Rare Book Review: Nelson Piquet by Mike Doodson
Good to hear that ’80s world champion Nelson Piquet is on the mend following heart surgery. A rare collector’s book in the Autocourse drivers’ series is Mike Doodson’s biography on Nelson Piquet. This is #7 of the 10 part Autocourse Driver Profile series which features Gilles Villeneuve (#4) Niki Lauda (#2), Emerson Fittipaldi (#5), Ayrton […]
Good to hear that ’80s world champion Nelson Piquet is on the mend following heart surgery. A rare collector’s book in the Autocourse drivers’ series is Mike Doodson’s biography on Nelson Piquet. This is #7 of the 10 part Autocourse Driver Profile series which features Gilles Villeneuve (#4) Niki Lauda (#2), Emerson Fittipaldi (#5), Ayrton Senna (#9), Alain Prost (#3), Graham Hill (#10), Jim Clark (#8), Nigel Mansell (#1) and Jochen Rindt (#6). Out of this series, the Villeneuve and Piquet books are the rarest and most valuable. Funnily, this book is rare also for the simple fact that for some strange reason there are very few English books published on Nelson Piquet despite being a triple world champion and at his peak was always in the media or newspapers. Maybe it was because the English press always painted Nelson as a bit of a villain on and off the track…
Doodson opens with a character profile and then traces is early karting days, Super Vee racing in Brasil, European F3, British F3, tasting F1 in the Ensign N177 and B&S Fabrications McLaren M23, signing for Brabham, battling with Jones in 1980 and 1981, moving to Williams battling with Mansell, Lotus for 2 seasons and then finishing his career with Benetton.
The narrative glosses over a lot of the actual races and compresses many of the race seasons to a few paragraphs. There are no interview quotes with the man himself.
The fact that there are no chapters in this book often makes it hard to follow the timeline, but this is an issue with all the books in the Autocourse series. As a Brabham fan, I find the behind the scenes stuff the most interesting – not signing for Ron Dennis’ McLaren for 1982, background to the clash with Elio Salazar at Hockenheim and the quick but troublesome BT53.
At the back of the book are all Nelson’s career race results from 1977 to 1990.
Overall its a fairly average book with not enough color photos, but the lack of any other Piquet book other than published magazine material is enough reason to make this a interesting standalone book.
Why the photo of Nelson in the Benetton was chosen for the book’s cover rather than the Brabham BT49, BT52 or the Williams FW11B is a complete mystery…
Wow Factor or Money Shot: B&W shots of Nelson in his early junior formula days; also in the B&S Fabrications McLaren M23 and 3rd Brabham BT46 works car at Montreal.
Suitable for: Piquet and early 80’s F1 fans