From reading to dreaming
My journey of F1 race cars through the pages of life
Published: Jan 11, 2024 09:39 PM
Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Speaking of one's reading life, most people would probably think of their first book, or how many books they have read. For me though, I don't have an answer to either, as all the books I've read are lost in my river-like memories. While I have lost these two "essential" questions of reading, I fortunately haven't lost everything in my long memory, so let me take you into my reading life.

According to my parents, my reading life started when I was 1 year old. You probably think I'm making things up, because nobody can read anything when they are 1 year old, and I have to admit that you are right. I could only listen to small picture books on my small bed beside my mom. She was a great storyteller and always spoke while adding a lot of facial expressions. Even if I couldn't read, I could understand the meaning of her facial expressions. Sometimes I wonder why she didn't choose a job as an actress. Anyway, that was the first period of my reading life: listening.

The second part of my reading life is called "bridge book." A bridge book is a kind of book that connects picture books and textbooks. At that time, my Chinese and English vocabulary wasn't very large, so I had to turn to bridge books as they were the easiest for me. I was like a frog in a well. I didn't know there was a bigger world of books waiting for me to explore.

The next period was between when I was 5 and a half to 7 years old. In this period of my life, I started to see the world in a different and wider way. I started to walk out of that deep well and learned there were flocks and flocks of books waiting for me. I, of course, "ditched" bridge books and went into the arms of textbooks and started to read them. In the world of textbooks, I felt a door was opened in front of me, and the light was pouring through the door, so I stepped into the light and started to read tons and tons of books.

The books weren't all the same, some were romantic, like Notre Dame of Paris and Les Miserables, and some were science fiction and nonfiction. There were lots of books that I liked, for example: The Three-Body Problem and the Harry Potter series. But my favorite book wasn't any of them, it was a book called How To Build A Car by Adrian Newey. Probably you haven't heard about this book or this person, but in the F1 Paddock, Adrian and his book are very famous. 1996 World Champion Damon Hill once said, "Adrian has a unique gift for understanding drivers and racing cars. He is ultra competitive but never forgets to have fun. An immensely likable man." And the Guardian called him "the leading Formula One designer of his generation."

The reason I chose this book has everything to do with my hobby: F1. Formula One is the FIA's (Federation Internationale del'Automobile) highest level of car racing. It represents the best car making in the world. Adrian is the best of all of them. This book mainly talks about his life as a designer. It all started in 1958 when Adrian used car parts to understand how to make cars quicker.

Now you would probably ask, why do I like this book? Why would I like a kid that hadn't done well in school? What's so special about it? Isn't it just a book about an old guy who had won a lot of championships? So now I'm going to tell you what's so special about this book.

It was all because my liking of F1 and the technical parts of the cars.

If I hadn't watched F1, I would never have read this book. My first memory of F1 was in 2019, in Bahrain, when Charles Leclerc's engine had a failure, and lost his win and his first pole-to-win. It wasn't a good memory but it was indeed my first memory about this sport.

In 2021, I started to watch every race in the year, but instead of wanting to drive, I became very interested in how to race and in aerodynamics. After my research I found Adrian was the best, so I started to look for his autobiography and found this book. This book didn't just tell me what these cars were called, it also told me how they work.

For example: Adrian tells us how he designed the brake duct and the associated wing on the RB8 with a picture. It allowed me to learn about the most advanced technology in the paddock. It also lighted up a new career path for me.

When I was young, I wanted to be a firefighter, then a doctor, then a policeman, but now I have a new career wish: to become a race car or a plane designer. After I read Adrian's autobiography I thought of this as a career, but, of course, learning physics won't be very easy, especially at that depth. Not everyone can become an expert in this subject, especially in such a precise and difficult field, but as the Chinese poem says, "The sharp sword comes from the sharpening, plum blossoms' scent comes from the cold weather."

My goal is to "never give up, no matter the situation." Will you work hard and step into the future with me?

The author is a student at Beijing Wenhui