Coulthard's thoughts on the British GP

McLaren's David Coulthard gives his thoughts on the British Grand Prix "My first British Grand Prix was at Silverstone as a spectator in 1990, when I was racing in the Formula Vauxhall Lotus support event. I remember going down first thing on...

McLaren's David Coulthard gives his thoughts on the British Grand Prix

"My first British Grand Prix was at Silverstone as a spectator in 1990, when I was racing in the Formula Vauxhall Lotus support event. I remember going down first thing on the Sunday to Stowe corner and hearing a V12 engine come screaming through the early morning mist and thinking 'Wow!' I had always been a fan of Formula 1 on the television, but this was the first time that I was actually there watching the event live."

David Coulthard.
Photo by Brousseau Photo.
"I had never been particularly desperate to go to the British Grand Prix as a spectator. My father had gone to a few grands prix, but I don't recall asking if I could go. If I did, then the answer was certainly no! The only reason for me being there was because I was racing. I was never the young boy waiting on the outside of the gates with the autograph pad - I've always been more keen to deal with the reality of what was going on, rather than dreaming."

"Even then, though, I could pick up on the atmosphere and the buzz that there was around the British drivers - particularly Nigel Mansell, who was very much the centre of attention."

"To be honest, though, the British spectators are really appreciative of the sport, irrespective of what nationality the drivers are. At Monza, for example, there is a real appreciation of Ferrari, and when we go testing there we actually get booed!"

My first British Grand Prix as a Formula 1 driver in 1994 was obviously a big event for me, but one of my strongest memories comes from my second year there in 1995. I was battling with Jean Alesi's Ferrari and I could hear the crowd down at Copse corner cheering above the noise of the cars when I overtook him. To be able to hear that was pretty impressive."

"My first win at the British Grand Prix was also very special. It was an excellent feeling to win on home soil, more so possibly than even winning at Monaco in 1999 and scoring my first grand prix win in Portugal in 1995. I feel very lucky to have won what, in my mind, are the big races at the most important tracks - Monaco, Spa, and Monza - and the British Grand Prix at Silverstone is right at the top of the pack."

"There's that old cliche that being half a second quicker at your home track just because of the support means that you aren't doing your job right at the 15 other tracks, but racing in front of a home crowd does make you feel good. You know the majority of the crowd are going to be there supporting you because you're British, but it doesn't make you any quicker, unfortunately. When things aren't going well for you, that support can also make you feel more pressure rather than less pressure because you want to get the result for them as well as yourself."

"Obviously, racing on home soil means that there is a lot of attention on you. There's no question that there isn't enough free time to fill all the requests from the team, the Partners, the media and your friends and family over the weekend. You just have to shut yourself away, to a certain extent and just focus on being able to do your job to the best of your ability."

"There was certainly a lot more pressure on my time when I stayed outside of the circuit. You had to get up early to get the helicopter into the circuit and you were restricted by the weather. Because I now stay in my motorhome at the circuit, though, I can soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the weekend more, and I can get a chance to catch up with my family and friends on Sunday night."

"It's one of those things that I obviously can't do right now because I'm very focused on my career, but I would love to come to the British Grand Prix as a spectator. As much as anything, it would be nice to know what it is like not to have to go to bed early, worrying about what the weather is like when you wake up each morning and just to be able to enjoy the atmosphere. I can certainly see myself coming back here for quite a few years in the future!"

-mclaren-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jean Alesi , David Coulthard , Nigel Mansell
Teams Ferrari , McLaren