Jenson Button still doesn’t feel like getting into the whys and wherefores of how he almost left BAR for Williams in the mid-2000s, so his new autobiography skips over it.
“I would go into the nitty-gritty but you’d switch off,” he says. The thing is, if you’ve shelled out 20 quid for “Life To The Limit”, that’s probably one of several details from his past you’re curious about.
Some evasiveness is perhaps to be expected when it comes to passages from his past which might not reflect him at his best. But it wasn’t the only time this book left me feeling short-changed.
Take Button’s account of the 2005 United States Grand Prix. BAR had already been banned from two races that year, so joining in the en masse withdrawal of 14 Michelin-shod cars from the 20-car field must’ve felt particularly galling for him?
“It would take far too long to go into the ins and outs of it,” surmises Button as he hurries to the end of another widely-spaced, five-page chapter. Yet just a few pages ago he had enough time to tell me which of the world’s hotel rooms is his favourite.
It’s not unusual for autobiographies to dwell on success and fast-forward through failure. But this version of the Button story is so heavily edited it does feel like the self-censorship has become self-serving.
The selected highlights of Button’s past which have made it onto the printed page are mostly told well with many candid observations and revealing tales. The text has a conversational tone which suits the style, though it rambles a bit in places.
It also has the feel of a project which suffered from the waning enthusiasm of its author. The opening chapters on his early forays into racing with his adored father are by far the most rewarding to read. His later seasons with McLaren get only passing mentions.
There’s enough in it to hold your interest, just. But ultimately the omissions from this book leave a bigger impression than its content.
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Life to the Limit: My autobiography
Author: Jenson Button
Publisher: Blink Publishing
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