Life At The Limit by Professor Sid Watkins

This book has been on my ‘to read’ list for as long as I can remember. I borrowed if off @SRT40 ages ago and it’s been sat, waiting for me to pick it up. I am so glad that I finally got around to doing so!

The book was written in 1995 so although a little dated, it includes lots of anecdotes and stories from Professor Sid Watkins’ experiences as the F1 medical expert. No matter when you started to follow F1, I think this book is a great read as all the names and some of the incidents are familar, even to me who only started to watch in 1996. Also some things never change and the sentiments that the Professor shares with the reader are quite poignant after the recent deaths of Dan Wheldon and Marco Simonchelli.

The very first chapter starts with the tragic weekend in May in 1994. It is clear throughout the book that Watkins’ held Senna very dear and frequently links to the accident so it was a good idea to tell the story of that weekend from the beginning. I haven’t seen the recent film about Senna yet, and have only seen a small amount of footage from that weekend as I can’t really bear to watch it, so I found the account interesting with some details that I didn’t realise.

From then on the book covers the story of F1 from Watkins’ point of view from the 70s until the 90s. He gives his account of the incidents he has attended over the years, and describes how circuits and their medical facilities have improved. It really is quite shocking when you compare the facilities to what we currently have in motor racing, and the vast changes are a testament to the hard work put in by the people in this book.

I love the sections about all the different drivers, Professor Watkins gives his honest opinon, along with amusing stories. I would love to read an updated version to find out exactly what he thinks of the drivers I know and love!

Overall I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in F1 as its very interesting, easy to read and you gain an invaluable insight behind the scenes of an aspect to the sport that wouldn’t normally be revealed.


6 thoughts on “Life At The Limit by Professor Sid Watkins

  1. Great post I am going to order the book always thought the proff was a great man i was lucky to see him recently at the Senna premier in London were he spoke to audience once the film finished very softly spoken man but every one their was on the edge of the seat listening to what he had to say.

  2. You’ll be pleased to know there is an updated version – “Beyond the Limit” has the Prof’s anecdotes from the point where “Life at the Limit” finishes until 2001, and is also very good.

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