Roll On 2004, Says Coulthard

David Coulthard believes he can win the Formula One world title with McLaren after being confirmed for a ninth successive season.

Roll On 2004, Says Coulthard

David Coulthard believes he can win the Formula One world title with McLaren after being confirmed for a ninth successive season.

"I think in many ways I have more optimism and excitement for the start of next year than I had this year," the 32-year-old Briton told reporters at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

"We knew we were starting with the 17 (2002 car) and it was always going to be that we were starting with an updated old car," he said. "You might just have to write that British World Championship headline that you have been saving up for years and years."

Coulthard was Championship runner-up to Ferrari's Michael Schumacher in 2001 and has been the top ranked British driver since 2000. The last British driver to win the World Championship was Damon Hill in 1996.

But this year has been his worst since he joined McLaren from Williams in 1996. He is seventh overall and 30 points adrift of leader Schumacher while teammate Kimi Raikkonen is third overall.

McLaren started the season with a development of last year's MP4-17 car and their new MP4-18 has yet to be raced and may never hit the track in anger.

"I really feel very positive about next season because the 18 is showing significant steps forward. By the time we race it it will be the 19 and I really think McLaren will take a big step forward next year."

Speculation

Coulthard denied he had been affected by speculation that he was in danger of losing his place, with Williams' Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya seen as McLaren's prime target.

"Every year is important but as you journey through a career I guess the importance grows in that it is not something I am going to be able to do for an eternity," said Coulthard contemplating his future.

"There is always a pressure to get the job done and whether you are at the beginning of your career on a one-year contract or whether you are on a multi-year contract in the middle of your career, it doesn't actually change a great deal.

"You have to perform and if there is a better option available then the chances are they will be in the car. If there isn't then it gives you an opportunity to build again. I still think what I bring to the team is recognised as a value, otherwise I wouldn't be in this situation."

Coulthard said his position had been clear for some time and he remained in the middle of a multi-year contract.

"Contracts can be extended, can be null and void depending on performance and that is the same for the drivers as it is for the teams," he added.

"Every year there are rumours...throughout my whole career at McLaren there has been speculation of Damon coming, Jacques (Villeneuve) coming, Eddie (Irvine) coming, everyone's coming.

"But at the end of the day I am here and I still believe in my potential," he said.

shares
comments
Schuey pleased to keep his rivals close

Previous article

Schuey pleased to keep his rivals close

Next article

Verstappen: It Could Have been Better

Verstappen: It Could Have been Better
Load comments
Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material Plus

Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull Plus

How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be another close contest

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen Plus

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen

The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021
Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed? Plus

Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed?

Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll is determined to make the group a billion-dollar business. MARK GALLAGHER analyses his latest play – bringing former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh into the fold

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021
Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner Plus

Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner

Stepping up to F1 in 1962, Jo Siffert shone with Rob Walker Racing Team and BRM before his career was abruptly ended in a fatal crash at Brands Hatch in 1971. On the 50th anniversary of his death, Autosport recalls the career of an F1 and sportscar ace gone before his time

Formula 1
Oct 21, 2021
What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat Plus

What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat

OPINION: Max Verstappen is back in the lead of the 2021 Formula 1 drivers’ championship, with the season’s final flyaway events set to get underway in the USA this weekend. But a defensive stance he’s recently adopted could have a lasting impact for the Red Bull driver when it comes to his chances of defeating Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 21, 2021
The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest Plus

The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest

Despite appearing to adjust to life as a Ferrari driver with relative ease, it was far from straightforward under the surface for Carlos Sainz Jr. But, having made breakthroughs in rather different routes at the Russian and Turkish races, he’s now targeting even greater feats for the rest of the Formula 1 season

Formula 1
Oct 20, 2021
The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Plus

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Autosport's technical consultant

Formula 1
Oct 18, 2021