“McLaren: The Art of Racing” reviewed

F1 review

‘Coffee table’ books are very popular with publishers of F1 titles.

So much so that if I piled all such books I’ve accummulated over the years on my coffee table I expect it would be instantly reduced to matchwood.

Publishers like them because the photographs are inexpensive to source and attractive to the eye – especially in a sport as photogenic as Formula 1.

The glossy packaging means the sell well to those seeking gifts for F1 fans in the family. But once unwrapped it usually becomes clear the pretty pictures are a substitute for real insight.

This is why I’m often disappointed to receive a new F1 title and discover it’s a ‘coffee table book’. It gets flicked through once, dumped on the coffee table and later migrates to the bookshelf where it takes up a disproportionate amount of space.

But McLaren: The Art of Racing is clearly a cut above the usual examples of the coffee table genre. Not least because it is resplendent with the eye-poppingly gorgeous photography of Darren Heath.

Heath grabs every effort to add splashes of colour to the photography – no easy task when shooting in the largely grey environment of the McLaren operation.

Heath’s camera takes us into the depths of the McLaren Technology Centre with its state-of-the-art simulator and Nasa-like Mission Control office. It follows the team’s progress to every venue and the construction of its massive Brand Centre. And it picks out choice moments from the 2010 and 2011 seasons.

The book reveals the efforts expounded by McLaren in their pursuit of F1 success – the manpower, the organisation and the vast resources that go into every fist-pumping moment of success for Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and the rest of the team.

Maurice Hamilton provides commentary on the images but for the most part the pictures are left to do the talking. It is disappointing how little explanation accompanies many of the pictures.

Although you couldn’t describe the book’s dimensions as insubstantial the content is in places. It doesn’t compare well with similar recent books reviewed here such as the Formula 1 in Camera series.

Then there’s the question of price – at ??99 it’s virtually twice as much as Tony Brooks’ superb memoirs, reviewed here recently. While I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending that to any F1 fan, I struggle to say the same of a book I finished in less than an hour which costs twice the price, however spectacular many of the pictures are.

As a high-quality item to impress potential sponsors (sorry, ‘team partners’), McLaren: The Art of Racing fits the brief perfectly. Committed McLaren fans will certainly enjoy it, but they may find “McLaren: The Cars” and “McLaren: The Wins” more satisfying purchases.

F1 Fanatic rating

Rating three out of five

Buy McLaren: The Art of Racing (UK)

Buy McLaren: The Art of Racing (USA)

McLaren: The Art of Racing

Author: Maurice Hamilton
Publisher: Prestel
Published: 2012
Price: ??99.00
ISBN: 9783791351957

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3 comments on “McLaren: The Art of Racing” reviewed

  1. verstappen (@verstappen) said on 3rd June 2012, 19:36

    @Keith-collantine you might want to double check the price. In an add from Amazon which is shown next to the text, the price is 64,35 for a new book. And I wonder if you use the add, will you also get your comission?

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 3rd June 2012, 20:42

      @verstappen If you have a look at the Amazon link you can see the UK RRP is £99.

      And yes, if you buy the book (or any other products) via the Amazon links at the top-right or underneath the rating, I will earn some commission on it. So if you do, thanks very much!

  2. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 4th June 2012, 15:46

    Wow, that price is very steep! I bet the bit about the MTC is good. That place looks like a goldmine for F1 fans.

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