Book Review: Die Formel 1 Spricht Deutsche by Rainer Schlegelmlich and Ralf Bach
“Die Formel 1 Spricht Deutsche” (translated: ‘Formula 1 speaks German’) is one of my favorite Rainer Schlegelmilch titles. While it isn’t the usual large size coffee table hardcover dustjacket format similar to some of Rainer’s other more popular books (e.g. Ferrari Formula 1, Portraits of the 60s) it’s a simpler hardcover book that belies a topic in Formula 1 books that is rarely covered in one book – the contribution of German speaking drivers and teams in the history Formula 1. Sure, there are plenty of books on Mercedes and BMW in F1, however its great to find a book that also covers other German related F1 teams – Porsche, ATS, Rial and of course Sauber. There are lots of books on Michael Schumacher, Jochen Rindt, Niki Lauda and Gerhard Berger, but Die Formel 1 Spricht Deutsche also includes profiles of other German F1 drivers of lower profiles.
The short opening chapter of the book contains a lot of thumbnail photos and captions trying to capture 50 years of German involvement in F1 as engine manufacturers, sponsors, merchandising, the race track and TV.
The next section of book chronicles the drivers from the early eras with a very brief career description and accompanying photos. Drivers covered include Karl Kling, Hans Hermann, Wolfgang von Trips, Gerhard Mitter, Hubert Hahne to 60s superstars like Jo Siffert and Jochen Rindt. 70’s and 80’s drivers that are covered include Rolf Stommelen, Helmet Marko (who?), Niki Lauda, Jochen Mass, Hans-Joachim Stuck, Harald Ertl, Hans Binder, Marc Surer, Manfred Winkelhock, Stefan Bellof, Gerhard Berger, Christian Danner, Bernd Schneider, Volker Weidler and Michael Bartels. The book also covers 90’s and early 2000 drivers such as Michael Schumacher (all 16 pages!), Karl Wendlinger, Roland Ratzenberger, Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Ralf Schumacher, Alex Wurz and Nick Heidfeld. In terms of volume, the book dedicates the most page coverage on Michael Schumacher, Gerhard Berger and Niki Lauda.
The rear sections are my favorite – Die Silberpfeile (Silver Arrows), Porsche (804, TAG Turbo engines) and the teams – ATS, Rial, BMW (1982-87; 2000), Zakspeed, Sauber and Mercedes. If you’re a Sauber fan, there are some nice pictures included. Finally the last section covers some of the tracks – Zeltweg, Hockenheim and the Nurburgring.
One thing is for sure, it would be great if Rainer and Ralph could update this book with all the current crop of German drivers – Vettel, Rosberg, Glock, Sutil, etc.
It goes without saying that the photography, shot selection and layout (like most Schlegelmilch titles) is excellent. Some of the varied engine and chassis shots of the Brabham BMW, Zakspeed and Rial are slightly reminiscent of the multi-layouts in Fascination Formula One but this book is a more budget version. There are also some good 70s driver/car shots that are interesting, like Rolf Stommelen in the Eifelland Type 21 at 1972 Monaco GP and Hans Binder in the Surtees Ford at US GP West 1977
Wow Factor or Money Shot: For me, its the photos of the Porsche 804.
Suitable for: 70’s and 80’s F1 fans