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  Saturday, 31 August, 2002, 09:22 GMT 10:22 UK
Coulthard 'will never be champion'
Kimi Raikkonen is in his first season for McLaren
Raikkonen has been impressive this season
David Coulthard has lost all hope of ever achieving his dream of becoming Formula One world champion, according to Eddie Irvine.

In the latest of a series of broadsides at the Scot, Irvine says that Coulthard has been supplanted in McLaren's pecking order by his new team-mate, Kimi Raikkonen.

Coulthard expected this season to assume a de facto number one role at McLaren following the departure of Mika Hakkinen.

But Irvine said in his column in The Sun newspaper: "David Coulthard can forget any dreams he may have of winning the world crown.


Kimi has asserted himself as the McLaren number one
Eddie Irvine

"He should even dismiss the notion that he is now McLaren's team leader, for David's career has been killed by team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.

"It's ironic that David started the season believing he would finally be McLaren's big hope following the retirement of double world beater Mika Hakkinen - only to find himself blown away by the younger Finn.

"While David may like to think he is now the team's top dog, I feel Kimi is the one that boss Ron Dennis is looking to.

"Kimi has something David lacks - star quality.

"Kimi has asserted himself as the team number one, although he's probably not as good technically as David yet.

"But he's only 22 and will quickly learn that side of things.


This car is particularly nervous at the rear end and that doesn't extract the best from my driving style
David Coulthard

"It was generally assumed that once Mika left, David would be the shining light but Kimi has really put him in the shade.

"The trouble is David lacks the natural ability which sets some drivers apart.

"I always thought that while Mika was a great driver, he was too inconsistent. If everything wasn't spot on, he didn't go flat out.

"But Kimi appears to give 100% every time he steps into the cockpit.

"The other thing which which should concern David is the fact Dennis is right behind the Finn."

Coulthard has been more evenly matched on pace with his team-mate this season than was normally the case when Hakkinen was in the team.

Eddie Irvine has often been critical of David Coulthard
Irvine does not have a drive for 2003 yet
But Raikkonen has still outqualified him nine-five so far this season - including an impressive performance at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Coulthard has yet to respond to Irvine's comments, but he blames any problem he may be having this season on the handling characteristics of the 2002 McLaren.

"There is no secret to the fact that this car is particularly nervous at the rear end and that doesn't extract the best from my driving style," the Scot said.

"When we get that sorted out, I will be in a strong position."

Coulthard is likely to point out when he responds to Irvine's criticism that the Northern Irishman does not even have a drive lined up for next season yet.

And in the past he has also criticised Irvine for throwing away his chance of winning the world title in 1999 by not being committed enough.

"It wouldn't have taken much more effort from Eddie in a car that finished 14 races to be world champion in 1999," Coulthard has said.

In-depth guide to the 2002 Formula One season

On-track action

News

Jonathan Legard

Race statistics

F1 2002
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