“Ronnie Peterson” by Alan Henry. 164 pp. 9i in. x 6Z in. (G. T. Foulis & Co. Ltd., Spark ford, Yeovil, Somerset. BA22 777.1,4.25).
AT FIRST SIGHT this book, by a writer who must be well-known to MOTOR SPORT readers, appears w be just another of the now prolific pile of racing-driver biographies. It has been compiled in association with the fast but unlucky “blonde boy from Orebro” and is sub-titled “The Story of a Search for Perfection”. In fact, I found it far more intimate and therefore readablethan most of these books about the top racing drivers, many of which are little more than lists of the drivers’ successes and failures, leavened by lurid descriptions of his accidents and his taste in socks and such like.
Alan Henry gives us a more sincere picture of what this chap Peterson is really like, and it is obvious, as one reads his book, that he knows the driver personally and has a warm admiration for him. The account starts with Ronnie’s boyhood days and his tentative entry into the more serious realms of the Sport, with a petrol-engined toy car at the age of eight, followed by scrambles, motorcycles. Karts and Formula Three Svehe and so on, up the progressive steps, each one well detailed in this biography.
Then, as Peterson’s name is established, there follow exceedingly interesting accounts of his progress, written by one who saw him in his momentsof triumph and defeat. Defeat? Here the book has to be interesting, on the subject of the frustrations Peterson has suffered while driving for March and Lotus. This is an aspect of the Peterson’s fine balancing act of brilliance tempered by disappointment that only a personal friend, and a journalist on the spot could properly handle, as Alan Henry has.
So this is a more than usually enjoyable hook to read and an important addition to our knowledge of what makes Peterson tick. His career from 1970 is tabulated and the book is well endowed with good pictures, many of them the work of our own photographic team. Alan Rees has contributed a short Foreword.—W.B.