Whether you’ve never watched a Formula 1 race, or you can recite every F1 world champion dating back to Giuseppe Farina, Stuart Codling’s new book Formula 1 Drive to Survive—The Unofficial Companion is a fascinating quick course on the world’s most popular motorsport.
F1 has an unfortunate history of gatekeeping and pushing new fans away from enjoying the sport. The massive boom in American viewership since Netflix released the first season of Drive to Survive has helped the sport chip away at these issues.
F1 still has room for improvement, though, as the push for more extravagant events has left many fans (especially those who can’t afford race tickets) feeling cold and unappreciated. At the same time, Drive to Survive offers fascinating insights into the sport of F1, giving fans new and old alike more access than ever to the paddock.
Codling’s book builds on the behind-the-scenes format of the show, and it fills in the gaps that a relatively short docuseries can’t cover. Before even cracking open the book, fans are rewarded with eye-catching photography showcasing a celebratory Max Verstappen on the front cover and the incredible teamwork of the Ferrari pit crew on the back cover.
A Trip down Memory Lane
Once inside, Codling does a great job of catering to readers of all knowledge levels. If you’ve never caught a race, but want to be more knowledgeable for chats at the watercooler, then this book offers the key information you’ll need to get up to speed on the world of F1 racing. The information is well laid out, with seven chapters focused on different aspects of the sport.
Chapter one focuses on the incredible people behind the sport, and it is a fantastic trip down memory lane for fans of the first season of Drive to Survive. Prominent team principals, such as Red Bull’s Christian Horner and Renault’s Cyril Abiteboul, are featured, as are some lesser-known figures in the sport, including Matt Deane, Mercedes’s chief mechanic.
A Brief History
Subsequent chapters explore a wide range of topics. This includes historical greats such as Juan Manuel Fangio, Ayrton Senna, and Michael Schumacher and the specific cars they drove, including Schumacher’s F2004 with its 29 podium finishes and 15 race victories.
For those curious about the more practical side of the sport, Codling explores the technical aspects of F1. He even devotes an entire chapter to the historical development of the cars, dating back to the early Grand Prix racing days.
In total, the 188-page book delves into the people, history, and logistics that make up the most popular motorsport in the world. You can preorder Formula 1 Drive to Survive—The Unofficial Companion, ahead of its on-sale date of May 23, 2023.
Associate News Editor
Jack Fitzgerald’s love for cars stems from his as yet unshakable addiction to Formula 1.
After a brief stint as a detailer for a local dealership group in college, he knew he needed a more permanent way to drive all the new cars he couldn’t afford and decided to pursue a career in auto writing. By hounding his college professors at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, he was able to travel Wisconsin seeking out stories in the auto world before landing his dream job at Car and Driver. His new goal is to delay the inevitable demise of his 2010 Volkswagen Golf.