For many followers of F1, Nigel Roebuck is foremost among journalists of the sport. More than just a writer, he is a fan of the sport whose firm allegiance to it is unwavering, even when its tragedies and controversies have put it to the test.
He is most well-known for his close friendship with Gilles Villeneuve during the Canadian’s sadly short time in Formula One. That turbulent period as the seventies turned into the eighties, when F1 was wracked by tragedy, political strife and sporting controversy, is captured in a series of Roebuck’s articles that for the first half of this book.
Inside Formula One is a collection of highlights from Roebuck’s Fifth Column articles for Autosport magazine through the 1980s.
Between the obvious points of interest such as the FISA-FOCA war and the bitter all out between Villeneuve and Dider Pironi there are some less obvious gems. Such as Monza diary, a vivid piece written in 1983 about his experiences at the Italian Grand Prix, and From a great height, his account of the humbling experience of driving a contemporary F1 car.
Long time Roebuck watchers will find his early articles enthusing about Nigel Mansell most interesting, given that Roebuck later became quite critical of the 1992 champion.
Roebuck’s style can be divisive, as can his choice of ‘favourites’ (Villeneuve and Mario Andretti), but the same can be said of any columnist. His enthusiasm for the sport is irresistably infectious and it shines through in this anthology.
You might struggle to track down a copy today as it was first published in 1989, but don’t let it pass you by if you see one.