Jake Humphrey has been the face of BBC’s F1 coverage since 2009. He’s heading to new pastures at the end of the season and has produced a memoir of his time fronting Formula One for UK viewers.
He relates his F1 experiences with self-effacing charm. He recalls answering his phone shortly after the news broke that he was the BBC’s chosen presenter, to be told by his wife: “I’ve just been on the internet and everyone thinks you’re going to be rubbish!”
Humphrey speaks from the heart like a true fan on subjects like F1’s disinterest in its own history, the loss of classic circuits and how the pursuit of safety has diminished the challenge of Grand Prix racing. But while the sentiment appeals, the content is on the thin side.
The book seems to be aimed at a casual fan rather than an F1 Fanatic. How many times have we heard the one about how ‘if you assemble an F1 car 99% correctly there’ll still be 50 things wrong with it’?
There are a smattering of amusing anecdotes, some interesting details on the working of the F1 media machine – and far too much superfluous re-telling of recent F1 history.
Worse, Humphrey ignores one subject about which his audience have been vocal and on which his opinion and insight would have been most valuable. The disappearance of live coverage of half of the F1 season from free-to-air television passes without mention, despite its obvious relevance to his role as F1 presenter.
This is the second of two books by F1 presenters which have appeared almost simultaneously and there’s quite a contrast between them.
Steve Rider’s My Chequered Career has the benefit of spanning a much longer period than Humphrey’s book. It also offers some more vivid tales and a sharper criticism of F1 broadcasting, and is my pick of the two.
F1 Fanatic rating
The Inside Track: Paddocks, Pit Stops and Tales of My Life in the Fast Lane
Author: Jake Humphrey
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Win “The Inside Track” by Jake Humphrey
We’ve got five copies of “The Inside Track” for F1 Fanatic readers to win. Send in your answer via the contact form below for your chance to win – remember to include your postal address:
Who won the world championship when the BBC last stopped broadcasting F1 in 1996?
This competition has closed.
Terms and conditions
1. Maximum one entry per household.
2. The competition is not open to employees, friends or family of F1 Fanatic or Simon and Schuster.
3. In the event of a dispute the editor?óÔé¼Ôäós decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
4. No cash alternative is offered for any of the prizes.
5. Deadline for entries is midnight on 18th November 2012. Winners will be notified by email within seven days.
- Grand Prix: The Killer Years book review
- “It was fair”: The 2014 F1 season DVD reviewed
- Motor Racing Heroes reviewed
- McLaren’s Ayrton Senna book reviewed
- Ayrton Senna: All His Races reviewed