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Life At The Limit: Triumph and Tragedy in Formula One by [Watkins, Sid]
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Life At The Limit: Triumph and Tragedy in Formula One Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 75 customer reviews

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Length: 258 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4435 KB
  • Print Length: 258 pages
  • Publisher: Pan (7 Mar. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00BQF6RBO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 75 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #98,577 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was half way through this book, when I bought the follow up. That'll give you an idea of what I thought of this one.

Sid Watkins was at the forefront of changing, not only the physical specifications, but also of the culture within F! as regards safety. This book looks at the safety of the sport before, and after he came to the sport at the behest of Bernie Ecclestone. As well as looking at the safety, the accidents, some fatal, some not, there's pen portraits of some of the big hitters during his time in the sport.

As well as the sporting side, there are several appendices showing the documentation required by the FIA to ensure that any circuit meets the requirements laid down under the safety regulations, along with a fairly exhaustive look at the research carried out on the stresses a race driver is under during a race.

This contains something for everyone, regardless if it is little vignettes like the medical car overtaking the cars during the first lap, to historical facts such as the infighting that went on to allow the medical car to follow the cars on the first lap. Regardless whether you are a long term fan, or a new fan, there's something in this book for you.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The friendships forged and losses felt show all too clearly the human side of a highly skilled professional at the peak of his art.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A good read
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Viewing Grand Prix motor racing through the wonderfully perceptive eyes of Professor Watkins means that anyone interested in the sport should read this excellent account. Obviously respected, often revered by those with whom he works, he gives vivid and sometimes moving recollections spanning the many years of his involvement. Humour and pathos make regular appearances; his dry wit, an essential tool of his trade perhaps, serves to punctuate what is essentially a serious book. His incisive précis of drivers from the last three decades makes for compulsive reading, the character analyses are intriguing and revealing. Undoubtedly a pivotal character in the world of Formula One, the professor has been instrumental in saving many lives. However, he's also witnessed intimately the consequences of appalling accidents in which lives were lost. He is perhaps uniquely qualified to commentate on the sport, his dedication and professionalism making him a hero in this modern amphitheatre which now embraces the globe. Superbly readable. Once is not enough.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Professor Watkins is the official doctor for the Formula One Grand Prix circus as it travels the world. He has had this role since the late seventies and his involvement in motorsport medicine goes back even longer. Without the fame accruing from this, he would still be recognised as an eminent neurosurgeon. Fans, drivers and officials alike recognise his role.
In this book, he tells the story of his involvement in Formula One racing. He covers the years from 1978 to 1994 with a few notes about the following year. The book treads a path between autobiography and history or documentary.
My first comment about this book is that it is well written and a really enjoyable read. Of course, the author covers the many accidents which he has attended in his work. Beyond that, he writes about the personalities involved and also the process by which the current high standards of medical care have been introduced into the sport.
In that latter area, one character stands out. It is clear that without the force of Bernie Ecclestone behind them, many of the improvements to medical care would not have taken place. The two men each understand their own and the others job and they do not get in each others way and trust each other immensly.
Reading parts such as the description of the death of Gilles Villeneuve brought a tear to my eye. Other parts, such as the tale of Gerhard Berger testing the indestructability of Ayrton Senna's new carbon fibre briefcase had me laughing out loud.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Sid Watkins helped turn Formula 1 from the deadly sport it was in the 1960s and 1970s into the sport it is today. It's still dangerous and every driver faces risks in every race, but they are now supported by a high-tech, no-expense-spared medical system. The creation of that medical system owes much to Watkins, a neurosurgeon who oversaw purpose-built medical centres at each track, helicopter transport and rapid-response medical cars. In this book, we read about some of the stories behind Watkin's F1 career and some of the accidents where he saved lives, as well as some of those in which he did not. The chapters where Watkins describes his favourite/least favourite tracks and the drivers who raced in the 70s/80/90s feel like padding, but otherwise this is an excellent insight into the transformation of Formula 1 racing.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My family are steeped in motor racing - my parents were both amateur rally drivers back in 'the day' (i.e. the 60s - lots of silverware in the attic!) and I virtually grew up at Silverstone at club meetings over Bank Holiday weekends (we only lived an hour away when I was growing up) and my first visit, apparently, was when I was two weeks old! We are all keen drivers, learning as children thrashing cars round fields on private land, and even now in my 40s I drive for relaxation or just for fun (although since moving to Jersey 23 years ago my opportunities to go very far are limited!). I grew up hearing my father eulogise Jim Clark - in an age, in the early 70s, when many people's first though to do with British F1 drivers were either Stirling Moss (who my father never rated) or Jackie Stewart (definitely rated!) this 'Jim Clark' seemed to lead to a lot of blank faces among my friends! I first got into F1 seriously in 1980 when I was 12/13, and my favourite driver (I cut out all the pictures from 'Motoring News' and stuck them on my bedroom wall!) was Keke Rosberg. Oh, how old do I feel watching Nico now!!

But, to put a serious angle on it, the early days, up to the mid-70s especially, were dangerous times for F1. Anyone whose seen the awful footage of Tom Pryce's death, or Roger Williamson's, won't need convincing of that. But F1 was un-regulated in terms of safety and anyone who spoke out or tried to change things (step forward again, Sir Jackie) was branded a coward by many other drivers, team owners and circuit managers (and the latter of course, would have to spend money to implement any safety changes).
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