The modern Formula 1 race car



by Nigel Macknight. Motorbooks International, £22.95.

When this first arrived in the office, with a Lola T93/30 leaping out of the cover, my first reaction was a puzzled ‘Why?’.

There was barely time to begin formulating an explanation before author Macknight was on the ‘phone to offer an insight into this colourful, and supremely well printed, tome.

Macknight is fully aware that the T93/30 is not obvious book material, and is rightly anxious that his subject should not be misinterpreted. It is the story of how a racing team, any racing team, goes about producing an F1 car from scratch. Given 1993’s results, the choice of a BMS Lola might be seen as unfortunate. Given the access he was allowed by the Huntingdon manufacturer, however, the plot begins to make sense.

This is the story of the genesis of an F1 car, down to every last nut and bolt: it does not go into details about race performance. The story ends at Kyalami, in 1993, as the car enters what, as it transpired, was to be a vastly disappointing and ultimately curtailed season.

Macknight has done well to explain a potentially complex story in language that those who struggled to pass their physics O-level will understand. His text is backed up by a multitude of photographs, detailing carbonfibre construction techniques, wind tunnel work, crash-testing, CAD/CAM operation, hole drilling procedure . . . You name it, it’s illustrated.

Although generally a good effort, it is a little impersonal in parts – some Lola operatives get a name check, while others are dismissed as ‘this engineer’ or ‘that designer’. All the same, it’s the first modern step-by-step guide to how an F1 car is conceived that I have encountered, and the content is vastly more relevant than its cover subject suggests. As such, there should be a market for it. S A