Memo To David Coulthard: Your Right Foot Is Better Than a Computer!

Paul HadsleyCorrespondent IMay 19, 2008

In the high powered world of Formula One, you hear many different noises.

The roar of the engines, the cheering of the crowd, the tapping of keys as another writer thinks up an even more clichéd introduction than this one.

But if you listen very closely, underneath all of this is another noise: The sound of David Coulthard moaning.

As one of F1's "senior" drivers (and that's putting it politely!) these days, if David has something to say, people will listen. He gives good copy, as they say in the world of journalism.

And since the ban on Traction Control was first mooted towards the end of the 2006 season, DC (as lazy journalists pretend he likes to be called) hasn't exactly been keeping his opinions to himself.

Any time the political hot potato of safety comes up, DC is right there moaning to anyone that will listen that the ban on Traction Control will make Formula One cars unsafe, particularly in the rain.

Ahh yes, the rain.

After F1 managed to have a race in near-torrential conditions at Fuji last year with no more serious an incident than could happen in a dry race (honestly, Alonso's crash, while big enough, didn't compare to some of the stuff we saw in dry conditions) those within F1 must've thought they'd set the bar higher of how bad the conditions can get yet still stage a professional motor race.

But was that the end of it?  Of course not.

Coulthard began harping on about how if conditions like Fuji or Nurburgring happened again under 2008's regulations, there would be no one left after 10 laps to finish the race.


But then any time wet-weather racing comes up for discussion, David is there, offering his opinion that it'll be too dangerous under 2008 rules.

Apparently David would rather see the acceleration of his car controlled by a bunch of computer boffins rather than his right foot.

Perhaps David is rightly worried. After all, he is "senior" enough to have "enjoyed" the previous era of traction control-less wet-weather racing.

And during such times he managed such feats as managing one corner, before throttling it too soon and wiping out two-thirds of the field. Not to mention, coming back for the re-start and hitting anything that moved, including the championship protagonist who was ready to usurp his teammate's lead in the world championship.

Oh there was also that time when he slid pathetically off the road while leading under no pressure at the Nurburgring in 1999. Oh, and Silverstone in 1998. Oh and...well, you get the picture.

Is it not possible then that DC has another agenda, rather than just worrying about the amount of money ruined when cars hit walls in wet conditions?  Perhaps he realises he's never been good in the wet, and as one of F1's elder statesmen he is at a further disadvantage as his poor reactions cannot compare to that of the 15-year-olds bussed out from school that F1 teams have hired recently?

So to David, I say this: Traction Control is a criminal thing to have on a racing car. In a sport that is as much about driver competition as it is about engineering superiority, having the throttle response controlled by a computer removes one of the key weapons in a driver's skill set.

In the wet, you have your friend Charlie Whiting to moan at to keep the field behind safety car or even red flags if you shout loud enough. He demonstrated at both the wet races last year he's not going to let things get unsafe.

So, will you please just shut up moaning about traction control, and get used to driving without it?