DRIVING AMBITION by Alan & Keith Botsford Jones

DRIVING AMBITION

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KIRKUS REVIEW

1980 Formula One Champ Alan Jones and writer Keith Botsford each take a revealing look at Jones and the Grand Prix scene. Through five chapters (and a championship diary section) the Australian racer tracks his rise to glory while, in italics, Botsford explains technical terms, fleshes out information, analyzes A.J.'s feelings, and interjects his opinions. (One problem: the writer often seems to be verifying events.) The picture of Jones is frank and unflattering. An avowed egotist, A.J. races because he wants to be respected and ""to be on top."" He knows the sport is ""commerce and blood""; has no ""huge respect for women,"" spurns the press, ""can do without the public,"" and cares only about other racing folk. He admits to being mercenary and, out of necessity, callous about death; money, Botsford notes, is ""compensation for the risks."" Dangers are of course ubiquitous. When a shunt (accident) comes, ""everything is happening so quickly that a driver doesn't really have much time to even think . . . perhaps you don't want to think."" (Like most drivers, A.J. believes death will never happen to him.) As for the Formula One scene, sponsors should be catered to, a driver's team appreciated, and temptations avoided. Relaxation, strength (neck muscles to combat G-forces), and consistency are keys to success. Most racers, the authors find, are not introspective and have provincial tastes, but acquire the sophistication to deal with people from different backgrounds, especially the rich. By nature, Jones may not be introspective either, but his answers to Botsford's probing questions are surprisingly candid and full. Rewarding for fans or the passing curious.

Pub Date: Sept. 29th, 1982
Publisher: Atheneum