Watching the wheels By Damon Hill
Published by Macmillan RRP: $32.99 358 pages soft cover ISBN: 978-1-5098-3191-3 Available from www.pitstop.net.au
When 1996 World Formula One champion Damon Hill was recently asked to name his dream car he replied, “I don’t dream of cars, I prefer motorcycles.” Now there’s a man after my own heart. Growing up in the shadow of his famous father Graham – twice World F1 champion - who perished in an air crash in November 1975, was not easy. Damon says, “Clearly I inherited a lot from my father, but, just as clearly, I am not him.” Damon was just 15 at the time of his father’s death, and his chosen passage into motor sport was initially via motorcycles, where he showed considerable talent in the ferociously hard-fought LC Yamaha series before inevitably graduating to four wheels. To get there, he worked several jobs, including as a motorcycle courier and builders labourer, and borrowed a considerable amount of money. It was a long hard slog in lesser formulae before he landed a testing contract with Williams, and for 1993 was drafted into the team proper alongside Alain Prost. After the death of team mate Ayrton Senna in 1994, Hill inherited the position of team leader and could have won the championship had he not been rammed by Michael Schumacher in Adelaide. Two years later, he put that right, becoming the first son of a previous F1 champion to take the title. Like the man himself, this book is deep and somewhat restrained, but Hill is a very fine and eloquent writer, which comes through loud and clear in this compelling read.