|Born||March 27, 1971, Dumfries, Dumfriesshire|
|Team(s)||Williams, McLaren, Red Bull|
|Races||247 (246 starts)|
|First race||1994 Spanish Grand Prix|
|First win||1995 Portuguese Grand Prix|
|Last win||2003 Australian Grand Prix|
|Last race||2008 Brazilian Grand Prix|
|Last position||16th (8 pts)|
David Marshall Coulthard, often called DC, (born 27 March 1971 in Dumfries and raised nearby in Twynholm, both in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland) is a British former Formula One racing driver from Scotland. By virtue of a long career he has amassed a notable points haul, and lies seventh on the all-time scorers list, being the top British scorer. He has won thirteen grands prix, including two at Monaco.
Coulthard graduates to Formula Ford in 1989. He won the first ever McLaren/Autosport Young Driver of the Year award. In 1990, he suffered a broken leg at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, but came back the following year to win Formula Three races at Zandvoort, Netherlands and Macau, China. In 1992, he raced in the Formula 3000 series, finishing ninth, and in 1993 he improved to third overall.
In 1993, Coulthard became test driver for the world champion Formula One team Williams-Renault and played an important role in advancing the car's technology. For 1994 he stayed with Williams as tester, but following Ayrton Senna's death at Imola, he was promoted to the race team alongside Damon Hill for the Spanish Grand Prix. He spent much of the season driving the second car, but had to step aside for ex-champion Nigel Mansell on four occasions. Renault were keen to have a big name in the second Williams, and Mansell, at that time reigning Indycar champion, fitted the bill. Coulthard showed flashes of speed, but errors and bad luck saw him take just one podium, a second-place finish at Estoril. For the last three races he had to sit back and watch Mansell take his place, but it was he, and not Mansell, who would race for Williams full-time in 1995.
Entering the 1995 season, Coulthard was forced by the FOCA Contract Recognition Board to fulfill his contract with Williams despite having an option to race for McLaren that season.
The 1995 season saw Coulthard win the 1995 Portuguese Grand Prix. There were other races where he could have won, but poor luck and mistakes once more cost him. He did score five pole positions, four of them consecutively. However, some unforced errors tarnished his season: at Monza he spun off on the formation lap, whilst in Adelaide he crashed coming into the pits.
When Williams firmed up their driver lineup for 1996 in July 1995, Coulthard was not picked up, freeing him to go elsewhere.
In 1996, Coulthard contracted with McLaren to drive alongside future champion Mika Häkkinen. His first season with McLaren was unremarkable, as the Mercedes-powered team struggled to find speed. He led at Imola and lost out to an inspired Olivier Panis at Monaco.
In 1997, in his second year with McLaren, he finished the drivers championship tied with Jean Alesi for third place (after the disqualification of Michael Schumacher). He had taken two wins and could have added more, but for problems. At Montreal he was leading, but was brought into the pits for a precautionary stop. Coulthard stalled his engine twice whilst trying to exit the pits, losing his lead in the process. What made this even more frustrating for Coulthard was that the race was stopped just a few minutes later due to Olivier Panis' crash. If Coulthard had not pitted, he would have won the race. At Jerez, Coulthard was running in 2nd place towards the end of the race and was catching race leader Jacques Villeneuve after his earlier collision with Michael Schumacher. Due to team orders, Coulthard was forced by McLaren to allow his teammate, who was running close behind him, into 2nd place. On the final lap of the race, Villeneuve let both McLarens by and Coulthard thus felt he maybe should have won the race.
In 1998, the McLaren was consistently the fastest car on track, but it was Häkkinen who made the most of it, winning the title. Coulthard took just one win and spent most of the year in a supporting role.
In 1999, a combination of under-performance and bad luck saw him finish the season in fourth place, and McLaren lost the constructors' title to Ferrari. Häkkinen became champion, whilst Coulthard won twice. In 2000, he was involved in a tight battle for the drivers championship with Schumacher and Häkkinen, but eventually fell out of contention into a disappointing third place finish. In 2001 he finished the year in second place, but with barely half the points (65) tallied by runaway winner Schumacher (123).
Coulthard's subsequent years at McLaren, from 2002 through 2004, were disappointing as well, as he was regularly out-paced by younger teammate Kimi Räikkönen. Many of Coulthard's critics argue that his decline began in 2003, when the FIA introduced the single-lap qualifying format. Since his Formula Three days, Coulthard had the reputation of being a poor qualifier. He openly admitted that he did not like the format and was a vocal opponent of it. With the announcement that Juan Pablo Montoya was to join McLaren in 2005 alongside Räikkönen, 2004 was to be Coulthard's last year with the team. A poor tenth place finish in the final 2004 standings (24 points, equal with the injured Ralf Schumacher) had not helped Coulthard's cause for 2005 either.
2005-2008: Red Bull
Red Bull Racing were attracted by Coulthard's experience and signed him for the 2005 Formula One season. He was teamed with the inexperienced Christian Klien and Vitantonio Liuzzi. Coulthard's contract at Red Bull Racing was also extended prior to the 2005 British Grand Prix, prolonging his Formula One career to at least the end of 2006. Coulthard's stint at Red Bull was a renewal for the Scottish driver, who scored points in many races and became one of the more outspoken and media savvy drivers.
For 2006, Coulthard continued at Red Bull, partnered again with Christian Klien. The team were powered by Ferrari engines, with a contract for Renault engines agreed for 2007 during the 2006 season. Technical director Adrian Newey joined the team from McLaren to design the 2007 car. These positive developments led Coulthard to state that he wished to remain with the team after the 2006 season, and to add to his victory tally with them.Template:Fact On 7 August 2006, the day after the Hungarian Grand Prix where Coulthard finished 5th, it was announced the he had extended his contract with Red Bull Racing for 2007 and would be teamed up with Mark Webber.
Coulthard is the highest-scoring British driver ever with 535 points, beating Nigel Mansell's previous record of 482 points. At the 2006 Spanish Grand Prix he also became the 8th member of Formula One's "200 Club", joining Riccardo Patrese, Michael Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello, Gerhard Berger, Andrea de Cesaris, Nelson Piquet and Jean Alesi in the list of drivers to have competed in 200 Grands Prix. In the 2006 Monaco Grand Prix, Coulthard scored his first podium finish with Red Bull Racing, his best result with the team and also the team's first podium finish. During the trophy presentation, Coulthard wore a red cape as the team was promoting the film "Superman Returns".
After a slow start to the 2007 season, Coulthard delivered two strong drives at the Bahrain Grand Prix and the Spanish Grand Prix where he picked up the team's first points of the season. On 6 July 2007, Red Bull Racing announced that Coulthard's contract had been extended to the end of 2008.
Coulthard had a bad start to his 2008 campaign after a racing incident with Massa. The Sun newspaper had Coulthard quoting his dissatisfaction with the move itself and Massa's unwillingness to admit fault.
- "I know I screwed up the same way with Alex [Wurz] last year, and took full responsibility for it, and I would expect Felipe to do the same. If he doesn't, I'm going to kick three colours of shit out of the little bastard.".
David Coulthard, 2008, after tangling with Felipe Massa.
At the second race in Malaysia Coulthard suffered a bad suspension failure which saw his Red Bull team investigated for car safety. Although cleared to drive, the lack of testing time had a negative impact on his race performance, managing only a 9th place finish. Despite a series of poor performances over the course of the 2008 season he came back and managed to secure a hard fought 3rd place at the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix, the 62nd podium finish of his Formula One career.
On the Thursday before the 2008 British Grand Prix, Coulthard announced that he would retire at the end of the season, but will remain at Red Bull as a consultant. He retired on lap 1 after colliding with Sebastian Vettel, the driver that would replace at Red Bull in 2009, in his last British Grand Prix.
For Coulthard's final race, he competed in a car with a one-off livery promoting the charity "Wings for Life". In the event, Coulthard retired in the second corner on the first lap after he was hit from behind by Nico Rosberg's Williams. In his final website blog before the race, Coulthard said, "I was thinking of asking the drivers to keep well clear of me into turn 1 to give me a better chance of finishing my last GP but I know all too well that when the lights go out racing instincts take over."
Coulthard's last season in Formula One was filled with frequent crashes, mostly not his own fault. By his own admission, his poor qualifying performances put him in the middle of the pack where bumps and scrapes are common place. After only scoring 8 points in his final season, Coulthard remained characteristically appreciative of what F1 had given him over the last 15 years.
Post Formula One
From 2009, Coulthard has worked on the BBC's F1 coverage as an expert summarizer (pundit). He was also the Red Bull Racing reserve driver for the first two Grands Prix of the 2009 season and is remaining with the team as a consultant.
Coulthard has lived for some time in the tax haven principality of Monaco, and also owns homes in London, Belgium and Switzerland. He owns several luxury hotels in Britain and Monaco, including the Columbus, which is located in Monaco's Fontvieille.
On 2 May 2000, while leasing the Learjet of friend David Murray, the aeroplane developed engine trouble while enroute to Côte d'Azur International Airport in Nice, and crashed while attempting an emergency landing at Lyon-Satolas airport, France. Coulthard, his then girlfriend the American model Heidi Wichlinski and personal trainer/bodyguard Andy Matthews survived; whilst Murray's personal pilot David Saunders and co-pilot Dan Worley died.
According to tabloid reports, Coulthard has been associated with a number of women. However, in a BBC interview, Coulthard vigorously denied these claims, stating that the tabloid reports were "out of date and inaccurate." He has been associated with a string of women, including supermodel Heidi Klum, Lady Victoria Hervey, and models Andrea Murray and Ruth Taylor. He has been engaged to models Heidi Wichlinski and Simone Abdelnour.
On 2 June 2006, He became engaged to Karen Minier, a Belgian Formula One correspondent for French TV channel TF1 The couple planned to marry "in the near future". On 14 July 2008, in his ITV F1 column, Coulthard confirmed that he and Karen were expecting their first child, a boy. Dayton Minier Coulthard was born on November 20 2008, weighing 2.8 kg.
The museum in his home village dedicated to Coulthard is currently independently run by local fan Wendy McKenzie after previously being run by Coulthard's family. It is now the home of the "Twynosi" (a cross between Twynholm and Italian Ferrari fans, the Tifosi), who gather on race days.
On 7 August 2007, Coulthard released his autobiography, entitled It is What It Is. In it, he admits that he suffered from bulimia as a teenager.
He was also the best man at the wedding of Amanda Holden and Chris Hughes.
Complete Formula One results
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)
- Official Site
- Article on Coulthard's race preparation
- Statistics at planet-f1.com
- David Coulthard Statistics at f1db.com
- BBC article on plane crash
- Interview with Coulthard, mentions breakup.
- David Coulthard statistics
- Crash Investigator : 1995 Australia, David Coulthard