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Last Updated: Monday, 16 June, 2003, 11:45 GMT 12:45 UK
Coulthard's hopes fade
CANADIAN GRAND PRIX
Coulthard has fallen 29 points behind Michael Schumacher
David Coulthard has virtually given up hope of winning this year's world title.

And he is ready to help McLaren team-mate Kimi Raikkonen challenge for the Formula One title, despite assurances from his bosses that it has not yet reached that stage.

Coulthard won the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in March but has since failed to finish on the podium since.

The Scot is now 29 points behind new championship leader Michael Schumacher and 26 adrift of his team-mate.

Ferrari driver Schumacher moved to the top of the table for the first time this season when he claimed his fourth win in five races, while Raikkonen finished sixth, in the Canadian Grand Prix.

And, although team orders are now banned by the sport's governing body, the FIA, Coulthard admitted that he will accept any request from his team for him to help Raikkonen once he himself is out of the title race.

You can turn your season around with one good race result
David Coulthard
"It's getting further away, but a lot could change," Coulthard said of his own title chances.

"There are still a lot of points left in the championship and you can turn your season around with one good race result.

"But you've always got to take a sensible pill on these things. If it's getting to the point where I'm not mathematically within a chance then that's the team's right.

"I would never swim against the tide on that, because it makes no sense.

"Yes I'm out there as an individual trying to do the best I can, but I'm supported by a team and I have to respect that."

But McLaren managing director Martin Whitmarsh said: "I think it is a bit too early at the moment.

"We have the ability in our drivers contract to impose team orders.

"We follow a policy where we go into a season to give the drivers the best opportunity to compete and to win races and to win the championship.

"The justifications for that are that it maintains drivers' motivation, maintains their focus and I think it balances the team.

"As soon as you start to call team orders then I think you jeopardise that.

"We are a few races away yet from making that decision. David could win the next race and Kimi not finish and the points become a lot closer."

Coulthard had to play the support role for Raikkonen's fellow Finn Mika Hakkinen during his successful title-winning campaigns in 1998 and 1999 and accepts that orders will be imposed again unless he can re-ignite his challenge.




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