Whilst Kimi Räikkönen seems to be enjoying Lotus’ resurgence, the Lotus name was last at the top of the timesheets in the mid-1980s with a young Ayrton Senna. Johnny Tipler’s Team Lotus The Ayrton Senna Years documents Team Lotus’ rebuilding phase in the early 80s, to its revitalization during Senna’s tenure and gradual decline by the end of that decade.
Coterie Press have a reputation for publishing high quality F1 books and Johnny Tipler’s Ayrton Senna The Team Lotus Years is no exception. This book is heavy hardcover bound with dust jacket and heavy grade paper.
There is a foreward by former Senna teammate Johnny Dumfries and the book itself is divided into 8 chapters starting with the 1983 season with Mansell and D’Angelis in the Lotus 93T & 94T, charting the progress of the Senna years in the 95T through to 99T. Suprisingly, given its book title, the final chapter covers the Senna-less 1988 season with the Piquet-Nakajima pairing in the 100T.
Tipler who is a reknown Team Lotus writer manages to includes quotes from a variety range of ex-team personnel which gives the book much authenticity. The book goes into a lot of background detail besides recounting the various race wins – the commercial maneovuring to get Senna into the team for 1985, experiences with Senna’s early testing, driver-engineer communications, qualifying preparations, relationships with Renault and British American Tobacco, active suspension, etc.
There is a great balance between text and photo – each race during the Senna years is given a few paragraphs including some race quotes. Photography layout is clean, ranging from thumbnails to quarter panel shots with the occasional full or double splash page photo. There are only a few photos I have seen elsewhere and I doubt there is another book or magazine which has them packaged up together in one publication.
The fact that this book is so well balanced also gets it onto my list of top Ayrton Senna books.