Coulthard Expects Ferrari to Dominate in 2003

Briton David Coulthard has already conceded the 2003 World Championship to German Michael Schumacher before even turning a wheel in his new McLaren-Mercedes machine.

Coulthard Expects Ferrari to Dominate in 2003

Briton David Coulthard has already conceded the 2003 World Championship to German Michael Schumacher before even turning a wheel in his new McLaren-Mercedes machine.

Coulthard, who was Schumacher's closest challenger two years ago, admitted his team must take at least "two steps forward" over the winter to catch World Champions Ferrari.

"I am not confident," Coulthard said of the 2003 season in an interview with German motor magazine Auto Bild. "We have tried so many different modifications that were supposed to bring us wins but which brought us nothing.

"We have been treading water and it takes much more of your strength because you have to constantly explain defeats instead of celebrating victories. A team is then much more strained and we drivers had to do many more PR appearances to explain the failures instead of concentrating on racing."

Coulthard, who this season finished in fifth place in a Championship dominated by Schumacher, suggested that the Mercedes-powered outfit's complacency has accentuated the gap between them and Ferrari.

"It is strange," said Coulthard. "When a team is winning nobody asks why - it's only when the team hits bad times that all the problems get put on the table."

McLaren slumped to third in the World Championship this season, losing out to Williams to claim the runners' up spot while Ferrari were in a different league.

The Italian outfit are expected to produce an even better car to defend their titles in 2003, and Coulthard believes Ferrari have the advantage to win a couple more Championships.

"I think that Ferrari's car can be the jumping board for them to win two or three further titles," he added. "There are too many potential World Champions in the driver camp but only two are genuine: Michael Schumacher and Ferrari."

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