“‘Will you do a pho­to­shoot for our front cover, wear­ing a Union Jack suit?’ asked

F1 Racing - - FINISHING STRAIGHT -

I’m a ham at heart, so I said yes. That was in April 2000, four years af­ter F1 Rac­ing had launched and gone on to achieve in­ter­na­tional suc­cess, sell­ing in 15 coun­tries in 10 dif­fer­ent lan­guages. How­ever, that it would ring the sales bell with en­thu­si­asts all over the world was by no means a fore­gone con­clu­sion, so hats off to its pub­lisher, Hay­mar­ket, for hav­ing the courage to en­ter such a spe­cialised and com­pet­i­tive mar­ket with a glossy monthly mag­a­zine.

I’ve been writ­ing this col­umn with its long deadlines for eight years, and I can tell you that in to­day’s world of in­stant on­line in­for­ma­tion, fol­lowed up at length by the full story in weekly mag­a­zines, I’ve spent many an hour ag­o­nis­ing about find­ing some­thing to say that won’t be old news or in­cor­rect by the time it is be­ing read.

But F1 is never short of ex­cite­ment and there have been plenty of sto­ry­lines for me. Num­ber one with­out a doubt was the bril­liant day I had at Sil­ver­stone, be­ing driven in the one-off twoseater F1 McLaren by my ITV commentary-box part­ner Martin Brun­dle. The unique McLaren had been built to give peo­ple an ex­pe­ri­ence of

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