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Formula 1 in Camera 1970-79.

Haynes.

Paul Parker.
ISBN 978-0-85733-074-1
Published 2012. (Hardback, 240 pages).
Review date November 2012.
Formula 1 racing cars of the 1970s

UK RRP 35.

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Towards the end of the 1960s, increasing commercialisation and the widespread appearance of sponsorship on cars was transforming the look and feel of Formula 1. Driver names made famous in that decade would still feature in the Grand Prix paddocks as the 1970s unfolded, some still driving, others hanging up their gloves and heading into team ownership and/or management.
Paul Parker published what is retrospectively now known as Volume One of "Formula 1 in Camera 1970-79" in 2003, and this latest work - Volume Two - can be seen as a complementary rather than evolutionary edition of the original publication. 250 photographs, all in colour, feature within the new book's 240 pages, bringing to life and acting as a reminder of the cars that appeared in contemporary issues of Motorsport and Autosport magazines, often in black and white.
Each year of the decade is treated to its own chapter. The highs and lows of each season are summarised at the beginning of each chapter, setting the scene for the forthcoming images that are also explained in a useful level of detail. At a time when driver and circuit safety was still something of a moot point with many involved in the sport, inevitably many of the darker moments of each year - especially early in the decade - involve driver fatalities, and reports of those that perished behind the wheel are balanced with the championship battles that unfolded as the races took place throughout the seasons.
The 1970s was an era of great technical advancement, and the amazing variety of different solutions dreamt up by designers to the challenges presented by motor racing, are well represented. Whereas today it can be hard to spot the technical updates that are made to a Grand Prix car during the course of a season, to pull it ahead of the competition, in the 1970s the differences between teams' designs were at times extraordinary. Colour images of the six-wheeled Tyrrell P34 of 1976, and the mind-boggling rear end of the 1975 March 751/3 with its huge boxy fairings behind the rear wheels, amaze and delight, and are a reminder of a time when the regulations were much more open, and the creative geniuses at the teams' drawing boards, chewing on pencils and flicking away at slide rules, could really express their visions - even though they weren't always that successful, or strictly legal.
One of my favourite oddballs of the era was the fascinating Brabham BT46B "fan car", piloted by Niki Lauda and Mario Andretti in Sweden, 1978. Lauda's car won the race, and his success painted a rosy future for the team's subsequent outings. However, post-race officialdom declared the cars illegal from that point onwards, leading to the designs being put out to pasture. Page 202 has a fine rear view of the car in action.
The photos chosen are a mix of on-track action shots, paddock scenes, and studies of team personnel. The teams may not have been anything like as slickly presented as they are today, with media centres rising up in immaculate paddocks, in which sponsors are kept warm and suitably lubricated, but as an era it must have been far more exciting to watch, and compete in, than today's overly-sterile and often too-predictable equivalent.
Recommended reading for anyone with a passion for colourful drivers, colourful teams, and above all interesting - and distintive - racing cars, powered by a variety of different engines and installed into chassis of various configurations.
RJ
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