Ferrari Formula 1 Car by Car book review

Can a complete catalogue of every grand prix Ferrari make for a readable volume? Ferrari Formula 1 Car by Car does, says Gordon Cruickshank

Tony Brooks in Ferrari Dino 246

Among many great Ferraris, the Dino 246 F1 stands out. This is Tony Brooks winning the 1959 French Grand Prix

Grand Prix Photo

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A daunting task, describing every F1 Ferrari, yet Stuart Codling manages to make his list of every model of grand prix contender (to use a phrase which avoids a definition clash with the Formula 2 years) that Maranello has fielded a much more readable project than you might think from the title. Inevitably only a few pages can be devoted to each model, not a great deal to work with, yet he gets the story and the context of each machine neatly packaged with a decent selection of photos. Bold typography helps you navigate among the model years, and a simple spec table for each sums up the metalwork.

The text is necessarily concise yet doesn’t feel cramped, giving the origin of each device, all its drivers and how it performed, good or bad. Ferrari politics and background earth tremors aren’t left out: beginning the 1960s chapter, Codling says, “Enzo [inset] ceased to attend races following the death of his son Dino. Into this vacuum crept those who would exploit Enzo’s absence for their own ends, selectively filtering information back to him as he directed the wider operation from his Maranello office.” That’s a set-up line worthy of the best TV drama.

He also neatly outlines earthquake events such as the 1961 ‘palace coup’ and the Spygate affair when Ferrari drawings made their way to McLaren. Thus it serves as a running history of Ferrari in a condensed way. There are a few diagrams to augment the photographs, mainly about front suspension design, plus a list of every Ferrari result up to 2020.