Regarded as one of the great motor racing documentaries, If You’re Not Winning, You’re Not Trying follows the work of the JPS Team Lotus squad during the 1973 season as they head towards their fourth World Constructors’ Championship in six years.
Difficult to obtain since its original VHS release in 1998, this hour-long piece has been given a new lease of life and looks set to reach a wider audience thanks to a DVD transfer by the purveyors of all things watchable, Duke Video.
Narrated by legendary sports journalist Ian Wooldridge, If You’re Not Winning… not only provides an excellent opportunity to see what life was like for one of Formula 1’s most famous teams, but it also offers a fascinating glimpse into Grand Prix racing itself during the 1970s.
With unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to Team Lotus at the height of its powers, it charts the story of their ’73 season, capturing the on and off-track drama with the men at the heart of the action, including legendary cap-throwing team boss Colin Chapman, competition manager Peter Warr, reigning World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi and upcoming charger Ronnie Peterson.
The revealing trackside footage also showcases the hard work, tension, concentration and moments of humour behind each race as the Lotus 72s are prepared to go head-to-head with the Tyrrells of Jackie Stewart and Francois Cevert.
But what makes If You’re Not Winning… a must-see is the fantastic racing action contained within. With material from tracks like Monaco, Silverstone, Monza and Zandvoort, it offers new angles on some notable moments – the first-lap shunt at the British Grand Prix for example – and it also showcases some of the huge differences between modern Grand Prix racing and that from almost four decades ago.
The most notable of which is the rather primitive means in which teams would track the progress of their drivers – this of course being an era bereft of tracking and communication facilities. So the apprehension as they await further news following a crash is almost palpable, with their first inkling of a problem often only being when a driver failed to come around to start a new lap.
As a snapshot of a particular point in time, If You’re Not Winning… will undoubtedly conjure up even more respect for the motorsport icon; its history, tradition, all with a splash of black and gold.
It is a brilliant fly-on-the-wall documentary through what was a year of triumph, frustration and elation both within the sport and Team Lotus itself, and it is something that nostalgic and contemporary racing fans will thoroughly enjoy.
|Format: PAL||No. of discs: 1|
|Region: 2||Studio: Duke Video|
|Running time: 60 mins||Release: 30 Apr 2012|
|IF YOU’RE NOT WINNING, YOU’RE NOT TRYING is available to buy now from Amazon.|