Book Review: ‘Formula One 2016 – The Official BBC Sport Guide’
Finished watching the latest race but still have a Formula One itch to scratch? Then you’ll love Formula One 2016: The Official BBC Sport Guide, a handbook containing everything you need to know heading into the 2016 Formula One season. Whether you’re new to the sport or a jaded fan, the guide is full of interesting information about the drivers, teams, and tracks that will have you turning page after page.
Formula One 2016: The Official BBC Sport Guide –
The World’s Bestselling Grand Prix Handbook by Bruce Jones
Product Details: Softcover, 128 pages, 9.6 x 7.4 inches
Publication Date: May 2016
Publisher: Carlton Books Ltd
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The BBC Sport Guide to the 2016 Formula One season is divided into six sections. It kicks off with a brief summary of the 2015 season, then launches into a description of every team on the grid as well as that of their current drivers. Though most of the focus is the teams’ and drivers’ history and career records, it also includes a quick analysis of their recent performances and goals. After that come two “Talking Point” pages, which cover the recent American involvement in Formula 1 as well as the loss of European circuits.
The fourth section features moderately detailed descriptions of every track on the 2016 calendar, complete with track maps and a list of the previous 10 Grand Prix winners, as well as interesting notes about the best places to stay near the track and the best races previously hosted there. Then comes an in-depth review of the 2015 season that looks back at every Grand Prix in chronological order. Finally, the BBC Sport Guide ends with a few pages dedicated to Formula One statistics, including a full 2015 results table, all-time driver and constructor records, and an empty 2016 results table for the reader to fill in as the season progresses.
There’s no getting around that this is a good-looking handbook. It doesn’t have a hard cover, but it feels well made and sturdy, and the paper has an attractive gloss to it that’s also pleasant to the touch. The bindings feel tough; there’s no reason any page should come out unless someone were to intentionally pull on them with excessive force. All of the pictures used are of high quality, some of which even span the length of two pages and are sure to keep your attention for a few minutes.
The BBC Sport Guide is easy to navigate thanks to its consistent visual cues, large headers, and of course, the table of contents at the beginning. The text is also quite readable, except on the two “Talking Point” pages, where the designer made an odd decision to print on a grid pattern, which can make the words difficult to follow. Still, this is a high-quality product that will be able to handle being opened and closed repeatedly throughout the 2016 Formula One season.
The BBC Sport Guide to the Formula One 2016 season is an excellent resource for anyone seeking extra information about the sport. New viewers seeking to get into the 2016 Formula One season will find it particularly useful, and even old-time fans who have been following the sport for decades should discover new facts and trivia. The section on the teams is particularly noteworthy because many teams became what they are today after a complicated and convoluted history, yet the BBC Sport Guide did an excellent job of condensing their past into an engaging story.
Nonetheless, there are a few glaring issues I have to mention, namely because it is obvious the handbook was rushed into production too early in the year relative to the start of the new season. For instance, Pastor Maldonado is still featured as a Renault driver, even though we’ve known since February 1 that he was replaced by Kevin Magnussen. Similarly, neither of the Manor F1 drivers are correctly listed (Alexander Rossi and Will Stevens instead of Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto), though at least in this case a footnote mentions the lineup was not confirmed at the time of sending to press. As a result, there are three pages dedicated to drivers who aren’t even racing in Formula One, and consequently, three missing pages about the drivers that are, which is a shame for readers who might have hoped to learn more about them.
The BBC Sport Guide is at its best in the two “Talking Point” pages, where it analyzes the arrival of Haas F1 and the looming loss of classic European circuits. These are interesting articles that will have you thinking about the future of Formula One in new ways. On the other hand, it’s at its worst when it tries to judge driver performances, namely when it suggests that if Nico Rosberg doesn’t find a way to beat Lewis Hamilton in the title fight, he may as well say goodbye to his seat at Mercedes for next year. In reality, there’s no reason to believe Rosberg’s place at the Silver Arrows team is under any kind of threat, not just because it would be ridiculous to require nothing short of winning the championship to keep it, but also because Rosberg has deep roots within the team and has been giving it everything it could possibly want since it started dominating. Still, it’s not too surprising of a claim coming from a British publisher that no doubt supports Hamilton.
All that being said, these are relatively minor blemishes in an otherwise excellent book. The BBC Sport Guide serves as a great snapshot of what the sport looked like at the time it was published, and though some of the speculative content is already outdated, it has plenty of re-read value and will remain a good source of knowledge for years to come, or even indefinitely, thanks to all of the historical information contained within.
Formula One 2016 is available through the publisher’s website, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, AbeBooks, and other retailers.
Product provided for review by publisher.
Kurt Verlin was born in France and lives in the United States. Throughout his life he was always told French was the language of romance, but it was English he fell in love with. He likes cats, music, cars, 30 Rock, Formula 1, and pretending to be a race car driver in simulators; but most of all, he just likes to write about it all. See more articles by Kurt.