Season review books


Season review books are often a hit-and-miss affair. Try to take on too much and you risk diluting the subject matter; if you concentrate on specifics you run the risk of losing the context in which those events took place. If you’re telling the story of something most of your readers watched with their own eyes, you have to get it right. So we’ve decided to make things easier for you by reviewing four of the biggest releases of the off-season.

Autocourse 2012 – 2013

The Autocourse annual has always been the benchmark for season reviews and that doesn’t look likely to change anytime soon. As well as their extensive Formula 1 coverage – written by recently-returned Motor Sport staffer Simon Arron with insights from Alan Henry – they still manage to find room to feature nearly every major series on four wheels and tarmac.

At £49.95 it’s not the cheapest annual out there but, in its 62nd year, Autocourse is still the one to have. The reports are highly detailed without alienating the casual fan while the stats pages are clear and well presented. And of course, the whole thing is illustrated with some of the finest images of the racing year. Well worth the price.

Published by Icon Publishing Ltd., ISBN 978 1905334 77 3, £49.95

The Official Formula 1 Season Review 2012

There isn’t much about the official review to set it apart from Autocourse. There are plenty of quotes from the drivers (albeit nothing you can’t hear in a press conference) and a short forward by Bernie, but this serves to add uncertainty rather than entertainment or insight. Opening with the sport’s ringleader saying “it has been a good year, and I think everybody’s happy” doesn’t give the impression that the various contributors had much in the way of editorial freedom…

Content aside, the design is uninspired in comparison to its direct rivals, as interesting as some of the photos are. The official review only costs £35, but you won’t find anything here that isn’t done better elsewhere.

Published by Haynes, ISBN 978 0 85733 253 0, £35

Le Mans 24 Hours 2012: Official Yearbook

The first half of the ACO’s yearbook deals mostly with the sometimes overwhelming entry list before moving into reports of testing, practise, qualifying and the race, plus the parades and entertainment that are part of the draw of Le Mans. Instead of over-analysing 24 hours of racing, the story is told through pictures with long captions – a wise choice.

A nice addition is the celebration of the 40th anniversary of Matra’s win with Graham Hill and Henri Pescarolo at the wheel, which kicked off a historic hat trick of victories for the French team. It would have been good to see a full season review of the new WEC, but like the Indy 500, victory at Le Mans is worth as much as the title to many. Another Audi win might seem like a bore-fest from afar, but with the Toyotas and the DeltaWing in the thick of it, 2012’s race definitely deserved a book to itself.

Published by E-T-A-I, 978 2 7268 9681 5, €49

MotoGP Season Review 2012 by Julian Ryder

The format of season review books is fairly set in stone and this is no different, but the quality is high. The writers (including Motor Sport contributor Mat Oxley) do a fantastic job of explaining the unflinchingly intense battle for the championship as well as the introduction of CRT bikes and the surprising announcement of Casey Stoner’s retirement.

There are the standard reviews, reports, bios and technical breakdowns, but this extends to MotoGP’s feeder series as well, giving a look at the sport’s future. This is the way to do an official review book: celebrate what’s great about your series without making the whole thing seem like a political pamphlet.

Published by Haynes, ISBN 978 0 85733 252 3, £30

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