a journalist, but he later became directly involved as team manager with Lotus.
With only six seasons to cover (later volumes cover increasingly longer eras), this large book feels lavish, with big photographs and drawings, and combines the racing with chapters on mechanical progress and shifts in the rules.
Racing assessments for each year are interspliced with extremely thorough technical chapters outlining what each maker was fielding, with excellent drawings, cut-aways and detail photographs, not forgetting the also-rans such as Aston-Butterworth and Sacha-Gordine.
Each GP gets a page with full grid (including race numbers), race description and full results including retirement reasons, so it is both readable and useful. An English edition would undoubtedly be successful, but for the moment only French speakers can get the full benefit of a fine work by an author who is himself one of the best-known figures in Grand Prix racing. GC