The touchstone for Roger Smith’s lifelong passion for Grand Prix motor racing was the heroic first Vanwall triumph by Moss/Brooks at Aintree in 1957. Once smitten, he began to attend every Formula 1 race possible, and back then fans were spoiled for choice. Take 1962. In addition to the nine World Championship rounds, there were no fewer than 20 non-championship F1 races, seven of them in Britain.
The Swinging Sixties wasn’t just a period of social revolution, it was also a decade that witnessed revolutionary advancement in F1 car design. Ever present at the race tracks, rubbing shoulders with drivers in the paddock, avidly reading Autosport and Motor Sport – this was the F1 apprenticeship Roger served. He soaked it all up to form a deep understanding of the sport.
With the change in priorities brought about by family life, his F1 attendances diminished during the 1970s, as did the prevalence of non-championship races. But there was always the British Grand Prix plus numerous opportunities presented by foreign travel associated with his occupation. Over the decades he has attended countless F1 races across five continents, latterly adding Sepang, Sakhir, Singapore, Shanghai and Abu Dhabi.
Once he became ‘time-rich’ and able to pursue his aspiration to write, he intertwined two key strands from his life. By uniting his passion for F1 with his professional expertise in the world of business information, his first book, Analysing Formula 1, was published by Haynes in 2008.
By this time a yet more ambitious project was hatching, inspired, as he saw it, by a yawning gap on his personal F1 bookshelf. Missing was a one-stop shop, a single volume integrating an informative historical storyline with an extensive source of reference; a hub, a compass, a book of first resort that keeps F1’s rich heritage alive and fresh.
This project reached fruition as Formula 1: All The Races, first published by Haynes in 2012. The first print run sold out within four months and the book was shortlisted for the British Sports Book Awards. Now, in 2016, Evro has published the fully updated third edition.
With its innovative ‘Race Pods’, the project has entirely met Roger’s objective. He is now putting finishing touches to f1alltheraces.com where, along with his Blog, you will discover his latest concept, ‘Knowledge Pods’, a dynamic new way to gain insights into F1’s ‘hidden history’.
Regular appearances on local radio led Roger, in 2010, to be engaged by BBC Oxford, which serves ‘Motorsport Valley’, to present a series of programmes showcasing the county’s F1 community. He has also lectured on F1, his most unusual assignment addressing 30 elite Chinese students attending Oxford University Summer School. Roger is a member of The Guild of Motoring Writers.
Prior to becoming an author, Roger worked for business information leader ACNielsen, latterly as Managing Director, TV Ratings, Europe. His successful 40-year career spanned several international roles and his research findings were published throughout Europe.
Roger lives in Oxford with his wife Rosemary. They have three children and two grandchildren.