Coulthard speaks out about 'handicapped' system

Coulthard speaks out about 'handicapped' system

Red Bull's David Coulthard has spoken out about the rules, such as demotion penalties for engine failures and the single lap qualifying, which he believes are handicapping the sport. The Scot, who has become rather more verbal since leaving...

Red Bull's David Coulthard has spoken out about the rules, such as demotion penalties for engine failures and the single lap qualifying, which he believes are handicapping the sport. The Scot, who has become rather more verbal since leaving McLaren, has emerged as something of a unofficial spokesman for the drivers since the troubles at Indianapolis.

David Coulthard.
Photo by xpb.cc.

"All these rules -- qualifying, single laps and ten-place penalties -- are not designed to wreck races, but the consequence is that they do," Coulthard said, according to the UK's Times newspaper. "If you go out early in one race, you have to start early in qualifying for the next."

"That means you have a bad qualifying, because physically you just cannot go quicker than someone else who has an equal lap later in the session because the track is in a better condition."

"So it is a handicapped F1 system we have. You are handicapped if you have an engine failure, even if it is no fault of the driver, and then the crowd are deprived of what may be a fantastic race, as they were in France."

Over the French Grand Prix weekend there was speculation that the Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA) was planning to release a statement after Coulthard reportedly had a 'frank' exchange of words with FIA president Max Mosley. The statement never appeared but the drivers were due to meet with Mosley at the forthcoming British race.

Topics for discussion included safety issues and Indianapolis but Mosley has called off the meeting. Reportedly he is unhappy with Coulthard's comments and claims a 'calm discussion' is now impossible.

There is a lot of debate about why the GPDA has chosen to make its presence felt at this time, when in the past it has kept a low profile in regard to the issues of the day. Despite the usual crop of theories, the answer to that question is not clear.

Despite this apparent show of unity, things within the GPDA are uneasy. The Ferrari and Jordan drivers did not sign the statement released on behalf of 19 other drivers after Indianapolis and this is apparently causing discontent, as some believe the decision not to sign was politically driven rather than not agreeing with the statement.

Jordan's Tiago Monteiro claimed he never even saw the document, while Ferrari's Michael Schumacher said it was not a GPDA initiative. However, Toyota's Jarno Trulli stated that he had received the document from the GPDA -- as usual with F1, things are as clear as mud.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Michael Schumacher , David Coulthard , Tiago Monteiro
Teams Ferrari , McLaren , Jordan