How to Build a Car Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
The world's foremost designer in Formula One, Adrian Newey OBE is arguably one of Britain's greatest engineers and this is his fascinating, powerful memoir.
How to Build a Car explores the story of Adrian's unrivalled 35-year career in Formula One through the prism of the cars he has designed, the drivers he has worked alongside and the races in which he's been involved.
A true engineering genius, even in adolescence Adrian's thoughts naturally emerged in shape and form - he began sketching his own car designs at the age of 12 and took a welding course in his school summer holidays. From his early career in IndyCar racing and on to his unparalleled success in Formula One, we learn in comprehensive, engaging and highly entertaining detail how a car actually works. Adrian has designed for the likes of Mario Andretti, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Damon Hill, David Coulthard, Mika Hakkinen, Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, always with a shark-like purity of purpose: to make the car go faster. And while his career has been marked by unbelievable triumphs, there have also been deep tragedies: most notably Ayrton Senna's death during his time at Williams in 1994.
How to Build a Car encapsulates, through Adrian's remarkable life story, precisely what makes Formula One so thrilling - its potential for the total synchronicity of man and machine, the perfect combination of style, efficiency and speed.
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|Listening Length||12 hours and 26 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.co.uk Release Date||30 November 2017|
|Publisher||HarperCollins Publishers Limited|
|Best Sellers Rank|| 2,063 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
1 in Industrial Design Studies
1 in Engineering Graphics & Technical Drawing
1 in Motor Sports (Audible Books & Originals)
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As gods gift to F1, he describes his relevance in the evolution of motor racing technology (not just F1) and how he is so important, both historically and today. He explains Red Bull's dominance through 2010-2014 describing how he did it the old fashioned way, unlike Mercedes now who just do it with engine power alone (hmm). I love Adrian Newey, almost as much as Adrian Newey loves Adrian Newey, but not quite as much as Christian Horner loves his best friend Adrian Newey (cash cow).
That said, he is remarkably candid about his experiences and disparaging of few rivals. His perspective during the Williams/Senna incident is fascinating.
He describes himself as if he is an extrovert, but despite reading this book I don't see it. I see him as an introvert innovator, a genius aerodynamisist/engineer/nerd. I've seen many interviews with him over the years, and his book persona does not match up.
Anyway, biases and personal opinions aside. This is a superb book, a great trip down F1 memorylane and an insight into his life.
I have still no idea how to build an F1 car though ..
I have two, albeit minor, criticisms. One is the repetitive nature of the Red Bull/Vettel dominance years, although this could hardly be otherwise due to the simple facts. The other is to do with the illustrations. Some are clearly Adrian's freehand and although explain some details well are simply not very well drawn. The reast are proper, annotated technical drawings that have been so reduced in size from the originals that you really need a magnifying glass to see what they are illustrating. There are also a few, very poor photographs. Despite these minor criticisms, the book is absolutely excellent and deserves the full five stars for the written content.
I found that the level of the technical explanations was exactly right for my level of education, my interest and my knowledge of Formula One. It was fascinating to get a competitor's perspective on the sport from a designer rather than the somewhat predictable stories from drivers who tend to concentrate solely on their own performance and their personal relationships.
As someone who used to design racing yachts I was intrigued at the similarities between ocean racing and Formula One when competing at the highest level.. Maybe this is why Newey is so keen to move on from cars into designing boats for the America's Cup.
Perhaps the highest recommendation I can give is that I started reading in the morning and could not stop until I reached the final page in the late evening. Car design may be a dry subject but Adrian Newey manages to make it a lively read.
I didn't realise that Adrian Newey had been a race engineer for quite some time, in my ignorance I thought he was 'just' the leading aerodynamicist who had brought Red Bull their run of championships overcoming the handicap of not having the best drivers nor the best engines.
I liked reading of how driven he was that he would be just physically present on family holidays whilst mentally far away, changing designs in his head or with paper and pencil, even having a great idea whilst staring out of an aeroplane window. I wasn't surprised at the developments in his personal life nor the limited amount of space in the book he allocated to describing them.
I found the illustrations and technical descriptions in the early part of the book interesting but by the time we reached the last few chapters the technicalities were far too deep for my limited brain space and short attention span. I wasn't expecting great revelations of personal and working relationships - the author seems to be very much a self-contained engineer rather than a people person - but I thought he struck the right balance when talking about 'characters' he encountered along the way; just enough titillation to whet the appetite but no huge hatchet-jobs.
The passage about the design, changes and build of Senna's car were poignant and gave a sense of the demons still within Newey's head.
Perhaps only AN would wear goggles to go onto the podium because he didn't like Vettell spraying bubbly into his eyes, a lovely solution to the problem and it made me smile.