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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 January, 2005, 17:17 GMT
Q&A: David Coulthard
Red Bull driver David Coulthard
Coulthard's experience should help boost the fortunes of Red Bull

Formula One driver David Coulthard took time out to answer your questions.

Coulthard recently signed a one-year deal to drive for Red Bull Racing - formerly Jaguar - after being released by McLaren.

The 33-year-old Scot is second only to Michael Schumacher among active drivers in terms of race victories, having won 13 races in 11 years in Formula One.

So how does Coulthard rate his new team's chances this season? Does he believe that Schumacher's domination has made F1 "dull and predictable"?

Thank you to those of that you sent in your questions. A selection of David's answers appear below.


David, you have been a great ambassador for F1. Do you see yourself staying in the sport, perhaps as a team manager of some sort, when your driving career ends?

Ted Cragg, Canada

It remains to be seen. Would I do something away from motor racing? Absolutely. I enjoy motorsport, the people and the pace at which it moves, but I do realise that there is another life out there away from sport. I was very happy before I got involved and would expect that without F1, I could still have a very happy life.

I have other business interests - hotels and the like - which show me that there is another another lifestyle and another business. Nice, fun and it involves teamwork - but not quite as fast moving as F1.

You have been one of the top drivers of the past decade competing for the World Championship in a competitive team. Moving to Red Bull (with due respect), you will generally be dropping closer to the back of the grid.

While I admire your motivation, I would like to know what keeps you motivated?

Larry, Kenya

What keeps me motivated is the fact that I enjoy motor racing. When I started in the sport and saw older drivers moving to lesser teams in terms of the budgets that they had, I questioned why. Surely they want to win?

Of course you do want to win but after a period of time if you derive pleasure from what you do, then not winning is not a reason not to do it. I derive a great deal of pleasure from driving the cars and I enjoy mentally working with a team of people.

Montoya recently criticised your time with McLaren, despite being the most successful "active" driver in F1 behind Michael Schumacher. How would you respond to his comments?

Daniel, England

It's fine - at the end of the day these guys are quick drivers, they're motivated, they're hungry... over a time we'll see what their records are like in F1.

Stats drive our business. Data is what drives the development of the car. Data is what establishes someones record and my record to date is that I'm the winner of 13 Grands Prix, the second highest point scorer on the grid as we speak and top six in the all-time record. I don't think it's a bad record and I'm very happy with it.

Montoya as a driver has clearly shown himself to be a potential future star - but don't talk about it, get on and do it.

What do you think of Michael Schumacher's dominance?

Akthar Hussain, UK

In modern day life, we like things fast moving. We like fast food, good conversation, instant entertainment. To have the same person winning the Premiership or F1 becomes predictable and you lose the element of surprise.

However rather than criticise Michael and Ferrari for being bad, in actual fact we should celebrate their success. We are witnessing the most amazing run of teamwork and success that the sport has ever seen and it has to be applauded.

The bottom line is that everyone else has to do a better job. If the public were able to see it from that point of view, then it I think it might be slightly different. It's the same for every sport. Mike Tyson dominated boxing and for a while everyone loved to see him win and then everyone loved to see him defeated.

Everyone has their time and it will come to an end - not because of motivation but because eventually someone will have a fresh approach and energy because they haven't been battling to stay at the top for so long. So let's wait and see.

David, what car do you drive, when not driving your F1 car?

Caz Phipps, England

I drive an old 1971 Mercedes - the same year that I was born - which is in beautiful condition. It's a pleasure to drive and I marvel at the designs back then, 30-odd years ago. I have a range of vehicles from Mercedes through to Smart cars.

I don't own many cars because I am fortunate enough to have been with Mercedes for nine years so have always had access to a range of cars which belong to them.

What is the main difference between Red Bull and McLaren?

Alastair Hunter, Bristol

The big difference, obviously, is that Red Bull is a much smaller facility with fewer people and a smaller budget. The budget McLaren has, has been in place for a number of years - the investment is there.

Red Bull bought the team from Ford who were never really committed fully enough to get the same level of success similar to Ferrari and people like that. But what makes the team is the people. It's not the building, how many windows you have in the design office and so on, it's the people. Are they hungry? Do they want to achieve success?

Who do you consider to be the best out of the new talents in F1?

John, India

Raikkonen, Jenson, Alonso - they are all up there. Then there is Ralf Schumacher and Montoya, but let's wait and see how these guys develop.

Everyone is trying to create the next Senna, the next Schumacher but the reality is that he will come to the sport. He can't be created.

Drivers come in young and full of potential and go out old and experienced. All the new talents get a lot of hype, but then you have to build on that and show that you can deliver year after year.

Will you extend your contract with Red Bull racing beyond 2005?

Bobby, Malaysia

Mr Mateschitz has a five-year plan to take the team forward... will I still be part of that in five years? It's unlikely as a driver, as that would make me 39 years old and I've always had a retirement figure in my head of 35. It's a nice, round ball-park figure.

That said, the reality is that Michael Schumacher is 36 and still enjoying it. He has achieved a fantastic level of success and now does it not for money or because he needs to prove anything to anyone, but because he enjoys it.

Time will tell tell whether this is a one-year contract. I wanted to sign for one year in the same way that I didn't want to sign the contract prior to doing the tests for the team. I wanted to drive the car and find out whether I liked the people and saw an opportunity to work with them.

Is your dream of becoming F1 world champion still achievable?

Alam Murdoch, Scotland

The argument of course is that I will never win a world championship. However, the essentials are when you ask are you committed? Yes. Are you quick enough? Yes. Are you hungry? Yes. I tick the boxes for all those things.

If you hadn't made it as racing driver, what do you think you would have been doing now?

Melanie Ling, England

I went to college to do a Business Computer course because I thought I was going to work in the family transport business. I was never interested in being a driver of a truck but I thought I could do what my father does; entertain the customers, do the contracts and run the business.

However, I got into racing and never needed to do that. My father was passionate about motorsport but lost the opportunity to pursue it because his father died when he was 14 years old. My father funded me to get started and clearly had a vision that I was good enough to make it to F1. I remember being 14 and watching the F1 highlights on BBC2 with him...

The answer is that if I hadn't been in F1, I would have been in the transport business and I'd have been perfectly happy because I was perfectly happy before. My family have a happy life - touch wood - and my brother works in the family business and is married and perfectly happy.

So my life just took a slightly different route, not because I was fanatical that I wanted to be a racer but because it was possible. I kept achieving success and moved onto the next level.

Did the recent dismissal of Tony Purnell and David Pitchforth from Red Bull Racing come as a shock to you?

David, Kent

The writing was on the wall that both Tony Purnell and David Pitchforth were not going to be at Red Bull in the long term, during my negotiations.

What chances do you and Red Bull Racing have of realistically challenging the big guns such as Ferrari and your old team, McLaren?

Daniel, England

In terms of actual goals and points, last year Jaguar scored 10 points, which in terms of what Ferrari can do is not even scratching the surface. Essentially Red Bull is still the Jaguar team. That's what finished the season and what started it.

The engineers and designers are all part of the same group of people so there is no reason to expect it to be significantly diffferent in terms of pace and results than before. Nothing has significantly changed.

There are six teams that should be in front of us owing to budget and horse power and the goal has to be to get in among them.

What does that mean? I don't know because we don't know til we get out there. What we saw last year with Jaguar was that occasionally they qualified at the front of the grid and occasionally fifth or sixth... so maybe that is what we can expect this year.





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