A few days ago, I finished David Coulthard’s autobiography, It Is What It Is. I actually hate this phrase, and David Coulthard was never really one of my favorite drivers (sorry David, Michael Schumacher had my heart).
Now, I probably wouldn’t have ever picked up this book. In fact, I probably would have opted for a Senna/Prost book, except, last year on Saturday night’s FanFest at Austin, I got the opportunity to meet him (yes he’s RBR, I know), and he even flirted a bit. He *was* the premier Ladies’ Man of Formula 1 in his heyday, after all. He also squatted down a bit, so as not to tower over me in this picture, which I thought was both hysterical and considerate, since he’s actually quite tall.
After which, I decided to go out and buy his book. He was always the guy you wanted to be in the video games anyway. Granted, it took me 6 months to order it, and I only spent $5.99 on a used copy, but who is counting. I still purchased and own it. Of course, it took me another few weeks to open the cover and get through Ron Dennis’s foreward, but once I was a chapter or so in, I was hooked.
I will admit that while at first I was turned off by the narration style, by the second chapter I really started to enjoy it. Of course, there were a few eyerolling moments, like when he talks about what a privileged life he led, and how his family was able to support his racing because of their giant trucking company, but there are also really excellent moments when he speaks about how he kept everything clean (scrubbing toilets came up more than once), and how he really is just a simple Scottish boy.
The other thing I found interesting is that while it’s not a tell-all, it’s got some chapters and parts where there’s a deep dive into the politics and team orders of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. Things about Ron Dennis, and driving with Mika Häkkinen, and going up against Michael Schumacher, are really quite poignant and revealing. In fact, one of my favorite quotes:
There are other things that were quite interesting to read about – when he speaks about his wife Karen, and his eating disorder, and how much he likes Jenson Button (who doesn’t?), and how joining Red Bull was a gamble, but one that’s paid off quite well. Also, talking about technology, cars, politics…it was a view into F1 that I knew about, and could imagine based on my own foray into motorsports, but really had no idea of the intensity.
It’s a solid read, especially if you love Formula 1. For me, it humanized that driving great in the picture above, and when they become more real, it makes me think that my dreams of racing aren’t so far off.