Aug 04, 2023
David Coulthard has opened up on why he believes he never quite managed to sustain a championship challenge during the peak of his racing career. Coulthard spent most of his career racing in
David Coulthard has opened up on why he believes he never quite managed to sustain a championship challenge during the peak of his racing career.
Coulthard spent most of his career racing in front-running F1 machinery, debuting with Williams in the mid-1990s in their Adrian Newey-designed cars, before switching to McLaren just before Newey jumped ship to create more title-winning cars.
But it was never Coulthard who succeeded at the wheel of one of Newey’s machines, with the plaudits instead going to teammates Damon Hill and Mika Hakkinen – and the Scot has a feeling he knows why.
Coulthard joined Eddie Jordan on their Formula For Success podcast, where the pair reminisced about their time together as contemporaries during the 1990s – Coulthard as a racing driver, Jordan as a boss of his eponymous team – in which Jordan revealed he had never sought out Coulthard’s services as a driver due to his off-track antics.
“I’m not fond of you, I don’t even like you!” Jordan joked to Coulthard.
“That’s why I never had you in the car. Because I thought you were up yourself. I thought you were a ‘jack-the-lad’.
“You had all these wonderful, gorgeous girlfriends and I’m saying ‘I don’t want him in the car!'”
Coulthard wasn’t one not to get a barb in in return, as he was asked about his fondest memory of Jordan, replying: “My fondest memory of Eddie is yet to happen!”
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David Coulthard pinpoints weakness that left him vulnerable
With the conversation turning serious, Jordan asked Coulthard why he suspected he had never been able to mount a proper title challenge – DC being something a paddock joke at the time as he would always vow the following year would be “his year”.
The Scot said he had suspicions of where his weakness lay.
“There were a couple of things,” he said.
“One, I was a late transitioner to left-foot braking. The writing was on the wall when Mika [Hakkinen] and I were teammates at McLaren that right foot braking compromised your ability at medium-speed corners.
“Obviously, if you’re right-foot braking, you have to remove the throttle completely to apply pressure and then go back. So that kind of held me back a little bit.
“Once I did learn and get comfortable with left-foot braking, I think my strongest year really was 2001, I was in the hunt for a World Championship with Michael and finished second.”
But Coulthard said witnessing the performances of the elite drivers made him realise that he wasn’t quite cut from the same cloth.
“Would it have been nice? Of course, it would,” he said.
“But do I think I deserve, based on my 15 years to be in the same category as what I consider the World Champions… there are headline guys, men and women who stand out because you go ‘Wow, how did they do that?’
“I didn’t have that wild ‘How did you do that?’ So, therefore, no, I’m entirely comfortable with the career I had. That’s what still draws me to Formula 1 today. When you see Lewis [Hamilton] and some of his races you go ‘That’s unbelievable’. When I see these standout performances, that is just remarkable and that’s what still draws me to the sport.”
Once Jordan had finished joking about Coulthard’s personality, the Irishman paid tribute to his friend by saying: “I considered, and still do, you to be a nice, relatively soft person.”
Jordan revealed a conversation he’d had with Coulthard’s former Williams teammate – 1996 World Champion Damon Hill – in which the English driver said he suspected Coulthard was a quicker driver than himself.
“I had a conversation with Damon Hill recently and I said ‘Tell me really, what was DC?'” Jordan told Coulthard.
“He said you were amazingly fast. He said you were really quick.
“And I said, ‘Really?’
“Damon said ‘When David was in front of me, I honestly never thought that I could catch up. But, five laps later, [David would] dump it in the wall!'”
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The article Why ‘Jack-the-lad’ David Coulthard never won an F1 title appeared first on Planetf1.com.David Coulthard has opened up on why he believes he never quite managed to sustain a championship challenge during the peak of his racing career.David Coulthard pinpoints weakness that left him vulnerableRead More: The ‘painful’ words from Nico Rosberg’s family in heat of Lewis Hamilton battle