For David Coulthard, the 2004 season has been a trying one. Already aware before the season kicked-off in Melborne that he was not being retained by McLaren for 2005, the Scot and his manager, Martin Brundle, have spent the present campaign...
For David Coulthard, the 2004 season has been a trying one. Already aware before the season kicked-off in Melborne that he was not being retained by McLaren for 2005, the Scot and his manager, Martin Brundle, have spent the present campaign scouting the F1 paddock in search of a viable seat for next year.McLaren's first offering, the MP4-19, was arguably the most uncompetitive machine to come out of Woking since famed designer Adrian Newey first joined the outfit in 1997.
"It is fair to say," the Scot commented shortly after this year's Bahrain GP, "that our car is far from perfect. It is frustrating to be driving a car that does not demostrate the level of performance I know I am capable of -- especially as I need to post decent results if I am to get a competitive ride next year."
Hoever, of the current teams in F1, there are two who are never down for long; McLaren and Williams have habitually fought back to the front of the grid. While their counterparts from Grove have struggled to reduce the gap to Ferrari, McLaren's updated car, the MP4-19B, has transformed the fortunes of Coulthard and team mate Kimi Raikkonen. Though the turn around has finally enabled DC to stake a more constructive case for employment in '05, has it come too late? Perhaps not.
Jaguar have shown interest in Coulthard as it seeks a suitable replacement for the outgoing Mark Webber. The Scot has experience to throw away and would unquestionably be an ideal candidate to help ressurect the Milton Keynes based outfit as it fights to maintain credibility following years of underperformance.
In light of recent events, BAR would now additionally seem a viable option for Coulthard as he is well respected by team principal David Richards and, allied to the fact that Richards has probably lost Button to Williams, Honda will be keen for the principal to secure another top driver.
The reality, though, is that Jaguar seems the most realistic port for Coulthard to dock his ship in these heavy seas of Formula One. Though rumour upon rumor has the Scot linked with various outfits, he remains bullish about where he will be and what he can offer any prospective employer.
"I can't talk specifically about conversations until I have an announcement to make and that's always been the way we've dealt with our contractual business." Coulthard explained in Thursday's press conference. "But I am highly motivated to continue racing. I was surprised to hear that some of the web sites and magazines were questioning how hungry am I? How much do you want it? Well, very much."
"I don't have a wife, I don't have children, I don't have any commitments in my diary other than racing, testing and training. With regard to my CV, I am the second most successful driver on the grid today and that didn't happen by accident, it happened through talent and hard work and hopefully that will be picked up and I will continue to build on that."
While Coulthard's time to challenge for the championship has seemingly passed, the Scot is upbeat about the prospect of potentially helping an average team into winners.
"I obviously want to be in a competitive drive and have an opportunity to enjoy what I love doing," he said, "which is getting out there and racing, and irrespective of whether it is a foregone conclusion that you're going to be on the front two rows or not, if you feel you can push yourself and be part of a developing package then it is the same deal."
"Look at where we were at McLaren at the beginning of this year: Nowhere. Up until Magny-Cours we were lapped in most of the races. You wouldn't have expect that, but that's what happened, so it didn't put me off Formula One."