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Publisher's Summary

Delve into the murky world of Formula One, a world where money, fame and power rule - but for how long?  

Formula One is speed, glamour, danger - and eye-watering wealth. Driven: The Men Who Made Formula One tells how a small group of extraordinary men transformed Formula One from a niche sport played out on primitive tracks surrounded by hay bales and grass verges into a £1 billion circus performing in vast theatres of entertainment all over the world.  

Led by Bernie Ecclestone, the billionaire ringmaster, this clique started by scraping a living to go racing and ended up creating space-age cars and turning drivers from amateur gladiators into multimillion-pound superstars, like Ayrton Senna and Lewis Hamilton, while the names of Ferrari, McLaren and Williams are now as familiar around the world as Manchester United or Real Madrid.   

For 20 years, Kevin Eason watched how these men operated like a sporting Mafia, protecting each other while squabbling over the vast wealth pouring into the sport. As motor racing correspondent for The Times and then with The Sunday Times, Eason was privileged to have a ringside seat as this cabal of wealthy characters ruled and then were pushed out of the sport they created.   

This colourful and compelling account of the extraordinary flourishing of Formula One explores the quirks and extravagances of the men who converged - in one generation - to shape their sport - disparate characters with a common impulse: they were racers - and they were driven.  

©2018 Kevin Eason (P)2018 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

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Awesome

Just when I thought I had heard it all, this book gave me so much more. Despite my 30 years + of following Formula One passionately, I was amazed at the amount of stories and anecdotes I had never heard, so I highly recommend this book as a must for any truly passionate F1 fan. It is not about racing and results, rather, it is about the people, the history, and the business side of Formula One. Brilliant.

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  • Rogerm
  • 06-06-2020

A good reminder of an era past.

I really enjoyed this book on the sport that I loved and followed so closely. Sadly, I no longer have any interest because of how it has evolved. My interest is still Motorsport but watching saloon cars race round, Goodwood, overtaking and swopping places and coming off with spectacular results, if a driver made a mistake, is much more engaging. Thank you for a great book, let down slightly by the reader who sometimes swallowed his words, so it was difficult to hear. I recommend this book to any F1 fan who is interested in the history of the Golden Age.

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  • A Kirk
  • 15-01-2019

It's about the (mostly) men, not the machines

Even if you aren't a petrol head, Formula 1 addict, or even particularly interested in cars, you shouldn't click away yet or you may miss out on a story which is worth your time. This is no dry, technical tome about the mechanical aspects of Formula 1; as the subtitle suggests, it's a "people story" at its heart. And a pretty compelling one, with a cast of characters who are so much larger than life that they would stretch believability had they been in a novel. But this is not a novel; the characters are all real, and these events happened. There is drama, there is conflict (oh my yes, there is conflict), there is tragedy and the occasional touch of humour too. Though the storyline flows (more or less) from the earliest days of what would become F1 through to the modern day, it's not a linear narrative. The best books usually aren't. Most chapters are based on a theme, and build on the foundations that were laid in the earlier chapters. It's a style that I like; it doesn't drag you down into mind numbing detail at any one point. Instead the book builds on itself, layer by layer, chapter by chapter so that over time you learn more about the cast of characters. The earlier chapters provide context for the stories that will be told later. I found it to be a very even-handed book, neither hagiography nor hatchet job though no doubt some of the characters will take issue with some of the things said about them. It's a very human trait to look past 5 positive things which are said about us and home in on one slightly negative one. Indeed nobody comes out of this book looking anything but human, with both strengths and weaknesses, virtues and vices. Yes, even Uncle Bernie, believe it or not. I initially listened to rather than read the book, having purchased the Audible version which was narrated by the author. That was a bit of a gamble, I think, but one which paid off. Many people underestimate the difficulty of narrating a work for hours on end without slurring or ending up with a voice that would not sound out of place in a frog. There is a reason why voice artists can make a living; it's a genuine skill. I found Eason's tone to be calm and measured, but not boring. It may help that he was reading his own words, and it was therefore easier to impart the tone that he intended than it would have been for a voice over artist. (I subsequently bought the Kindle version as well; it's easier to find passages that you want to re-read in an e-book than in an audio file. There are no illustrations, photos, etc in the Kindle edition other than those on the front cover not, I think, that it really needs them. I'm not sure whether that's also true of the printed edition since the photo acknowledgements section at the back seems a little too long to cover the 4 cover photos, suggesting that there may be more, but I'll leave readers of the print version to discuss that.) So why read this if you aren't a Formula 1 fan? There can be enjoyment in a good story which is well told whatever the subject, and this satisfies both branches of that. Second, like it, loathe it or ignore it, Formula 1 has had an impact on the way the wider world works. When you turn the key in your car ignition, the parts of your car may not trace directly back to Williams or Ferrari but such teams will have had an effect, especially when it comes to safety features. Also, the sponsorships that were dragged into Formula 1 have had a profound and lasting effect on the relationship between the corporate world and the sporting world generally, and one which may outlast the sport itself. By chapter 19 I was wanting to get to the end of the book. Not because I was tired of it but because I wanted to see what Eason had to say about the future of the sport. I've only recently acquired an interest in it but can see the storm clouds on the horizon, many of which Eason has also seen... but I'll leave him to speak for himself on that. For mine, while Liberty Media has done an excellent job in using social media to promote the sport, one of the stupidest things it could have done was to lock the broadcasts away behind paywalls of pay TV channels. The short term cash hit was wonderful no doubt, but I've lost count of the people I've heard say "F1 is dead to me" now that they have to pay to watch it. And without millions of viewers, why will advertisers continue to spend the sponsorship money that keeps the sport afloat? Does the sport have a future? Time will tell. But it has a past, and a colourful past it is. I doubt you'll find many books tell the story of it better, from someone who was actually there for a lot of it.

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  • "mundanethreat"
  • 28-10-2020

nice anecdotes

some nice nuggets in here from an insider who clearly loves the sport. Little critical analysis or narrative, but nice personal stories about lots of secretive familiar names.

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  • P. Sainsbury
  • 17-08-2020

Really enjoyed this.

Very entertaining and improved my mood whilst slogging through the couch to 5k programme! The author genuinely knows his subject, has a pleasing dry sense of humour and overall I thought this was excellent. Highly recommended.

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  • Mr. S. W. Pannell
  • 25-04-2020

Brilliant

As an F1 fanatic I loved this book. Although I knew so much beforehand, it was great to have the chronology backed with great stories and offshoots. I found myself feeling sad when the book was coming to an end, and the last few lines killed me. ‘We didn’t do it for the money, we were all racers’... what now for F1 and it’s future?

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  • Spence
  • 03-04-2020

Brilliant

Full of the history of Formula 1 more than great I loved it every second.

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  • kiket2ride
  • 03-12-2019

Amazing storyteller!

Great insight into Motorsport biggest players. Defines of an era, this book portraits Bernie, Frank, Max and other key figures of the F1 world

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  • John
  • 10-07-2019

Brilliant!

This is an essential listen for any F1 fan. Enjoyed every minute! Just buy it!!

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  • peter amies
  • 01-02-2019

excellent and informative insight into F1

excellent and informative insight into F1 from a journalistic outside lookin in perspective. well narrayed by the author

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