- Category : Sports-Race-Cars
- Type : GP
- Profile : 2/5 - Hermit / Heretic
- Definition : Split - Small (8,16,20)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Service 1
David Marshall Coulthard, MBE, born 27 March 1971, often known as DC, is a British former Formula One racing driver from Scotland.
Coulthard, who was born and brought up in Twynholm, Kirkcudbrightshire, made his Formula One debut in 1994 and won 13 Grands Prix in a career spanning 15 seasons. Twice a winner in Monaco, Coulthard was team-mate to Mika Häkkinen in the Finn's two Drivers' Championship-winning seasons for McLaren Mercedes before helping establish the Red Bull team. His best Drivers' Championship finish was second in 2001.
After retiring from racing in Formula One, Coulthard continued to be involved with the Red Bull Racing team as a consultant, as well as joining the BBC as a Television commentator and pundit. He returned as an active driver in the DTM series for 2010, piloting a 2008 Mercedes-Benz C-Class for Mücke Motorsport. He has finished in 16th position in the drivers championship in both years of competing in the series. On 18 October 2012, Coulthard announced retirement from racing after the 2012 DTM season, his final race planned to be on 21 October 2012 at Hockenheim.
Coulthard began karting as soon as he was permitted, at the age of 11. He raced karts for six years, moving south once he had started to win local championships. He regarded Rowrah, in Cumbria, as his home circuit. It was there that he won the Cumbria Kart Racing Club championship in 1985, a year after Allan McNish. McNish credited the start given to him, David Coulthard, and Dario Franchitti largely to David Leslie, senior and junior.
In 1989, Coulthard started racing in Formula Ford, winning the first ever McLaren/Autosport Young Driver of the Year award. A broken leg at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps put an end to his 1990 racing season, although by the end of that year he was testing for McLaren. He returned the following year to win the Marlboro Masters race at Zandvoort and the Macau Grand Prix. In 1992, he finished ninth in the Formula 3000 series. The following year he improved to third overall.
In 1993, Coulthard became test driver for the world champion Formula One team Williams-Renault. He retained his role the following year until, after Ayrton Senna's death at Imola, he was brought in to partner Damon Hill for the Spanish Grand Prix. In eight of the remaining races he drove the second car. However, Nigel Mansell drove instead at Magny-Cours and at the last three races of the season. Renault were keen to have a big name in the second Williams, and Mansell, at that time reigning Indycar champion, fitted the bill. Despite fastest laps at the German and Portuguese Grands Prix, Coulthard finished on the podium only once, when he placed second at Estoril.
Coulthard had intended to race for McLaren in 1995 but, on 14 December 1994, the FIA Contract Recognition Board ruled that "Williams Grand Prix Engineering Ltd. is the team entitled to the services of Mr. David Coulthard for the 1995 FIA Formula One World Championship season."
Coulthard's first victory came at the 1995 Portuguese Grand Prix. Despite never finishing below fourth place, and scoring five pole positions (four of them consecutively), his eight retirements due to poor luck and some unforced errors tarnished his season. By July of that year, Coulthard had already signed for McLaren, for whom he would drive alongside Mika Häkkinen.
During the 1996 season McLaren cars finished on the podium only five times, as the Mercedes-powered cars were simply not fast enough. Coulthard's car retired from races on seven occasions. He led at Imola and lost out to Olivier Panis at Monaco.
In his second year with McLaren, Coulthard finished the 1997 Drivers' Championship in third place (following Schumacher's disqualification), tied on points with Jean Alesi. He had won the Australian and Italian Grands Prix as well as recording the fastest lap at the race in Montréal. He had been leading in Canada, but was delayed for over a lap by a clutch problem during his second pit stop. Minutes later Panis crashed, causing the race to be stopped. Had Coulthard's car not stalled, victory would have been his.
At the last race of the season in Jerez, Coulthard was obliged by team orders to concede second place to Häkkinen with three laps to go. Villeneuve needed to finish the race to win that year's drivers' championship in a car which was underperforming following a lap 48 collision with Schumacher. He gave way to the two McLarens on the final lap, with Coulthard reported to be "not bubbling with joy after the event... Häkkinen himself was speechless and made little sense after the race."
In 1998, McLaren cars won nine of the races, but it was Häkkinen who won eight of those and who took that year's title. Coulthard's only victory of the season was at the San Marino race. He finished second behind his team-mate five times.
In 1999, Coulthard finished the season in fourth place, with two wins among his six podium finishes. His teammate, Häkkinen, won his second consecutive drivers' championship. McLaren lost the constructors' title to Ferrari.
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 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 extended his contract with McLaren in 2002 but his subsequent years with the team, to 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 early in the new millennium. In 2003 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.
In 2010 while working on air for the BBC F1 coverage, he admitted that Ferrari had approached him for a drive while he was racing with McLaren. He turned down the offer, because he realised that if he was in the lead of a Grand Prix race and Michael Schumacher was behind him, he would have to move out the way to let him through.
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.
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. 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.
At the 2006 Spanish Grand Prix Coulthard 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 started 200 Grands Prix (Alain Prost and Michele Alboreto entered 202 and 215 races but started fewer). 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 Felipe Massa. In a live post-incident interview with ITV's Louise Goodman, he expressed dissatisfaction with Massa's aggressive on-track behaviour.
"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."
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 and he managed 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 would remain at Red Bull as a consultant. He retired on the first lap after colliding with Sebastian Vettel, the driver who would replace him 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 Kazuki Nakajima in the 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 helmet is blue with a white saltire on the top (resembling the flag of Scotland) with its 4 tips trepassing from the top to the chin area. At McLaren a white ring was added around the top. When he joined Red Bull a dark blue line was added in the middle to highlight Red Bull's logo. At the Japanese GP in 2007 he wore a grey helmet with a stylised saltire in its sides as an homage to the late Colin McRae.
Race of Champions
At the 2008 Race of Champions, Coulthard made the final only to lose out to Sébastien Loeb. He made the quarter-finals in both 2009 and in 2011, his sixth participation in the end-of-season competition.
From 2009, Coulthard has worked on the BBC's F1 coverage as an expert summariser (pundit). From the 2011 season onwards he also became a co-commentator initially to Martin Brundle (who is also his manager) and then to Ben Edwards. 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 and demonstration driver.
At certain Grands Prix in 2010, when regular Red Bull and Toro Rosso reserve drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Brendon Hartley competed elsewhere in the 2010 Formula Renault 3.5 Series season, Coulthard was available to step in as reserve driver.
In 2010, Coulthard competed in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters, driving a 2008-spec Mercedes C-Class run by Mücke Motorsport. It was announced on 8 April 2011 that Coulthard would again race the C-Class for Mücke Motorsport in the DTM, with Ralf Schumacher as his team-mate.
Coulthard announced retirement from racing after 2012 DTM season on 18 October 2012.
Coulthard has lived for some time in Monaco, and also owns homes in London, Belgium and Switzerland. He owns several luxury hotels in Britain and is a former owner of the Columbus Hotel Monaco, which is located in Monaco's Fontvieille.
On 2 May 2000, while he was leasing the Learjet of friend David Murray, the aeroplane developed engine trouble en route 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; Murray's personal pilot David Saunders and co-pilot Dan Worley died. Coulthard and Wichlinski ended their relationship before the beginning of the 2001 season, which was followed with a series of inaccurate newspaper reports about alleged affairs with other women.
Coulthard was involved in a four-year relationship with Brazilian model Simone Abdelnour, before ending the relationship in 2005. Coulthard became engaged to Karen Minier, a Belgian Formula One correspondent for French TV channel TF1, on 2 June 2006. The couple planned to marry "in the near future". Coulthard and Minier had their first child, Dayton Minier Coulthard, on 20 November 2008 weighing 6 pounds 3 ounces (2.8 kg). Karen and Dayton initially continued to live in Brussels, before moving to Monaco with her daughter from a previous relationship.
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 sister who died in February 2013. It is now the home of the "Twynosi" (a cross between Twynholm and the Italian word for "fans", tifosi, as used by Ferrari fans), who gather on race days. He released his autobiography in 2007, entitled It is What It Is. In it, he stated that he had suffered from bulimia as a teenager, caused by the need to lose weight when competing in karting championships. In 2008, Coulthard acted as best man at the wedding of Chris Hughes and actress/presenter Amanda Holden.
Coulthard's second cousin, New Zealander Fabian Coulthard, is also a racing driver, and has won several junior championships. He is currently racing in the Australian V8 Supercar Championship Series for Brad Jones Racing.
Coulthard also participates in philanthropic work as an ambassador for the spinal injuries charity Wings For Life.
Coulthard was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2010 Birthday Honours.