How to Build a Car

Narrated by: Richard Trinder
Length: 12 hrs and 26 mins
5 out of 5 stars (654 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2017 Adrian Newey (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"The greatest Formula One designer of his - or any other - age." ( The Sunday Times)
"Newey has a legitimate claim on the title of 'Britain's greatest living engineer'." ( The Daily Telegraph)
"Adrian Newey has created more winners than all the super-brain computers in Formula One put together." ( The Times)

What members say

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Snooze fest

As an F1 fan and car enthusiast I found this book a massive let down. Somehow Adrian has managed to skip most of the interesting parts of his career. He tells the stories in such a way it’s like listening to a weather forecast. For example; he goes to the trouble of spelling out every car license plate he’s ever owned. He drones on about the career of his daughters, I’m not interested in the lives of your children. I wanted to know the tech behind F1 and interesting highlights from a long career. Instead this book is a weird mix of ego and unnecessary details. The author talks down to the listener and dumbs down most technical details. If you’re into F1 Ross Browns book is far more interesting.

1 person found this helpful

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A Must for any F1 or racing fan

Adrian’s name is synonymous with championships across Indy and primarily F1. What I didn’t know is the entire story behind this extraordinary man. Well he is not. He is just a guy with a passion and a vision. I loved every chapter of this book. Especially all the F1 anecdotes from his career. Those have me a new perspective on a lot of events I’ve observed as an ignorant fan :)

1 person found this helpful

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must for any F1 fan. Newey is a genius

It's great to understand what happened behind the scenes in formula 1. Also to see who is the real champion or the last few years

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Awesome

The story is great and talks about f1 a lot mostly about Aerodynamic’s but is a really great story



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Fasten your seat belts!

This book is a must for anyone who's even remotely interested in F1. Newey is a legendary race engineer and aerodynamicist whose designs have won an outstanding 10 Constructor's Championships. The book is very well written and has a great pace. It's tone is casual, as if a friend were passionately telling you all the ins and outs of his job. He shares plenty of anecdotes and inside stories involving other great legends of the sport, all of which is bound to make any fan even more excited about watching the next race! I learned a lot from this audiobook and it gave me a new understanding of F1. One can get a sense of the pressure that these hyper-competitive people go through, the challenges that they face, the toll that their work takes on their family lives, their obsession with finding loopholes in the rules and being one step ahead of their rivals... Obviously, in a sport that combines the ability of extremely talented drivers with technological innovation, the engineer plays a key role. There are moments of well-deserved gratification and also tragic episodes (like the death of triple-world champion, Ayrton Senna). Newey also speaks of his involvement in other projects outside of F1. His memoir is mostly a celebration of racing... and of Adrian Newey himself, of course. Narrator Richard Trinder delivers the material somewhat flatly, but efficiently.

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biography of a F1 engineer and the cars he created

I recommend to any motorsports lover. this is an autobiography of Adrian Newey, a top F1 engineer. I loved hearing him explain the thought process he used when designing each racecar he helped craft. the story follows Neweys life from college till recent. filled with anecdotes and funny moments, sad moments and ever in between. along the way I also learned the evolution of the F1 car from the 1970s to present
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I knew hardly anything about F1 when I started the book. very enjoyable.

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Required reading for F1 fans!

Great story of an F1 legend.

I listened to it intently and could barely stop. Lots of detail on design, his life and some great insights into the politics behind F1.

Good performance in general with an excellent Nigel Mansell impression.

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Any Formula One nerds dream.

Truly enjoyable on the nerdiest level. Super detailed explanations about all things aerodynamics and auto racing.

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Great book!

Very interesting, lots of funny anecdotes and unknown stories, very useful insights and info for us F1 fans

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Decent book

Great book overall, but seemed like there was a bit of filler when talking about his childhood.
Love the behind the scenes stories and his candidness. It was technical but he knew where to draw the line for us non aerodynamicists.
Only thing that REALLY irked me was anytime he talked about a road car he had an association with, he told us the license plate. I mean really.... who does that?

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  • Robert
  • 04-14-18

So much better than you think it will be!

Don't worry it's not too technical.
Funny, entertaining, fascinating, historical, nostalgic. A must listen for any F1 fan.

If you listen to Damon Hill's and Mark Webber's books aswel there's some nice overlap with some of the stories - so you get at least two perspecitves on some events.

For me I expected it to be a dry, tiring listen full of technical babble I didn't understand - given the subject and what I have seen of Adrian Newey interviews. Couldn't be more wrong. He is extremely funny, explains everything in a way that you can relate to and understand (think of that teacher at school who just had a way of explaining things that made everything make sense to you).

I was unsure about this book... I bought it and now have listend to it twice, and enjoyed every minute both times.
Trust me, just buy it, you WILL enjoy it!

4 people found this helpful

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  • Diddycrid
  • 04-25-20

Really good but...

Really enjoyed this audiobook as an avid F1 fan. The content written by Adrian is really insightful and the pure engineering knowledge he has just blew my tiny mind and it made me chuckle with some of the drunken stories from after win party's. However, where I was really let down was the narration, his voice is incredible and I can apsolutely see how he is probably really successful but his f1 knowledge clearly isn't up to scratch as some of the pronunciations of tracks, driver names and technical items was just soo off putting it was a real struggle to finish this book but was actually worth it in the end. Would be a 5/5 review from me if it was read by Adrian but Richard just doesn't get pole position in my opinion. Thanks

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  • noodles
  • 04-22-20

Amazing

A good book very interesting a must read for F1 fans and car lovers a like.

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  • Keith Binding
  • 04-09-20

An absorbing insight in to motorsport engineering

Excellent narration of a fascinating insight in to the personalities and high politics of F1. A book for the general motorsport enthusiast as much as for out and out petrolheads. Worth listening to for Newey's perspective on Ayrton's death at Imola alone and also for his take on the Williams/Head and Dennis approaches to people management.

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  • seaside terminator
  • 04-05-20

Great insight into F1 cars

A good insight into the inner world of F1 and the workings that go into designing the cars, The regulations the govern them plus a touch of personal life

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  • andrew walmsley
  • 03-11-20

Excellent

I listened to this while in my car, I do a lot of miles with work and can honestly say I was gutted when it had finished, excellent book

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  • JoB
  • 02-16-20

A brilliant book, so easy to listen to!

If you have any interest in cars, motorsport, F1, engineering or aerodynamics, listen to this book!Adrian explains just enough of the technical aspects to keep an engineer engaged and a layman interested, coupled with personal revelations to make this book really well rounded.

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  • Tom Clarke
  • 01-18-20

Interesting but boring

Story could have been so much better without the technical stuff albeit it’s integral to the author bit more personal details and it would read and listen better. Also the narrator could do with some drama in his voice.

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  • JJC
  • 01-03-20

Compelling, insightful and well-written book

As some of the other reviews have said, this book is much more interesting and enjoyable than you might expect it to be. It is certainly worth your time, even if you're not a motor racing enthusiast as it gives real insight into the fantastical level of analysis and indeed obsession that F1 designers put into their cars. There are some nice personal touches too, covering parents, schools, failed marriages, children etc, so it's not just a blow-by-blow F1 chronicle. Of course the Senna part is particularly significant (and clearly painful to Newey), but it's fascinating to hear about the functional idiosyncrasies and political machinations at Williams and McLaren, and of Newey's (almost) dalliances with Ferrari and Jaguar.

However, I wonder if Adrian Newey himself has ever listened to this narration, as he might wince at the rendering of some names/expressions. Was there much technical liaison with the narrator before sitting him behind the microphone? The quality of the narration - voice, intonation, speed etc, is actually very good but there are several clunkers that will jar with anyone who has slightly more than a passing familiarity with F1. Important acronomys (eg FOCA/KERS) are routinely spelled out rather than spoken as the single words you might normally expect and thus sound odd. There are also several familiar yet strangely pronounced driver names and circuit names. There are maybe three references to a Cosworth 'DVF' instead of DFV. None of which sounds like much, but the narrator has read some things wrongly (or at best, differently from the norm) and it harms the flow, like misprints in a hard copy book. This isn't enough overall to spoil the enjoyable nature of the book, but how difficult would it have been for an editor to make sure than any words or expressions that might be rendered wrongly are identified and the rendering clarified in advance, and thus glitches avoided in the final version? This book is certainly not alone in this issue by any means and probably reflects the downside of having a professional but non-technically au fait narrator voice a book containing specialist technical elements.

Sorry to harp on about that, because, just to reiterate, most of the narration was excellent and I did enjoy this book a lot and listened to it in long chunks without my attention flagging!

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  • C. Holloway
  • 12-07-19

Good entertaining listen

This has had some great reviews. I listened eagerly, as a huge F1 fan, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a victim of its own reviews I think, as I was expecting to be blown away, but instead was left impressed but not mindblown.
The man is clearly extremely gifted, and humorous at times too. The chapter on Senna was a highlight, but clearly gives a biased view. I was interested by his explanation but not totally convinced by it. I was convinced by his genuine pain and regret surrounding the event however.

There are some interesting back stories here, surrounding characters in F1 - the Mark Webber/Vettel arguments at Red Bull being one of them.
I would listen again, and don't regret the purchase. It's good.

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  • Vik
  • 01-08-20

Great Book for F1 Fans

This is a great book and shows a different side of the story for the fans. If you are a fan of the sport this is a great listen.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Alan P Douma
  • 08-20-19

Loved it

So interesting and what a unique view. Thanks for sharing your story with us all

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-10-19

it was good. bit repetitive

amazingly good recollection of the challenges for each years car. I enjoyed it. good for F1 fans

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-07-19

Bit dry but must listen for F1 fans

It's a bit dry in places but definitely worth a listen for super F1 fans.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-17-20

amazing insight into the man that is Adrian Newey

Amazing listen, easily finished, a few good laughs while reading this book recommendation for any F1 Fan

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  • Blair
  • 12-11-19

Different way to think about F1

I Loved this book! Having been a fan of motor racing I have never been interested in F1, Adrian tells a story that has had me Google searching F1 cars and watching old races. I will now look at these cars quite differently. The story flows very well, and holds interest every chapter.

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  • Looshbaby
  • 05-13-19

Mixed Feelings

Considering this book was written by an engineer who deals in micro millimetre precision I was astounded at the amount of the factual mistakes, things like dates, driver results and even the pronunciation errors from the otherwise great narrator. The best thing about this book is that even though it is far more about technology and design than racing, Adrian Newey keeps the reader intrigued with all of the peripherals going on in the real world, and to an uneducated person most of the technical talk was not too advanced . Overall a very enjoyable book. As for the narrator... Nigel Mansell does not sound like a Beatle and most of your impersonations did not reflect the people imitated, a terrible flaw in this audiobook.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-03-19

Great insight into F1

This an amazing biography of an extraordinary designer. The concepts and developments of F1 are told in depth but readily understood by the layman.
The narration excellent. Well paced and clearly spoken. This adds to the story building pace while understanding the technical sides of the car development.

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  • Theres
  • 04-22-19

Well narrated and engaging

I am no car enthusiast but I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Adrian's narration and way of telling his story in this book. For a non engineer and non rev head like myself, the book was great to listen to as it wasn't too over worded with car and engineering jargon and if it was, it was explained for us mere mortals.
Well laid out with various sections of the book being represented by the car he worked on (not that I can remember a single one but great reference points).

If you are into biographies of unique and intelligent people with great life stories, this is for you.

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  • Norbert
  • 02-25-19

Great Story

Loved it! Great insight into a race engineer. Easy to listen although it's a long book.