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The Formula

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The Formula by Joshua Robinson is a smart and engrossing read! Great plot and characterizations. Well worth the time.

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This was a surprisingly insightful book on f1. I loved that the chapters weren’t exactly connected so you could read one whole chapter then put the book down and possibly read another in the meantime. So many interesting things I learned from this book like the formation of tag heuer.

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This is very detailed background of the history of Formula One. It’s a great read for anyone interested in learning about its inception through modern times. It would make a great Father’s Day gift!!

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I admit I did not know what I was getting into with Joshua Robinson and Jonathan Clegg’s 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘍𝘰𝘳𝘮𝘶𝘭𝘢. I read a brief synopsis but it turned out like nothing I expected and that’s a great thing.

To start, a bit about me, I’m a fan of motorsports of almost all kinds, NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula 1. I was an F1 casual until, like many, I stumbled upon 𝘋𝘳𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘚𝘶𝘳𝘷𝘪𝘷𝘦 over the pandemic. Since then I haven’t missed a race.

Part of me thought this book would either be a 𝘋𝘳𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘚𝘶𝘳𝘷𝘪𝘷𝘦 rehash or something either way too technical for me to understand or way too businessy for me to enjoy (it is categorized under finance, after all). Instead, it was almost as if it were written for me.

This book simultaneously covers the rise of F1 and some of the important characters in its history (Bernie Ecclestone and Ferrari but also the Red Bull company). A lot of time is spent on behind the scenes engineers and team principals who came and left before 𝘋𝘳𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘚𝘶𝘳𝘷𝘪𝘷𝘦 to give an idea of how F1 got to where it is today.

The book is basically setting up all of the business and historic contexts for how F1 has been able to gain popularity and why 𝘋𝘳𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘚𝘶𝘳𝘷𝘪𝘷𝘦 was able to work in ways other media haven’t, how the show has changed both the sport and the sport’s view of fandom.

This book is a recommend for me and I would almost call it required reading for 𝘋𝘳𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘚𝘶𝘳𝘷𝘪𝘷𝘦 aficionados.

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Formula 1 racing has long been a staple of the sports environment in Europe for several decades. However, it had trouble attracting fans in the United States until a Netflix show about the sport called “Drive to Survive” was shown during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. How the sport got to that point, and what has taken place since to make it grow as fast as the subtitle suggests, is documented in this excellent book by Wall Street Journal writers Joshua Robinson and Jonathan Clegg.

This book, as the authors state in the beginning, is not a detailed history of the sport in which race results are chronicled, drivers and crews are not provided detailed biographies and details about season results are not recapped here. Instead, this book provides many excellent stories and illustrations on the business side of the sport from its early history to its current popularity that has grown from the Netflix exposure.

While biographies are not a main source of information in this book, the authors do a terrific job of portraying some of the biggest names in the sport, both on the business side and some of its most famous drivers. For the latter, there is an entire chapter on Michael Schumacher, considered by some to be the greatest driver in the history of F1. A good portrait of the best driver in the 1990’s, Ayrton Senna is also done well. It is short mainly because Senna died in a 1994 crash. Then there are the two current superstars, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. Their personalities and excellence on the road are both well-written and compelling reading.

As good as these are, however, the best parts of the book are when Robinson and Clegg are writing about the business side of the sport, complete with complex rule changes, back-room dealings, television contracts that are written mainly to only line the pockets of the leaders and so much more. Personalities here are described in even better prose than described above on the drivers. Enzo Ferrari, Bernie Ecclestone and Colin Chapman are just three of the many personalities that make F1 history fascinating, and the authors do a fantastic job of describing their influence on the sport.

The sport has also had various controversies through the years and some of the most bizarre ones are covered here as well. One that particularly caught my interest was “Spygate.” NFL fans may know about their own “Spygate” in which Bill Belichick was recording practice sessions of another team. That Spygate is mild compared to F1’s version. In that, a disgruntled engineer from Team Ferrari handed over documents to the McLaren engineering team that covered everything – something that nothing in American sports can compare to. Including the fines – the Patriots’ fine from the NFL is peanuts compared to what came down from F1 officials. There are other incidents, including a deliberate crash by a mediocre driver to allow his teammate to win a championship, that are mind-boggling and fantastic reading.

No matter your interest in F1, or even motorsports, this is a book that anyone will enjoy reading. Just like how Liberty Media, the latest owners of the F1 brand, made fans out of people who have never watched race thanks to a popular streaming show, this book may make a reader take interest in a sport that they may never have had any knowledge about before opening to the first page.

I wish to thank Mariner Books for providing a review copy. The opinions expressed are strictly my own.

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This book is everything you could want in a brief history of sport. It’s informative, it’s in depth where necessary and light when not, it’s funny, and it’s accessible. I’ve only been interested in Formula 1 for this most recent season, so there’s a lot I don’t know. But I’m also a person that gets fully invested in something once I find it interesting. I dove head first into the drama, into the relationships between constructors, and into the history that made Formula 1 into the sport it is today. It’s completely changed my perspective on the drivers currently on the grid, as well as how much technical expertise needs to go into a car.

I really appreciate this writing style as well. I came for the Drive to Survive type reality show drama (which the drivers have no problem fueling themselves, looking at you self proclaimed ‘villain’ Fernando Alonso), and stayed for the ELI5 details about what double diffuser actually does.

I’ve only just finished this book but I’ve already recommended it to several family and friends, and look forward to reading “The Club”

Thank you, NetGalley and Mariner Books, for an advanced copy to read and review

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I really enjoyed The Formula by Joshua Robinson and Jonathan Clegg. As one of those pesky American “Drive to Survive” fans, I’m new to F1 within the last few years and have enjoyed learning more about it. This book was the perfect vessel to continue diving deeper into the history of the sport and I learned SO much. The authors’ writing style was engaging, interesting and easy to understand - something that can be hard to find in non-fiction! I would (and have) absolutely recommend this to any F1 fan and enjoyed it so much I already purchased the hard cover copy.

Thanks for selecting me to read this!

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A heart pounding account of Formula 1. Interesting and entirely entertaining, even if you’ve never heard of Formula 1 before. You’ll be a new fan and in awe of the greatest motorsport after finishing this book.

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Provides excellent background as well as strategy involved in breaking F1 racing to the attention of America. What it had once been almost excluded from American awareness, F1 has developed a strong following in what had once been a NASCAR and Indy car nation.

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I love learning new f1 facts. I love to remember f1 moments, just not graphic details for deadly accidents. I would've lived my life happily without knowing how Ridnt died and Senna.

Overall, great facts, kind of witty and Alonso knew about Crashgate.

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I'm one of those people whose whole family caught the F1 bug thanks to DRIVE TO SURVIVE, and now we watch every race, qualifying and most practices. I'm also the type of person who, while interested in the drivers (#TeamLeClerc, #TeamAlonso, #TeamAnyoneButMax), is also a fascinated by the tech--Practice 1 is my favorite because that's often the subject--and the business behind F1. So THE FORMULA checked all the boxes for me. Indeed, it's a book that when I saw it on NetGalley I couldn't request it fast enough, so I"m glad the publisher gave me an early look. I was not disappointed.

The book ranges from the origins of F1 to the present, largely focusing on the cars and owners. It finally explained to me why Williams was so good for a while (they basically built the first computerized car, which made it handle better than any other), why Jenson Button won a championship (the double diffuser in his car gave him incredible grip), where Mercedes and Red Bull came from, and what it takes to win, whatever the tech in your car. The anecdote about why Christian Horner gave up racing himself might be the best explanation, especially when coupled with what makes Lewis so good; it might also be the only moment of humility in Christian's life. The explanation of why Ferrari has long struggled is very good, says the person who is wearing a Ferrari shirt at this moment. The chapter about Spygate was fascinating; I had no idea. And the book made me better appreciate speed through the flats versus handling in the corners. Overall THE FORMULA pairs up well with GAME OF EDGES and probably the authors' book on the Premier League, which I now have to read (#TeamLiverpool).

If the book has any problem it's that it's only an overview and a bit once over lightly in places, but given that the book's meant to be an overview for the millions of new American F1 fans, that's also kind of a plus. It does the job it's meant to do, and the writing's engaging. A solid performer. Deserves to be at the front of the grid.

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Well, it’s safe to say that the rumors and drama we see today on social media about Formula One aren’t new (there are multiple new rumors daily!). F1 and drama seem to go hand in hand. Wall Street Journal reporters Joshua Robinson and Jonathan Clegg didn’t write a history of the sport, but the history of politics and drama… there is plenty! Spygate and Crashgate only scratch the surface. This is a fantastic behind-the-scenes look at the chaos that we call Formula One.

BTW: The description of Toto and Lewis is iconic!

Thank you, NetGalley and Mariner Books, for an advanced copy to read between practice and qualifying!

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Joshua Robinson and Jonathan Clegg have done it again, sharing the dramas, trials, and villains of the business behind Europe's biggest sports. As a newer EPL fan I devoured “The Club”, so when I saw “The Formula” was coming I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. They have a way of telling a story in a way that makes sense both chronologically and narratively, reading like both a history textbook and a fiction novel. I loved this book, despite knowing about 75% of it already (still haunted by AD 2021) I still found myself every so often thinking “huh I didn’t know that!”. A really fun read for anyone who’s been a fan of Formula 1 for 50 years or 5 minutes, or any American sports fan in general who still doesn’t understand the F1 hype.

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For years, Formula 1 auto racing held a very small niche in the American sports scene. Yes, enthusiasts knew that the sport was popular around the world, particularly in Europe. Admittedly, watching the annual race on Monaco was something of a curiosity, thanks to the unique nature of the course. But the Grand Prix circuit took a back seat (sorry) to Indy cars and NASCAR events for the most part on this side of the Atlantic. Champion drivers weren't well known unless they made a stop in Indianapolis for the month of May.

All of that has changed in the past few years. Formula 1 racing has boomed in the United States in the past few years. The races are on television (ESPN) constantly now, and a documentary series on Netflix has proven to be a great way to collect publicity and fans.

The transformation probably left some people here interested in the history of this particular divisions of the sport of auto racing. Joshua Robinson and Jonathan Clegg are here to fill in that gap with the book, "The Formula." And they have a great story to tell.

The authors offer something of a course on the business side of the Grand Prix circuit. If this sounds like it could be a little dry, well, don't worry. Robinson and Clegg really made the characters come alive. It's an international cast with great stories involved.

Heck, Bernie Eccelstone could be a book all by himself. This former driver took over financial control of a team on the circuit, which led to him buying the television rights to the series, which led to him taking over control of the entire Formula 1 operation ... which made him very rich. Some of that money was lost in 2023, when a tax fraud conviction cost him more than 800 million dollars.

The book offers one key insight into the sport that is a valuable tip for the uninitiated. Why does it seem that Formula 1 teams have stretches where they just dominate the competition, race after race? It turns out that it has a lot to do with the rules. While there are pages and pages of regulations about how the cars are designed and built, it seems that designers are constantly looking for ways to bend those regulations in a way that couldn't be called outright cheating. Perhaps the tires are made of a new material, or the car design leads to more downforce that keeps the vehicle on the road at higher speeds.

That can lead to a bit of an advantage, and that's important in a sport when a second per lap can be a huge edge in the competition. A team runs off some wins, and the rest of the field than either copies that change or the rules are rewritten to level the playing field again. Then the process starts all over again.

A couple of fabled moments in the history of the series receive plenty of attention too. One centered on the time a driver was ordered to crash his car into a wall so that his teammate could take advantage of the yellow flag and move up in the field. The other concerned the time when a ruling on where lapped cars would be placed on a restart would determine the outcome of a season-long championship. Those may be well-known to longtime fans, but they are amazing moments for the more casual reader.

Robinson and Clegg do a fine job of telling this as a human story for the most part. In other words, you won't get lost in the text even if you don't know the difference between a carburetor and wheel axle. They also give plenty of details of how Liberty Media came in as the new owners of the circuit and essentially revolutionized how the sport was presented to the public, which is greatly responsible for the current boom in interest (and, naturally, revenues).

You don't have to be a gearhead to enjoy "The Formula," which is a first-class job. You'll want to give it the checkered flag when you're done.

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Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

THE FORMULA is about the different times in which Formula 1 evolved and showed innovation that made it popular today. Starting with the mess that affected Mercedes at the Bahrain 2022 testing was a genius move. Ending the book with Abu Dhabi 202 (IFYKYK) was another stroke of genius. The epilogue is about the Las Vegas 2023 GP which wasn’t included in this copy. I’m going to search for a complete copy so I can read what the authors say about it. If how they laid out other things is any indication, I’ll probably agree with them.

This book is laid out like a part history/part business text that was never boring. In fact, there was so much going on that I was appreciative when the authors would remind the reader who someone was or what else was going on at that time.

If you’re a fan of how the sausage is made when it comes to Formula 1, you’ll be fascinated by this.

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It would be incredibly easy for a book like this to become a hagiography of famous drivers, a greatest hits of indelible races or a dashed-off tribute to how a decades-old sport reinvented itself for Netflix and the social media era. "The Formula" avoids that trap by showing the seams in how the sport evolved from greasy garages to glass-panelled boardrooms, unafraid to point out the shady sides of F1 luminaries such as Bernie Ecclestone. It is a sport that, as they point out, is literally named after the rule book - but the stories of how the rules have been bent to the point of incredulity may be the most important sections of the decades-long story they tell. And their parting concern - that F1 may have become the first truly post-modern sport, with die-hard fans around the globe who have never even seen more than a TikTok video 's worth of a Grand Prix - is perceptive about the challenges ahead for the fastest show on earth. It's not a *great book* - but it is a *great book about Formula 1.*

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A comprehensive history of the chaos and chicanery that underlie Formula 1 racing, the world's most elite sport. Hundreds of millions of dollars ride on the tiniest decisions of engineers, drivers and executives, and this book does an exceptional job of demonstrating how the roots of the sport are still visible today. Recommended for all fans of "Drive to Survive" and Sunday morning racing.

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I really enjoyed this look behind the scenes at F1 that spanned from its roots thru today. I'm a fan of most motorsports and had a very basic knowledge of F1 and its current stars but did not know that it started out very differently from how it is now. The book provided great information on the humble beginnings of the series and how it was created. I will be looking forward to see the authors' take and insights on the 2023 Las Vegas race when the epilogue is completed. I believe that both die hard fans of F1 along with fringe fans like myself will really enjoy this book and its behind the scenes feel to how the sport started and has grown.

I will post a review on Goodreads and Amazon closer to the publication date as requested

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