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Life at the Limit: Triumph and Tragedy in Formula One Hardcover – 21 Jun 1996
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Top customer reviews
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.
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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