David Coulthard is a man who needs no introduction. British F1 legend and smooth pundit for the present day racetrack, but how did he get there?
We caught up with the F1 veteran to find out how he made it big on the racetrack, what followed and his tips for the next season...
History would suggest that childhood karting is the best route into F1. (Fernando) Alonso, (Nico) Rosberg, (Lewis) Hamilton or (Daniel) Ricciardo all did. If I was planning some youngster's career, I would definitely have them go through the route of karting.
My father was Scottish karting champion when he was a youngster. His father died when he was 14, so he had to stop because his mother couldn’t support it. He always had a passion for it, so he sponsored other guys in karting. When I came along and showed an interest, it kicked off from there, and then he supported me all the way and set me on my way in cars.
Winning my first Grand Prix was a relief. It was my 21st one and it seemed I had been close before because I had a good car. It was a clean sweep, so I had pole position, fastest lap and won the race. Then I had Damon Hill, my team-mate at the time and Michael Schumacher on the podium with me, so it’s pretty good day in the office when you beat two experienced guys like that.
Nothing injured me to the point where I couldn’t drive and I’ll always be thankful for that. I lived through the era of lots of testing. Nowadays they don’t do as much, and most of my big crashes were in testing, because of component failure or driver error. The worst I got was knocked out, rolled the car and various other bumps and shunts.
It’s not a difficult transition from driving to punditry. It’s just that it’s different. TV professionals train for it, practice for it and work their way up, but most television shows tend to have a professional television sports journalist and a sportsman to give insight. In the case of football, you’ve got Gary Lineker. I’ve had to learn a little bit of how it works and I feel I’ve got better at it. I feel more comfortable than I did at the beginning, but that’s natural. I'm also an ambassador for Cooper Tire now.
I've still got a full schedule that fills my time. Away from my role in TV, I work with Cooper Tire on product development and enjoy that aspect of working with engineers and coming up with good technical solutions for everyday problems. I still put a race suit on and go around the track, but apart from that I'm busy with some other business and investments.
There is nothing that upsets me. I worry about things I can influence and control rather than things that are out of my control. There's a desire to speed the cars up and make them more noisy, and that suggests that there's an acknowledgment that the change from the V8’s formula to hybrid V6 formula hasn’t delivered what the public wanted and/or what the governing bodies wanted.
I always try to deliver. If you deliver then people are deeply satisfied, compared to when you don’t. I’ve always enjoyed working in teams, I wouldn’t be a guy to walk across the Antarctic solo, I want to share it, I want to high five a buddy at the end of the journey.Working with teams of people towards a common goal, and everyone having their responsibility is a wonderful thing.
If I was to give my younger self a piece of advice , it would be to fast track straight to what my potential is to help achieve it sooner. The thing you learn in life is to how much you push .and know where your personal limits are. But when you're younger, you're trying to push your limit, and it takes time.
Lewis Hamilton will take the F1 championship, for sure. He’s been the stronger of the two drivers all season from as far as I can see, and therefore deserves it.
Right now, it’s hard to look beyond Lewis and Mercedes. I don’t have a crystal ball, so on the basis of performance right now I can't see past Lewis winning again next season.