Coulthard closing on Red Bull

Although a deal is not yet struck, it seems likely that David Coulthard will drive for Red Bull Racing next season. Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz did not appear to show an interest in Coulthard initially, but the importance of having an experienced driver on board is now taking precedence. The team's managing director, David Pitchforth, said talks had been ongoing with Coulthard since the Jaguar days.

David Coulthard.
Photo by Andy Smerdon.

Mateschitz will most likely make the final decision on drivers but Pitchforth would have Coulthard if it was his choice. "He's got all the experience and the ability to take the team forward that I need so, most likely, yes," he told reporters on Monday when asked if he would pick the Scot. "Having an experienced driver is a no-brainer."

Coulthard tested for Red Bull at Jerez recently, along with Christian Klien and Vitantonio Liuzzi. Pitchforth said he does not really want to waste time trying out any other drivers so it seems the choice could be made from those three. Klien is perhaps more likely to partner Coulthard as Liuzzi has less experience.

"We've been pushing from the beginning to be sure we have some experience in the car to help us develop it and push it forward," said Pitchforth. "We do need a mix of experience and youth and we've got to work out what that is yet. We need someone with experience who can help move the car along and obviously David would bring that to the team."

He added that negotiations had got as far as discussing contracts. "It needs to go through all the right procedures now and that means getting the lawyers involved. It needs everything ironed out and I need to spend some time with David to get his feedback on the test basically. I've got to say it's 50-50 because it could still go either way."

It's been suggested that Klien and Liuzzi might share the second race seat and testing duties but Pitchforth said Klien's experience with the team would be wasted as a test driver. Liuzzi reportedly believes he has proved himself worthy of a race seat and may look elsewhere if only the test role is offered.