Friday, April 17, 2009

Michael Schumacher : Driven to Extremes

Author : James Allen
Published: 2000
Publisher: Bantam Books

When I started watching Formula 1 Car Racing in 2002, Michael Schumacher and the Ferrari team were reigning supreme. This book describes the races of 1998 & 1999 season when they were yet to dominate the scene. In fact they were struggling hard to win the Grand Prix championships amidst lot of controversies surrounding Schumacher's unsportsmanlike behavior on the track and suspicions of Ferrari indulging in illegal tampering of their cars. They came very close to winning in these two seasons.
Though not a complete biography of Schumacher, it does have a chapter on his early racing career and also a chapter describing his driving techniques and his mental framework while he is at his job. I came to know a couple of facts about him - one he comes from not a very well to do family, his father being a brick layer and his mother a petty shop keeper; another he had an physical fitness trainer who was an Indian viz; Balbir Singh !
The book also deals at some length on how the other architects of Ferrari Grand Prix victories - Jean Todt and Ross Brawn transformed Ferrari from a struggler to a dominant force which steamrolled their competetitors for the next 5 years till 2004.
Written by James Allen a well known F1 commentator, this book is very enjoyable , almost like an action thriller. But to get the maximum thrills you need to be a F1 fan and preferably should not be aware of what happened during 1998, 1999 seasons. I picked up this book from a second-hand book shop and I am glad I did that.

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