Friday, 16 February 2018

Jenson Button: Life to the Limit: My Autobiography - Jenson Button

Jenson Button is one of the greatest racing drivers of his generation. His seventeen years in Formula 1 have seen him experience everything the sport has to offer, from nursing underpowered cars around the track to winning World Championships and everything in between.

Here, Jenson tells his full story for the first time in his own honest, intelligent and eloquent style. From growing up as part of a motor-racing-mad family under the guidance of his father, John, to arriving at Williams as a fresh-faced 20 year-old, to being written off by some as a playboy and his fight back to the very pinnacle of his sport. Jenson's World Championship victory for the unsponsored and unfancied Brawn GP team is one of the most extraordinary against-the-odds sports stories of the century.

Jenson's book lifts the lid on the gilded and often hidden world of Formula 1. He reveals his relationships with some of the biggest names in Formula 1- Lewis Hamilton, Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso as well some of the most colourful characters like Bernie Ecclestone, Ron Dennis, Frank Williams and serial winner Ross Brawn. Above all, he puts you right inside the cockpit, in the driving seat, travelling at over 200 miles per hour, battling the fear of death, showing you what happens when it goes wrong at high speed and allowing you to experience the euphoria of crossing the line first.

What did I think?

I've followed Formula 1 since 1997 so I'm fortunate to have seen the whole of Jenson Button's F1 career on my TV screen.  As a rookie F1 fan, I took a shining to Williams as Sir Frank is a sanddancer, like myself, and the first F1 t-shirt I ever bought had a fresh-faced young British guy on it (see picture below).  The guy was Jenson Button and I am proud to call myself a fan.

I was so excited to see that JB had written his autobiography and I would have cut my arm off for a signed copy but alas the great man didn't make his way to the chilly North East of England.  Thankfully, Amazon delivered on release day and I had my treasured (unsigned) book in my greedy hands.

What stood out straight away for me was Jenson's amazing sense of humour.  That smile we know so well is woven into each page of this book as we relive the highs and lows of his life so far.  I honestly didn't expect to laugh so much at what is in essence the same joke, namely the many mispronunciations of 'Jenson'.  Hopefully the world champion doesn't have this problem any more!

Key races are replayed through Jenson's eyes, including one of my favourites: Canada 2011.  The writing is so vivid that you can clearly see the race in your mind and I felt my heart racing as the chequered flag approached, even though I knew that JB had won!

The book is also interspersed with photographs of Jenson's life and career, including my favourite, the iconic image of Jenson's first ever Grand Prix win in Hungary 2006:

It's perfectly balanced with the highs and lows.  Wouldn't we all love to forget those awful Honda years?  Only somebody as naturally talented as Jenson Button could bounce back in such style and go on to win a world championship.  Although naturally talented, we know that money talks in F1 and I felt as if JB has had to fight for every race seat.  It saddens me to think that money trumps talent but I am delighted to see that sometimes hard work pays off and dreams can come true.

No review of this book would be complete without talking about Papa Smurf, John Button, who was as much a part of an F1 weekend as the drivers themselves.  His support and love for Jenson is immortalised in print and I finally understood JB's reasons for leaving the sport.

Life to the Limit is an entertaining, candid and emotional account of an outstanding racing career that no F1 fan should miss.   Thank you for sharing your life, memories and special moments with us, Jenson.  On to the next chapter...

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

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