Coulthard fed up with debate over his age

David Coulthard has no time to dwell on the past as he prepares for Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix

Coulthard fed up with debate over his age

The Scot made his Formula One debut at the Circuit de Catalunya in 1994, but the oldest driver on the starting grid says he is approaching the weekend with the same focus and determination as the youngest.

"I don't think about 1994 because it does not enhance my position today," the Red Bull driver told Reuters on Thursday.

"Lewis Hamilton does not think about 1994, he thinks about this weekend. So why should I be any different? I'm just a racer doing the same thing."

Compatriot Hamilton, the McLaren driver who has caused a sensation by becoming the first to finish his first three races on the podium, is 22.

Coulthard is 36 and fed up with those who highlight his age with the veiled suggestion that he is on the last lap of his career and possibly over the hill.

Sunday's race could indeed be his last at the Barcelona circuit, but he sees no reason why that should be the case.

"I don't know how many more years I have in Formula One; I feel as motivated to be here as I always have done," he said. "But I feel irritated to have to answer a question based on the fact that I was born in 1971.

"That's what it's about. It's about the age rather than the performance."

Coulthard has started more races (214) than any British driver in the history of Formula One. He has won 13 times and, even if his beard is now speckled with grey, he still has a passion for racing.

At the last race in Bahrain, he started 21st and overtook a string of cars - including teammate Mark Webber - to run in the points before being sidelined by a mechanical problem.

The statistics show that he has retired from his last five races and not scored a point since August, while Webber finished 13th and 10th in Australia and Malaysia respectively.

Webber has qualified in the top 10 in all three races, while Coulthard has not started higher than 13th.

But the picture is deceptive, and Coulthard is keen for the record to be put straight.

"I started 21st, he started eighth in Bahrain, and I do believe that I overtook him in the race in the same car," he said bluntly. "In Malaysia I was on a significantly longer strategy and was quicker than him.

"The facts are... my underlying race pace in each of the first three Grands Prix is quicker than Mark's. This is not me presenting to you something that cannot be proven, it is absolute fact.

"Based on that, where do you score your points? If you had to make a decision, what would you do? Would you choose the guy that appears to qualify the car or the guy that appears to drive it more quickly in the races?"

Coulthard's comments came after Red Bull's billionaire owner Dietrich Mateschitz touched a nerve by suggesting earlier in the week that the Renault-powered team could revert next year to a line-up mixing experience and youth.

"In 2008 the cars will be very equal in our opinion, so it might make sense to have one veteran and one young driver in both teams," the Austrian told Motorsport Aktuell.

With 30-year-old Webber in his first year at the team, Coulthard was seen perhaps inevitably as the one most likely to be leaving come October.

But that is not how he sees it.

"I have a multi-year contract with Red Bull," said the Scot. "That's as much as should ever be said on the subject... I think Dietrich was talking about his integrating younger drivers in the programme for 2009 or something like that.

"You should always go for the two fastest, most experienced drivers that you can get, that's the bottom line.

"If they happen to be 18 years old, you should have them signed up. If they happen to be 38, you should have them signed up."

The Briton was confident that this weekend could show significant improvement for Red Bull after he set the quickest lap, albeit on low fuel, in testing at Barcelona last week.

"We are making progress," he said. "Obviously we didn't envisage the reliability issues that we had at the first few Grands Prix, but nonetheless we have understood each of them and put fixes in place to make sure they don't happen again.

"The rate of development has been intense... for sure we have a quicker race car than when we started in Melbourne."

shares
comments
Valencia deal sparks political storm

Previous article

Valencia deal sparks political storm

Next article

Agathangelou leaves Red Bull Racing

Agathangelou leaves Red Bull Racing
Load comments
Hungarian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Hungarian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

This was race that showcased the best and worst of Formula 1, producing a first time winner and a memorable comeback to a podium finish. Avoiding trouble at the start and astute strategy calls were key to success, but where some drivers took full advantage, others made key errors that cost them dearly

Formula 1
Aug 2, 2021
The “heart-breaking” call that led to Ocon’s Hungarian GP triumph Plus

The “heart-breaking” call that led to Ocon’s Hungarian GP triumph

Set to restart the red-flagged Hungarian Grand Prix in second, Esteban Ocon had some doubts when he peeled into the pits to swap his intermediate tyres for slicks. But this "heart-breaking" call was vindicated in spectacular fashion as the Alpine driver staved off race-long pressure from Sebastian Vettel for a memorable maiden Formula 1 victory

Formula 1
Aug 2, 2021
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Plus

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021
Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track' Plus

Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track'

Mercedes ended Friday practice at the Hungaroring with a clear gap to Red Bull thanks to Valtteri Bottas’s pace in topping FP2. But there are other reasons why the Black Arrows squad feels satisfied with its progress so far at a track many Formula 1 observers reckon favours Red Bull overall

Formula 1
Jul 30, 2021
How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks Plus

How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks

OPINION: Red Bull was justified to be upset that Lewis Hamilton survived his British GP clash with Max Verstappen and went on to win. But its attempts to lobby the FIA to reconsider the severity of Hamilton's in-race penalty were always likely to backfire, and have only succeeded in creating a PR disaster that will distract from its on-track efforts

Formula 1
Jul 30, 2021
The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach Plus

The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach

OPINION: It wasn't just the Verstappen/Hamilton clash that had the Red Bull and Mercedes bosses at loggerheads at Silverstone, with the nature of Formula 1's 2025 engines also subject for disagreement. But hopes to have loud, emotive engines that are also environmentally friendly don't have to be opposed

Formula 1
Jul 29, 2021
The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break Plus

The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break

OPINION: Formula 1 is about to break up for summer 2021, with the title battles finely poised. But it’s not just the latest round of Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton that will be worth watching this weekend in Hungary, as plenty of drivers are eying big results to change the stories of their seasons so far

Formula 1
Jul 28, 2021
How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’ Plus

How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’

Cast in the mould of its founder Colin Chapman, Lotus was powerful and daring but 
flawed – as it proved through further soaring peaks and painful troughs into the 1980s. DAMIEN SMITH examines a game-changing era

Formula 1
Jul 27, 2021