Coulthard Still an Option for Red Bull

The Red Bull Formula One team have reassured Briton David Coulthard that he can still hope to race for them next season

Coulthard Still an Option for Red Bull

Team boss Christian Horner dismissed as 'totally inaccurate' media reports suggesting that owner Dietrich Mateschitz had decided already on Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi and Austrian Christian Klien for 2006.

"David's doing a great job for the team, it's far too early to even contemplate next year and we won't until the latter part of the summer but the team's very happy with David," he told Reuters at the San Marino Grand Prix.

"He's an integral part of the team...and he's part of the success that we've had so far."

Coulthard, with Renault's Spanish Championship leader Fernando Alonso, has scored points in all three races this season. There are 15 left after Sunday's Grand Prix at Imola.

The 34-year-old Scot, with 13 wins and more points than any other British driver in the history of the sport, is enjoying a new lease of life since he left McLaren at the end of 2004 and joined newcomers Red Bull on a one-year deal.

"The situation with David is that he's one of the top drivers in Formula One, we're fortunate to have him and he's a great benchmark for the other two," said Horner.

"They've learnt immeasurably from him and we've got a great balance in the team of youth and experience and we're very comfortable with that.

"We had dinner with David on Monday and Mr Mateschitz reaffirmed how content he was with David then...he's the stability in terms of development and continuity. He has nothing to prove."

Driver Swap

While Coulthard is the team leader this season, Liuzzi and Klien have traded places with the Austrian handing over to the Italian after the first three races. Liuzzi will make his Formula One race debut at his home circuit, on Sunday.

"It could well happen two or three times in the year," said Horner of a swap arranged before the season started. "Both are talented young drivers and we have agreements that stated they will both race this year.

"It's the only way for us to truly evaluate a driver under the pressure of racing, which is what its all about.

"We'll make a decision at the end of the next three races and see where we are but there's nothing set in stone beyond the next three," he added. "There are no preconceived ideas. We'll do three races with Tonio and everyone will have a comparison."

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Series Formula 1
Drivers David Coulthard
Teams Red Bull Racing
Author Alan Baldwin
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