Life At The Limit

Pan Macmillan
53
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'It's pretty rare to come across a motor racing book that tempts you to read the thing in one sitting but "Prof" Watkins has produced a gem ... [he] is a superb raconteur, not afraid to speak him mind yet peppering the gravity with occasionally side-splitting humour. No true motorsport fan should be without this book.' Autosport

Grand Prix racing has undergone sweeping changes in the last thirty years. Many of these involve safety and medical rescue. The man behind them - a champion in the racing world although he has never won a race - is the eminent neurosurgeon Sid Watkins.

Life at the Limit is his remarkable story. It spans the most exciting years in Grand Prix racing and includes intimate portraits of motorsport's greatest names, from Jackie Stewart and Niki Lauda to Alain Prost and Damon Hill. Sid Watkins has also witnessed, at first hand, some of the most severe and spectacular racing accidents. His account of these is made all the more poignant by the fact that some of the men he has rescued, sometimes at the point of death, have been personal friends. From Monza, in 1978, where Ronnie Petersen suffered a fatal accident, to Imola in May 1994 where Ayrton Senna met his untimely death, the high, and low, points of Grand Prix racing are vividly described.

For all fans of Formula One, this is the inside story of the world's most dangerous sport.

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About the author

Sid Watkins, known as Professor Sid, was an English neurosurgeon. After graduated from the University of Liverpool and serving in the Royal Army Medical Corps, he became FIA Formula One Safety and Medical Delegate, head of the Formula One on-track medical team. He is the author of two memoirs, Life at the Limit and Beyond the Limit. He died in 2012 of a heart attack.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Pan Macmillan
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Published on
Mar 7, 2013
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Pages
264
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ISBN
9781447241010
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / General
Medical / Emergency Medicine
Sports & Recreation / Motor Sports
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The voice of motor racing and much loved public figure – and the man responsible for introducing millions of viewers to the previously inaccessible world of Formula 1 – tells the story of his incident-packed life, with a brand new chapter on his globetrotting adventures since retirement.

Murray Walker is a national treasure. When the man who made famous the catch phrase 'Unless I'm very much mistaken... I AM very much mistaken!!!' announced that he was retiring as ITV's Grand Prix commentator, the media reacted as if the sport itself was losing one of its biggest stars.

His reputation for mistakes was the making of Walker. He was the fan who happened to be given the keys to the commentary box – and never wanted to give them back. His high-octane delivery kept viewers on the edge of their seats, while his passion for talking about the sport he loved was matched by an all-encompassing knowledge gained through hours of painstaking research before every race.

In his book he writes about his childhood and the influence that his father, British motorcycle champion Graham Walker, had on his career. Failing to match his father's achievements on the track after active service in World War II, he made a successful career for himself in advertising which catapulted him to the top of his profession.

An offer from the BBC to take over the commentary seat for their F1 broadcasts was too good to turn down, and it wasn't long before the infamous 'Murrayisms' enlivened a sport which until then had been shrouded in a cloak of unfathomable technical jargon and mind-numbing statistics.

He also talks about the biggest changes in the sport over the last 50 years, in particular the safety issues which came to the fore after the tragic death of Ayrton Senna, which he witnessed first hand. His partnership with James Hunt behind the microphone is the subject of some hilarious anecdotes, while his views on drivers past and present such as Stirling Moss, Jackie Stewart, Damon Hill and Michael Schumacher make for fascinating reading.

The 2007 Formula One Championship was the first since the legendary 1986 season in which three drivers went into the final race with the possibility of being crowned champion. And not since that fateful year, when Mansell, Piquet and Prost went head-to-head, has a season so captured the world's attention and drawn so many new spectators to the sport - for reasons both on and off the track.

It wasn't meant to be that way. When Fernando Alonso joined McLaren for 2007, the unspoken assumption was that the double world champion would steadily proceed to his third title in a row. He would have done exactly that, but for a development no-one could have foreseen. Carl Lewis Hamilton, a relative unknown and just twenty-two-years old, would climb into the other McLaren-Mercedes and captivate the world withconsistently brilliantperformances. Even as it welcomed this new prodigy, however, the world of Formula One was rocked by accusations of spying between McLaren and their bitter rivals Ferrari; accusations that resulted in millions of pounds in fines and an ill feeling between the teams, their drivers and the governing body that now threatens the future of the sport.

Revisiting the 1986 season to contrast it with the world of F1 today, and applying his extensive experience as an award-winning motor-sport journalist for over 30 years, Maurice Hamilton provides a review of a season that will be remembered as one of the most important and unique in the sport's history. Analysing the individual races in expert detail as well as looking at the drivers themselves, CHEQUERED CONFLICT in its look at how radically the sport has changed in those twenty years, will become a classic of its
In the late eighties and early nineties, Formula One was at its most explosive, with thrilling races, charismatic drivers, nail-biting climaxes - and the most deadly rivalry ever witnessed in sport. Two of Formula One's most honoured champions and iconic figures drove together for McLaren for two seasons, and their acrimonious and hostile relationship extended even after one of them had left the team.

ALAIN PROST, France's only F1 world champion, the intelligent, smooth driver with the epithet 'Le Professeur'.

AYRTON SENNA, the mercurial kid from a privileged background in Sao Paolo who would become the most intense and ruthless racing driver the world has ever seen.

It was a story that would have a tragic ending.

As the great rivals raced to victory, their relationship deteriorated badly, beginning with the breaking of a gentleman's agreement, and public spats followed, culminating in Prost accusing Senna of deliberately trying to ride him off the circuit, and fearful that the Brazilian would get someone killed with his daring overtaking feats. And the final, sad act of this drama happened at the San Marino Grand prix at Imola in May 1994, when Senna was killed.

Featuring a rare interview with Prost, and insight from Martin Brundle, Damon Hill, Sir Frank Williams, Bernie Ecclestone, Derek Warrick, Johnny Herbert, Gerhard Berger, plus McLaren insiders and other F1 figures, Malcolm Folley provides us with a breath-taking account of one of the all-time classic sporting rivalries.

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