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.
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.
In Beyond the Limit, Watkins also looks at some of the extraordinary Grands Prix the sport has seen in the last four years, including Schumacher's epic crash at Silverstone in 1999. He also looks back over his twenty or more years in the sport and discusses some of the great drivers he has known. Here, too, is a race-by-race account of the Millenium season offering a completely up-to-date picture of Formula One at the beginning of the 21st century.
'Makes fascinating reading' Planet F1
'Lively and entertaining...will make the reader laugh out loud' F1 Magazine
'[Sid Watkin's] anecdotes are littered with humour and show us that one of the most respected men in F1 is also one of the funniest' Motorsport News
It was a seemingly minor crash at Michigan International Speedway in June 2016 that ended the day early for Dale Earnhardt Jr. What he didn’t know was that it would also end his driving for the year. He’d dealt with concussions before, but concussions are like snowflakes—no two are the same. And recovery can be brutal—and lengthy.
As a third-generation driver in a family forever connected to the sport of stock-car racing, how could Dale Earnhardt Jr. sit on the sidelines and watch everyone else take their laps? It was one of the toughest seasons of his life—one that changed him forever.
In this gripping narrative from one of professional sports’ most beloved figures, Dale Jr. shares stories from his journey: how his career and his injury have transformed him, how he made the decision to retire at the end of the 2017 season after eighteen years behind the wheel, and what lies ahead for him in the next chapter of his life. There’s no second-guessing and no regrets from Driver #88. He simply wants to go out on his own terms and make the rest of his life off the racetrack count. Junior says, “I don’t want these last races to be just about me but rather the people who made my success possible: my fans, the folks who pack the grandstands rain or shine, my teammates and crew members through the years, industry colleagues, track volunteers, friends, family, sponsors. They’ve all played a role. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Formula One Grand Prix mechanic Steve Matchett takes the reader on a compelling journey through his life in the pit-lane, from his beginnings as a young apprentice, through his time at Ferrari and BMW to his later success with Benetton.
He gives eye-witness views of the great drivers, including Michael Schumacher, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna. He also talks of key Benetton personalities, and explains how the team was transformed into a strong, competitive organisation, winning three World Championships. His determination and frustration in trying - and eventually succeeding - to break into the high-pressure world of Formula One leaps off the page.
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.
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.