After nine years with McLaren, David Coulthard is looking for the opportunity to prove his talents with a different team. There are few options left for 2005 but the vacant Williams race seat, naturally, is the coveted position for those currently...
After nine years with McLaren, David Coulthard is looking for the opportunity to prove his talents with a different team. There are few options left for 2005 but the vacant Williams race seat, naturally, is the coveted position for those currently without a drive. Coulthard claims that money is not important, he just wants a competitive car.
"It isn't a financially-charged decision," the Scot told the BBC. "I quite simply want the opportunity to show what I can do at a team outside the nine years I had at McLaren. I believe I can deliver."
Coulthard certainly has one of the better histories in F1 but in his term at McLaren he was overshadowed by his teammates. Mika Hakkinen was a double world champion with the Woking squad and Kimi Raikkonen came closest to toppling Michael Schumacher from his throne in 2003.
Coulthard acknowledged he has been bettered but pointed out he has done the same. "I have been beaten by my team-mates, in key years," he conceded. "But I've also beaten them."
"I finished in front of Mika twice in my time there, in 1997 and 2001, and in front of Kimi once, in 2002. It was just unfortunate that the three times I finished in front of them were in years when the team's competitiveness dropped."
2004 was not kind to Coulthard; he never saw the podium this season, his best finish being fourth in Germany. Knowing that he would be replaced by Juan Pablo Montoya next year did not help but he is convinced he still has a lot to offer another team.
"I can't deny I haven't been up with Kimi in the second half of the season," he remarked. "But that's not because I ran out of talent. You've got to be mentally and physically well-prepared and that's very difficult to do in a position where you know you're not wanted."
"All sports people go through ups and downs in their form but there are three fundamental questions that have to be asked. Do I still have the speed? The data would suggest 'yes'. Do I still have the desire? I can absolutely say I do."
"And do I still have the commitment? Well, not parking the car at somewhere like Spa, where I've rattled down the barriers at 190mph when the team are telling me to park the car, shows either a level of commitment or stupidity. In the cold light of day it's absolutely ludicrous to do that."
Coulthard's main contenders for the Williams seat appear to be the team's test driver Antonio Pizzonia, and Nick Heidfeld, who drove for Jordan this season. Mika Hakkinen has also been linked with Williams, although the Finn, who retired from F1 in 2001, is considered and outside chance.