The two wise men of Formula 1

Published: 25 December 2020

► Damon Hill and Johnny Herbert debate F1’s big issues
► Veteran racers and Sky pundits share insights and trade quips
► Sets out the agenda for a sport at the crossroads

Don’t let the timing put you off. Or the format. Or the cover. This is (mostly) not a cheesy Christmas cash-in aimed at difficult-to-buy-for uncles who are known to nod off in front of F1 on the telly now and again. It’s also (mostly) not TalkSport-style banter for the sake of banter. It’s (mostly) not scattered with unfunny jokes.

What it actually is, against the odds, is a largely serious analysis of the past, present and future of F1, written during semi-lockdown uncertainty, which actually works in its favour, as it makes questions of manufacturer involvement, live crowds and environmental impact very pertinent. 

So Damon Hill – world champion in 1996 – and Johnny Herbert – winner of three GPs – give a good airing to some pretty fundamental questions about whether or not F1 will have to get more electrified, whether it can survive without crowds, whether radios should be banned, how costs might be cut, and whether car manufacturers really are essential to F1. Nor do they shy away from discussing TV’s role in all this; as Sky pundits, they are insiders, but they clearly both prize their independence.

There are also some first-person reminiscences and anecdotes from the authors’ time at the sharp end, although if you really want the full inside line on that period, go for Damon’s Watching the Wheels and Richard Williams’ Racers. 

Johnny and Damon’s new book, Lights Out, Full Throttle, is published by Pan Macmillan

By Colin Overland

CAR's managing editor: wordsmith, critic, purveyor of fine captions