Last week we learnt that the hype and anticipation for the 2011 F1 season would have to be sustained for an extra two weeks after the race in Bahrain was cancelled on Monday.
However, the excitement need not wane between now and lights-out in Melbourne at the end of March, as one of the first previews of the new season is already in the shops – and its produced by the BBC.
Unfortunately, as it is out so early, this guide still boasts of the exciting 20-race season ahead, and has Bahrain featured as the first race in its circuit guide.
There is plenty else to tempt the reader though. The main feature is an article on Lewis Hamilton, written by renowned F1 journalist Mark Hughes, and provides some fascinating insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the 2008 champion. There are also some interesting pieces from Tom Clarkson on Sebastian Vettel and on the new Ayrton Senna film, whilst BBC F1 website editor Andrew Benson gives a neat rundown on the changes to the rules and regulations for the new season.
Extra entertainment comes from Tom Rubython, the biographer of James Hunt, who details the exciting lifestyle of the 1976 champion.
Being a BBC publication, there are also behind-the-scenes pieces about the corporation’s coverage. This may be of interest to some fans, particularly those with interests in television or media, although there are no great revelations in these articles. These are definitely not among the highlights of the magazine.
Then, of course, there are the all important driver, team and circuit guides. The first two are reasonably standard affairs – a few stats and a paragraph on each of the drivers from Murray Walker – but nothing that would not be present in any other F1 guide. The circuit pages feature a nice colour diagram of each track, although some people will miss the corner names and cornering speeds found on more detailed maps.
At a price of £3.95, some may thing that this guide is a little overpriced. However, it is packed full of illustrations over its 130 glossy pages, and is comparable to something like F1 Racing Magazine, which will set you back an extra 65p .
The free guides that are given away in weekend newspapers just before the season begins will obviously have more up-to-date information in them. If you can look past the out-of-date information though, BBC Sport have produced a decent magazine which should help serious F1 fans get through the extra two weeks of waiting.