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Coulthard Q&A

David Couthard
By David Coulthard
BBC Sport at the Nurburgring

This week I will devote my column to answering the questions you sent in to me. There was a huge response - so thank you for that. Here's the pick of the best questions we received.

Q: Has Jenson Button always been this good?
Max, Nottingham

A: "No, I think he's got better with age. I think he's matured into his driving skills and physically he's at the top of his game as well. He has taken his natural talent and made it better."

Jenson Button ahead of German Grand Prix practice
Jenson Button has won six out of eight races so far in 2009

Q: Do you ever wish that you had stayed with Red Bull for one more season after seeing how well the team are doing this year?
Freddie, Surrey

A: "It would be easy for people to imagine that and I was misquoted recently saying I'd stopped a year too early. I never said that. What I said was I'm happy with the opportunities I had in F1.

"I think I stopped at the right time because Red Bull clearly have a great young talent in Sebastian Vettel. With him and Mark Webber, they have the strongest pairing in F1.

"You have to recognise when your time has come, and my time had come.

"I had 15 years. You can't keep saying, 'Oh, one more year, one more year.' You can't pick and choose. Part of F1 is taking the good with the bad, and a big part of it is being in the right car at the right time, as we're seeing with Lewis Hamilton in his career and now with Jenson."

Q: Have you any aspirations to race in another series or move into team management?
Paul, Cambridge

A: "I've an open mind on the future. One thing that is very clear is that motorsport is something I have always derived pleasure from, first as a fan, then as a racer and now from the TV side of things.

"It remains to be seen whether I race something in the future, but I cannot imagine not having motorsport play a part in my life over the coming years."

Q: What's on your iPod?
Paul Riley, UK

A: "A bit of everything. I like all the current pop music. I like rock. I like heavy metal from my youth - AC/DC, Iron Maiden. A bit of classical when you want to listen to that sort of thing.

"There is dance music on there, but just in case I'm ever at a function and I've got some nutty friends who are really into it. But it's not real hardcore trance, or whatever they call it.

"Who's my favourite artist? It's very difficult. It's a bit like relationships - you come and go. I can say a few. I like Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Oasis, Take That, Queen. Blur were amazing at Glastonbury - they really went at it. Brilliant."

Q: What stands out during the race weekends now you are working for the BBC that you didn't notice when you were a driver?
Stephen, Slough

A: "How much hanging around there is."

Q: What are your thoughts on the rise of the new circuits at the expense of old circuits?
Michiel, Belgium

A: "Some of the new circuits are not as interesting to drive as some of the old tracks. The exception would be Istanbul, which is challenging and interesting. A lot of people rave about Singapore. I thought it was interesting to go there, but racing under floodlights doesn't actually change anything.

"It's a shame that some tracks have dropped off the calendar. Imola was a great track. Obviously there was a lot of tragedy there, with Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna being killed, but nonetheless it was a great track, with all its undulation."

I don't recall ever sneezing in a F1 car

David Coulthard

Q: There are millions of fans in Canada and the US who should have the chance to see F1 in North America. Do you think a race will return here?
Tony, Canada

A: "Yes, I think it's an unfortunate speed bump that we're not there right now. Montreal is a great venue for a Grand Prix. There are a lot of fans there. In the paddock, everyone likes to go there."

Q: Have you ever sneezed while driving a F1 car, and if so what happens?
Mike, Perth in Scotland

A: "I don't recall ever sneezing, for whatever reason. I've had things in my eye and things like that before, and you just try to blink it out.

"If you're in a race car and you get cramp, you can't stretch it out. So you learn to deal with pain in a racing car."

Q: How did if feel to take over Ayrton Senna's role of race driver in 1994?
Alan, England

A: "I think it would have been a lot more difficult to do had I been a bit older. It was shocking and tragic but being 23-and-a-bit, you're young, your focus is on the future.

"You realise the significance of it later. I could never replace him. He was the best driver at that time. I could only give 100% and do the best I could."

Q: How good did it feel to give Michael Schumacher the one-finger salute at at Magny-Cours in 2000? And what happened in your spat at Spa in 1998 when he ran into the back of you in the rain?
Dave, UK

A: "Well, Spa was an unfortunate circumstance, in which he wrongly assumed I'd tried to take him off. I was annoyed that he'd squeezed me at the start and I'd had to fight back and pass Rubens Barrichello in the other Ferrari and eventually come through and pass Michael.

"He tried to squeeze me to start with. I was really annoyed that he wasn't quite as… I don't want to say sporting, but I can't think of another word. His sense of fair play and mine were different. But of course it felt fantastic."

Q: If you walked into a bar full of every driver you have competed against since your debut in 1994 who would you offer to buy a drink for and why?
Brian, Aberdeenshire

A: "Martin Brundle, because we have a friendship and business relationship. And Mika Hakkinen because he was the longest team-mate I had in F1."

David Coulthard and Martin Brundle mix with The Cheeky Girls
David Coulthard and Martin Brundle have been good friends for years

Q: If you could go back in time, which era would you most like to race in?
Phil, UK

A: "From a car point of view, the 1950s were probably quite interesting, because there were lots of big powerful engines and not a great deal of aerodynamic load, if anything.

But I think the 1970s and '80s is probably the one I'd pick. The drivers were paid professionally, living a nice on-track and off-track lifestyle, and there was a lot of design innovation at that time."

Q: Will Brawn be able to continue their form next year without the advantages of Honda's money and resources?
Hannah, Woking

A: "Very good question - and one I can't answer. We've seen how quickly form has changed from one season to the next from 2008 to 2009, so how could you possibly predict who's going to be hot in 2010?"

Q: Do you think Red Bull have a realistic chance of catching Brawn at this stage in the season?
James, Dronfield

A: "They do. It's an outside chance, but I think it's a realistic one. They appear, based on Silverstone, to have a higher level of car performance, and if they can continue that here and beyond, they will chip away at the points gap."

Q: Is there a way to switch off the politics and find the sport again before it loses lots of fans?
Jeremy, Northampton

A: "Well, politics only happens between races. There is no political debate during a race, so anybody who doesn't want to follow that, then only tune in for qualifying and the race and you won't get involved in any of the politics.

"Is the political side of the sport a pain? Yes. There is a lot of positioning going on right now. It will get resolved but inevitably these things usually get sorted out at the moment just before it was too late to resolve them, so that's why it's still ongoing."

Q: Why do you always wear your sunglasses on your head? You even wore them in Malaysia when it was chucking it down.
Mark, Aylesbury

A: "Because it's not appropriate to wear them on your face when you're on the telly, and I haven't found anywhere else more convenient to put them."


David Coulthard won 13 Grands Prix in a 15-year F1 career. He is a BBC Sport pundit and a consultant for Red Bull. He was talking to BBC Sport's Sarah Holt.



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see also
David Coulthard column
20 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
David Coulthard column
23 May 09 |  Formula 1


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