McLaren's David Coulthard talks about the upcoming Formula One season. Q: Do you feel confident the new McLaren car can compete with Ferrari after their domination last year? David Coutlhard: There is no doubt that our aim is to have a ...
McLaren's David Coulthard talks about the upcoming Formula One season.
David Coutlhard: There is no doubt that our aim is to have a competitive car in 2003. Towards the end of the 2002 season, the performance West McLaren Mercedes MP4-17 package was constantly improving and I'm sure we will take that momentum into 2003 with the MP4-17D and the MP4-18. We are aware of the challenge and the reality that it will probably take another year to develop the package to a sufficient level, however the whole team will be working hard to try and make it happen sooner.
DC: I never really gone to Melbourne thinking 'This is it, this is my year'. I have more focussed approach, concentrating on each individual race and trying to improve my performance on every outing. None of us will really know what the season holds until qualifying in Melbourne, that's the only time you can really be sure of your comparative performance. In 1997 when I won in Melbourne, I came away from the race thinking that it could be a good season for me, however, that proved not to be the case. Whether this turns out to be my year or not time will tell, I know I'll continue to give 100 per cent throughout the season along with the rest of the team and we are a team of proven winners.
Q: Can you try to illustrate what it would mean to you to be ranked among the likes of Sir Jackie Stewart and Jim Clark as a Scottish F1 World champion?
DC: It is quite difficult to put into words, but I suppose the simplest way to describe it is to imagine achieving a goal that you have had for so many years and worked so hard for, and the satisfaction and pride that must bring. Also, to have your name in lists alongside drivers of the calibre of Jackie Stewart and Jim Clark would be an honour.
Q: Have you done anything different this close season to prepare yourself for the year ahead?
DC: People may not be fully aware that the job of a Formula One driver is a 365 days a year commitment, and there isn't a 'closed season' as such. We have testing schedules to complete, Partner functions and so on. I dedicate a substantial part of my time to training and re-building my fitness base for the following year, it's vital because due to our hectic schedules during the season we are only really able to maintain our fitness levels, so we need a good starting point.
I am not doing anything dramatically different with my fitness training this year, although I am working with a new trainer who has his own approach and it's always good to try new things that may give you an edge.
DC: Of course it is important, but I think that you also need to remember that as with any other sport, there are cycles in Formula One. When you look at the sport historically there are periods of dominance that tend to last for a couple of years, such as McLaren in the mid-late eighties and Williams in the early nineties. Ferrari are experiencing that right now, but West McLaren Mercedes and the rest of the field are all working hard to close the gap.