Recommended Reading

 

If you are interested in becoming an engineer or technical person in F1 there is a great deal of background reading that you can do to improve your knowledge and understanding of the sport.

I immersed myself in Formula 1 from an early age, watching every race on television and reading about the history of the sport and some of the personalities that have shaped it.  Today there is even more good information available and improving your technical motorsport and engineering knowledge will prepare you well for interview and help in the early stages of your career.

Formula 1 Tech Guides

Formula 1 Technical Analysis 2012-2013

Giorgio Piola has been been writing his excellent guides to each year’s Formula 1 cars since 1994. His technical drawings are now used by the official Formula 1 website to explain various aspects of the rules and recent innovations.
Each book is very well presented with hundreds of colour drawings, detailing the upgrades and changes to each car through the season. Its a very quick way to appreciate how a Formula team develops and upgrades its car through the season, and shows you the layout and design aspects of the cars beneath the bodywork.

Red Bull Racing F1 Car Manual: An Insight into the Technology, Engineering, Maintenance and Operation of the World Championship-winning Red Bull Racing RB6 (Owner’s Workshop Manual)

Whilst this book is marketed as a bit of fun by Red Bull and the famous Haynes manuals it actually has some great photos and explanations of various aspects of the car layout. It would be especially good for people who are not overly familiar with what goes where.

The book is marketed as showing the 2010 RB6 model but many of the photos are several years older than that as the team obviously wants to protect its later designs. A good and informative book nonetheless ! Haynes have also started to produce similar manuals on older and classic Formula 1 cars.

Race Car Vehicle Dynamics

This book is highly technical but is the bible of many race engineers and vehicle dynamicists.

It covers every aspect of car handling, setup and vehicle performance and is well illustrated to explain many of the fundamental concepts. It also covers tyre performance and aerodynamics. Recommended only for the technically minded.

Race Car Aerodynamics: Designing for Speed (Technical including tuning & modifying)

From Formula One, to Indy Car, Drag and Sedan Racing, this book provides clear explanations for both engineers who want to improve their design skills, and enthusiasts who want to understand how their favourite cars go fast. The book explains: How aerodynamics win races. Why downforce is more important than streamlining and drag reduction. Wind tunnel designs, methods and results-what you can and cannot believe. Full definitions of terms, with equations and examples provided for determining key aerodynamic parameters like drag, lift and side-force coefficients, fluid viscosity, or wind-tunnel corrections. Numerous examples using specific race cars, passenger-based prototypes, and open-wheel designs.

Performance at the Limit: Business Lessons from Formula 1 Motor Racing

This book is unique in that it deals with business aspects of running an F1 team and offers great insight into how the team operates and what drives its decision making. Money talks in F1 more than speed and understanding why this is so will put you into the shoes of a team owner

Inspired to Design: F1 cars, Indycars & racing tyres: the autobiography of Nigel Bennett

A wealth of knowledge and insight into what it takes to practically Race Engineer a high powered racing car. Largely based around the American IndyCar series but the same ideas and techniques could be applied to F1 or other top line race series. A fascinating read.

The Unfair Advantage

A rare insight into the mind of a man who was both a renowned driver and engineer. Mark Donohue describes how he developed each of his cars into race winners and ultimately propelled himself into Formula 1. Demonstrating the all of drive and quality required to compete at the top, sadly Donohue himself was killed shortly after the publication of this fascinating book.

Beast: The Top Secret Ilmor-Penske Race Car That Shocked the World at the 1994 Indy 500

This books follows the development of one of the most potent and secretive racing engines ever designed. When Mercedes-Benz decided to return to single seater racing it chose the little known company Ilmor Racing Engines to develop its all conquering pushrods V8 for the 1994 Indy 500. Ilmor would eventually go on to produce Mercedes’ championship winning F1 engines too. A tale of racing can-do attitude at its best and the success that it can bring

Competition Car Aerodynamics 3rd Edition

Another comprehensive book on aerodynamics, but in a very practical and easy to follow style. The author is a hill climb driving instructor as well as an engineer and aims to provide a broad understanding for all competition racers.

Who works in Formula 1


Who works in Formula 1 is an annual directory published at the beginning of each season. It gives superb detail on each driver, team, the key people who work there and contact details for suppliers and each grand prix organiser. Its quite an expensive book but possible a worthwhile investment if you are serious about working in the sport.

This page is still under construction so I plan to add to it as and when I get time. Please feel free to come back and check again in the future

8 thoughts on “Recommended Reading

  1. Dear Sir/Madam,

    I was wondering if the two books, “Race Car Vehicle Dynamics” and “Race Car Aerodynamics: Designing for Speed (Technical including tuning & modifying)”, are too high-techy for a 17 year old student? (although I am quite academic!) I am currently reading “Science of Formula 1 Design” but that book gives a general overview, but I want to learn more of the nitty-gritty scientific explanations accompanied by complex mathematical formulae!

    Also, along the same lines, I don’t watch the sport very often due to exam commitments, but I am a person who loves the technical side of F1, especially the sleek aerodynamics. Do you think this could put off future employers who prefer people who live and breathe the sport and know names off by heart. I mean, I do know the structure of the sport, but my knowledge of its history is very poor!

    Thank you very much in advance.

    Michael

    1. Hi Michael

      They are very technical books – probably university level rather than school and they take quite a lot of mathematical background to understand.

      F1 teams aren’t interested in people who know all the driver’s names and who finished 5th in last year’s British GP, those sort of things don’t matter too much. It doesn’t help you do a job.

      If you understand the sport its more about having an instinct for what is true and what is just TV paddock rumor. Hard to explain but its something that only comes from watching lots of racing and reading from a range of sources. Driver biographies are quite good.

      A good read for you might be “The Unfair Advantage” by Mark Donohue

      http://www.amazon.co.uk/Unfair-Advantage-Driving-Mark-Donohue/dp/0837600693/ref=la_B001KI2YYG_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1369771863&sr=1-1

      Mark was an American driver with Penske in the 70’s who took a huge interest and part in the engineering of his cars. He raced in all sorts of categories but it’s great to hear the lengths that he went to to improve his cars and gain that “Unfair Advantage”. Sadly he was killed in a Formula 1 crash.

      1. Thank you a lot for your reply! Would you suggest any simple, but technical books?
        Thank you again, Michael

  2. hi
    i was just wandering wahat is the difference between being an aeronautical engineer and a mechanical engineer?

    1. Hi

      Aeronautics engineers are concerned with aerodynamics, it the shape of the outside of the car whereas a mechanical engineer is concerned with the inner workings such as the engine & the suspension.

  3. Hi, I am not quite 17, I already have quite a bit of mathematical background and excel in AP Physics. I have been engineering already on various stock cars for some time now but my dream has been to become an Engineer in Formula 1 since i was in the 5th grade. I live in Indiana here in the states. I am interested in some of these technical books but have not been able to find them available online for here in the US yet. Could you provide some info for me? Thanks!
    -Blaise Geoffrey Abbott

    1. Hi Blaise

      It doesnt surpirise me actually that the Piola and Haynes books arent avaialble in the US (readily). The Milliken book should be, you could try via their own website :

      http://www.millikenresearch.com/rcvd.html

      If you look on the amazon uk link I posted on my site for the others then it should list the ISBN numbers of the book. You could go to your local bookstore armed with that ad see if they can trace it for you.

      Good luck

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