The Formula: How Rogues, Geniuses, and Speed Freaks Reengineered F1 into the World's Fastest-Growing Sport (Hardcover)
Wall Street Journal reporters and authors of The Club, Joshua Robinson and Jonathan Clegg tell the riveting saga of how Formula 1 broke through in America, detailing the eclectic culture of racing obsessives, glamorous settings, gearheads, engineering geniuses, dashing racers, and bitter rivalries that have made F1 the world’s fastest growing sport.
For decades in America, car racing meant NASCAR, and to a lesser extent IndyCar, with Formula 1—the wealthiest racing league in the world—a distant third. Fast forward to 2023, and F1 has emerged at the front of the pack powered by a passionate yet nascent American fanbase. The F1 juggernaut has arrived, but this checkered flag was far from inevitable.
In The Formula, Wall Street Journal reporters Joshua Robinson and Jonathan Clegg tell the epic story of how F1 saved itself from collapse and finally conquered America through guile, fearlessness, and above all, reinvention. With fast cars, big money, glamorous locales, and beautiful people as the backdrop, The Formula reveals how F1’s sudden arrival in the US was actually decades in the making, a product of the sport’s near-constant state of transformation and experimentation. Bringing unique insight and access to F1’s most storied teams and personalities—from Ferrari to Bernie Ecclestone to Christian Horner to Lewis Hamilton—The Formula offers a riveting portrait of the drivers, corporations, cars, rivalries, and audacious gambles that have shaped the sport for half a century.
The end result is a high-octane history of how modern F1 racing came to be—the first book to tell the story of the outrageous successes and spectacular crashes that led F1 to this extraordinary yet precarious moment. More than just a sports story, The Formula is the tale of a disrupter that broke into the crowded American sports marketplace and claimed its place through cash, personality, and a new understanding of what a sport needs to be in the age of wall-to-wall entertainment.
Jonathan Clegg is an editor for The Wall Street Journal, his work has also appeared in the Daily Telegraph, the Independent (U.K.), and FourFourTwo magazine.
They are the co-authors of The Club: How the English Premier League Became the Richest, Wildest, Most Disruptive Force in Sports and Messi vs. Ronaldo: One Rivalry, Two GOATs, and the Era That Remade the World’s Game.
“A stunningly researched and comprehensive work of business reportage that somehow reads like a novel, The Formula is a lively hot lap through the untold history and explosive growth of the most glamorous, spectacular, and sordid global sport of them all. With all of the juicy background and context about Formula 1 that you won’t see on Netflix, this is hands down the greatest, most definitive book ever written about F1. A sweeping sports story for the ages.” — Sam Walker, bestselling author of The Captain Class
“No one explains exactly what’s happening in global sports like the duo of Clegg and Robinson. They’ve done it again with The Formula, a fascinating account of how F1 exploded in the Netflix age. Modern F1 is the sports story of this era, and no one could tell it better. In a book about racing geniuses, no one is better at their craft than the storytellers themselves.” — Kevin Clark, ESPN and Omaha Productions
“The fastest read you will ever pick up. The Formula brings you inside the furious present and sometimes bizarre past of the world’s richest, most technologically advanced form of sport. Even if you don’t know how to drive, you should read this book.”
— A. J. Baime, bestselling author of Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans
“An appropriately fast-paced narrative of Formula 1 auto racing, whose popularity is exploding . . . A thrill for fans of F1, and a fine example of fluid sports writing.” — Kirkus Reviews
“[An] exceptional account of an intense sport . . . The authors go beyond the adrenaline-drenched action of the racetracks in portraying the progression of Formula One.”
“Deep and intelligent…a portrait of football greatness.” — Arsène Wenger on Messi vs. Ronaldo
“A comprehensive primer into the entwined histories of the two titans and the commercial forces that have molded their careers and, by extension, the sport.” — New York Times on Messi vs. Ronaldo
“While these two soaring greats are known for their transcendent wonder on the field, this rollicking narrative plunges into the complex backstories and entire ecosystems that propelled their colliding trajectories. With a pair of epic hero stories like The Last Dance or Homer’s Odyssey in cleats, this book traces the journey from aspirational prodigies to global commercial billboards, explaining how these two juggernauts and their rivalry shaped the most popular, and lucrative, era of the world’s most beloved sport.” — Roger Bennett, founder, Men in Blazers Media Network, on Messi vs. Ronaldo
“This rigorously researched book avoids becoming hagiography. The result is an ambitious and valuable study for all those who want to understand the modern world of football that Mr. Messi and Mr. Ronaldo have helped forge.” — The Economist on Messi vs. Ronaldo
“This book explains the brilliant backstory behind how each player became a start and how that stardom changed the footballing landscape not just in Spain but in the wider world as well…I read it in a day.” — Rebecca Lowe, NBC Sports, on Messi vs. Ronaldo