The three years that Ayrton Senna drove for Team Lotus, 1985-87, was one of the headiest periods in the history of motor racing. Not only were titanic battles raging between the four leading teams – McLaren, Williams, Ferrari and Lotus – in the second phase of the mega-powerful turbo era, rivalry between the top Formula 1 drivers, on-and off-track, was wound up to fever pitch.
Behind the scenes, intrigues fermented between team personnel, sponsors and component suppliers. Johnny Tipler interviewed many of the people involved in F1 at the time and with Team Lotus in particular, and without exception they were keen to discuss Senna’s tenure of the prime seat at the Norfolk team, where the young Brazilian was warmly regarded and his talents held in high esteem.
AYRTON SENNA THE TEAM LOTUS YEARS is a lavishly illustrated 224-pagefull colour hard backed publication, it’s large 11×11 inch formatcontains over 350 mostly unseen and historic images. The book draws on this wide variety of first-hand sources to describe the atmosphere and politics within the organisation, as well as examining the cars Senna and his three successive team-mates, de Angelis, Dumfries and Nakajima drove, from Types 97T to 99T.
The book pulls no punches in its final summation of the effect that Senna had on the once glorious Norfolk squad. Although the time that Senna spent at Lotus marked the team’s final flowering as a Grand Prix winning outfit, it has been largely overlooked. Given better reliability, he could easily have become World Champion with Lotus and Johnny Tipler’s detailed investigation redresses the balance, providing a comprehensive record of this short but fascinating era. It brings to light the state of affairs within Team Lotus during the post-Chapman period, and more fundamentally it demonstrates the level of excitement and commitment that Senna aroused.
This lavishly illustrated hardback volume covers the three year period, 1984-1987 when Ayrton Senna drove for the Lotus team, battling for supremacy with McLaren, Williams and Ferrari. Drawing heavily on first-hand sources the book paints a vivid picture of a time of high drama during the turbocharged Formula One era. Worth buying for the pictures alone, more than 300 aptly chosen photographs adorn the 224 pages, most in colour. It is a sympathetic and readable insight into the qualities of a great racing team and a legendary driver.
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