The Grand Prix of Canada
Rick Boulton was a Contributing Editor, TV Guide.
Motor racing fans will enjoy this one, essentially a year-by-year rehash of the Formula One Grand Prix races held in Canada since the first one in 1967, when Australian Jack Brabham won on a sopping-wet circuit at Mosport, Ontario. More like a yearbook or a thick souvenir programme than anything else, it is full of Donaldson’s cheerleading style, but it is excellently researched and written, with the dedicated buff in mind. It’s tough sledding for the novice, though; there are no particular insights into motor racing or into the rigors of surviving the dangers and the emotional highs and lows that comprise the motor racing “circus.” Neither are there any new or interesting revelations about Canada’s racing hero, the late Gilles Villeneuve, since that obviously wasn’t the author’s intention. Villeneuve’s first Grand Prix win, on the Ile Notre-Dame circuit in Montreal in the 1978 race — the first time in Formula One history a driver had won his first Grand Prix on his home circuit — is comprehensively described. The 150 photographs, many of them in color, are nicely reproduced, and the book is laced with statistics, practice times, starting grids, maps, lap times, and thumbnail photos of all racers year-by-year — in short, a joy for the real motor racing nut. Donaldson, though, captures only the rudiments of Formula One racing, not the feel or spirit. There’s no hint at all about the underbelly of the sport, and there are precious few anecdotes — thus, this is certainly not a book for the casual fan.