Winning formula

A new Grand Prix season, and a new team for Scottish racing driver David Coulthard. He tells Philip Dorward about life in the fast lane.

()n the face of it. life as racing driver David Coulthard really can‘t be that tough. can it'.’ Fora living. he gets paid millions of pounds to drive cars very fast. He‘s only 2-1. he‘s handsome and his I girlfriend is a model. To top it all off. he lives in t ' ' I

Monaco and his biggest dilemma seems to be that the Dam. Pou'ma'd' What momates me is to see how go“ I can be English papers doii‘t arrive in his local I(l/)(l(' until I season. As his early season performances had been fem! WM; [he jam-j- 01‘ (how hm jcucnde cum-es the Hunt. However. let‘s just east our minds back to why less than inspiring. Williams signed Jacques . hng1 (minim- ttm-lit or [Sm-mutt | j.» fir-[CC [mm Coulthard is in the pump,” hc'S in today \'illeneuve. soti of H legend (iilles. alongside ow ner. Alon! “h mg m” pull hckic encqu 0” l MW '995- “‘0 illumm'm" “W'ld 0f FOI'llllllil 1 Damon Hill for the WW) season. .-\t the end of tilt Racin" already has 'tll engine sponsor for next season racing came to a standstill when one of its most ,Vear. head of the team Frank Williams agreed that his and ill] mm. ml“, 3 .m “gun”. .le 0mm. d” ‘- bi'illiant sons. Brazilian Ayiton Senna. died in a 2()() decision tiiiglii have been a bit hasty go eh I \\'j|| om- .ti‘ them he David (’oulthard" H z " ' ' .‘1 TV; " o. (‘oultliard‘s excellent form in the second halfol'the . ' inph eiash on the lmol i eneuit in S in liiin g | l titllsl admit that when I heard that the team was Evenly—eight da)’s later in Barcelona. David “L‘Nm‘ , . I i coming together. I thought that it would be fantastic Coulthard who had been a test driver for Senna‘s Will” “'95 \\ '“lilm-‘i l9“ “‘9‘ MCI-(“39* Sm” Th“ 3 to drive for \\ ll'll is essentially 'lll 'lll \‘cottish l". . ..‘ . s L'lo‘vt‘a ol ‘irhll‘; 'i' 9'. ~ ' \Villianis team had to step into the void that the B ‘. IL “ll “lit lit? \ it'lhl skill: ‘(lh‘ WM. Us” | [mm m. thuwg .l mm [mm u.” “C”. having .- ., .. . - . , . . ' . .. eean e a iouse iot name tan is o re six v ' (lll\Ll s death so untimer eieated. ()ne might have ; iaced w llll them a lew years ago, and I know that the

expected. after witnessing Senna‘s death. the last ; '

thing anyone would want to do is drive. Not a hit of ‘If I die, I won’t be the person who

way they go about their business is superb. .t. !

Obviously I‘d be interested to be part ofthat. What

.I .l i.‘ I . b‘ I I} _ , H r. U is worrying about it, because the . 59‘” WIN" 1 "s’ g _ l tie. won t e tie person w to is“ 011)”!c be out , j for that matter. on the lace ol it. what Scot wouldn‘t about it. because the lights will he out. says ' “mm H, ix. m I)”. M (‘Uuhhurd's plqu

Coulthard somewhat dryly. ‘No. death doesn‘t really bother me for the simple reason that this is what I do and it‘s what I enjoy most in life. When you wake up. you don‘t expect to get knocked down. it‘s a possibility. as it is that I may be killed in my car. but you can‘t go in fear of death or you‘ll never try your best.‘

By the beginning of the 1995 season. after only eight races the year before. Coulthard felt that he knew what he had to do in the season ahead. He set himself the target of finishing third in the drivers‘ championship and to win a race. As good as his word. he did just that and pushed his English team- mate l)amon Hill all the way for the runners-up spot in the championship behind the eventual winner. German Michael Schumacher. While he was happy with how the season went generally. be felt that a bout of tonsillitis and some basic errors let him down over the season.

‘Obviously I could have done a lot better. because I did make mistakes like spinning off the track. but that was just down to experience.‘ argues the man from Twynholni in Dumfriesshire forcefully. ‘()nce I got my tonsils removed I felt much better for the second half of the season. Now that I know what it feels like to win. what motivates me is to see how

The (imm/ l’rli wow/i Inger/is m .lli’llmurm’.

championship wins of Ayrton Senna and Alain l’rost. : film/tuba. rm Sun I!) Mm:

However. time waits for no team in l~‘oi'iiitil;i l. .\lcl-aren is without a (irand this victory in two years. and last year scored its least number of points for a decade. It has been rumoured that their main sponsor. Marlboro. and their engine makers. Mercedes Benz. will pull out of the team if foiitines don‘t improve this season. Needless to say. (‘oultliard might be under pressure to produce the goods.

last year we didn't have a winning car. but this )‘ear I think that we do.‘ he counters. ‘.»\s for people writing us off. they should know better. There are simple things like understanding that I995 was our lirst year with Mercedes. People have to realise that it‘s not just a question of popping an engine into a chassis and away you go; every engine is different and it is affected by the design of the car. The team is ceiiainly capable. but we‘ll just have to see how it goes.

()ne thng that is certain to follow Coulthard to his new team is his distinctive helmet with its Scottish saltire design. He is equally proud to be associated with the latest batch of great Scottish drivers. Already Scotland is home to the World Rally

Champion Colin McRae and British Touring (‘at‘ l » good I can be. Sure I want to win again this year. but Champion jOhn Clcnimd‘ as WC” m “an”; new 7 V 4 l I don't want [9 5113’ “W 1'“ {ml-"1 in lhc lop “"99 drivers like Alan McNish and Dario l’ranchiti. 'l‘hev ' ' - ' .. I y ' again um“ 1 C11” “CC What lhc C1" C11” (10-. are all following swiftly in the ti'eadmarks of i i w n. A sadly for COUllhilrd~ he had ‘0 end hi5 {Uller Scotland‘s two greatest drivers. Jim (‘lark and Jackie Winning sneak: comma” as part 0' the Connections with Williams midway through the I995 gtcmm. 1995 wm'ams mam