Coulthard Confident of Challenging Ferrari

McLaren's David Coulthard is expecting to be able to challenge the dominant Ferrari team in the 2003 season despite starting the year with an updated version of the 2002 car.

Coulthard Confident of Challenging Ferrari

McLaren's David Coulthard is expecting to be able to challenge the dominant Ferrari team in the 2003 season despite starting the year with an updated version of the 2002 car.

The Woking-based outfit finished in third place in last season's Constructors' Championship behind Ferrari and Williams, with Coulthard scoring their only win of the year on his way to fifth place in the drivers' standings.

McLaren will use a revised version of the Mercedes-powered MP4-17 for the first three races of 2003, and despite some initial doubts Scot Coulthard believes the car will allow them to challenge World Champion Michael Schumacher and his Ferrari team.

"There is definitely a feeling in the team that we could challenge Ferrari next season," Coulthard said in an interview with the Sunday Mirror newspaper. "I was a bit nervous when I heard we wouldn't be racing the new car until the fourth race, but the situation now looks very encouraging.

"We've tried one or two new things on this car and we've seen the difference. I tend not to say too much about winter testing but I believe these times are significant. There is a distinct improvement to the package and the indications are that our new car will be another big step forward.

"I can't imagine Ferrari will be able to maintain their rate of improvement next year, so the Championship really could close up. If that is the case then I'll be in as good a position as anybody to take on Michael. I beat him at Monaco last season, on a circuit where he was said to be virtually unstoppable, and I've beaten him on other occasions as well."

Coulthard, however, admitted that McLaren's primary target will be to surpass their Williams rivals as Ferrari's main challengers.

"Our first goal is to take over from Williams as the most likely threat to Ferrari," he added. "We managed to get in front of Williams at the last couple of races and now we've had the chance to try some of the developments that have been in the pipeline and they've proved very positive."

shares
comments
Giancarlo Fisichella Q&A

Previous article

Giancarlo Fisichella Q&A

Next article

Ask Nigel Roebuck: January 2

Ask Nigel Roebuck: January 2
Load comments
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Plus

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Plus

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1’s elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he’s recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton Plus

How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton

OPINION: The Italian GP clash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen followed a running theme in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight. Their close-quarters battles have often resulted in contact - and although Hamilton has shown a willingness to back off, Verstappen must learn to temper his aggression

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Two drivers produced maximum-score performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left several others ruing what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash Plus

Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash

The clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was the major flashpoint the 2021 Italian Grand Prix will be remembered for. Yet by this point, race leader Daniel Ricciardo had already done the hard work that would put him in position to end his and McLaren's lengthy win droughts, on a memorable afternoon in Monza

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021