David Coulthard: A Look Back Over His Career

Adam PooleAnalyst IOctober 21, 2008

As Scottish driver, David Coulthard, heads into his final ever race in a Formula One car, we look back at the career of a man who has made over 245 Grand-Prix starts over an extensive fifteen years in F1.

And it's go, go, go...

David's first experiance of driving a Formula One car was back in 1993 when he became the test driver for Williams-Renault.  He continued this role into 1994 but after the tragic death of F1 legend, Ayrton Senna, he was promoted to race alongside fellow Brit' Damon Hill and made his first competitive appearance in the 1994 Spanish Grand-Prix. 

Although DC spent most of his time as Hill's second man, on four occasions, Williams replaced him with current Indycar champion, Nigel Mansell.  At the end of 1994 Coulthard signed a full-time contract with Williams for 1995.

First Full Year...

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David smelt had his first smell of success in 1995 as he went on to win the Portuguese Grand-Prix.  Coulthard had many chances to win throughout the 1995 season, but driver error and mechanical faults hindered him somewhat, however, he did manage five pole-positions throughout the season.

Master at McLaren...

McLaren saw something in DC and offered him a contract in 1996 driving alongside soon-to-be champion Mika Hakkinen.  The newly powered Mercedes team had a frantic year, struggling to find any power in the engine.

In 1997 DC ended the driver's championship joint-third with Jean Alesi.

By 1998 McLaren had sorted their engine problems and was consistently the strongest performing car on the track, but it was DC's team-mate, Mika Hakkinen, who made the most of it, and went on to win the title.

Coulthard's third year at McLaren, 1999, didn't really do much for the Scottsman's confidence when a mixture of bad luck and driver errors saw him finish fourth in the driver standings.  Hakkinen went on to win the driver's championship for his second consecutive year, but because of DC's performance throughout the season, McLaren lost out on the constructor's championship which Ferrari were more than willing to take. 

The turn of the millennium, 2000, was certainly David's best year at McLaren, he was involved in a tight battle with Michael Schumacher and team-mate Hakkinen for the driver's championship, unfortunately, he lost out and finished the season in third.  In 2001 DC drove his heart out and finished the season second, behind Michael Shumacher.

David stayed with McLaren for a further three years but a lack of performance mixed with bad luck meant critics saw this as Coulthard's declining years.  In 2003, the FIA introduced the "single lap qualifying" rule, and David has admitted himself he isn't the strongest qualifying driver and struggled with the system.

Towards the end of 2004, Juan Pablo Montoya was announced as DC's replacement at McLaren alongside Kimi Raikkonen, a disappointing tenth place in the driver's standings didn't help Coulthard's case, and just like that DC's nine year's service to the "Silver Bullets" had come to an end.

Ready for Red Bull...

Newly formed, Red Bull Racing, saw experience in David Coulthard and bought him to the team from 2005.  RBR hoped that DC would be able to teach the inexperienced Christian Klien and Vitantonio Liuzzi a thing or two.

DC's contract was extended before the British Grand-Prix at Silverstone in 2005 and would see him at RBR for the 2006 season as well.

A newly powered RBR car contained a Ferrari engine for 2006 and with a contract for 2007 already signed with Renault for their engines DC expressed his wishes to stay with the Red Bulls for another year at least.

Coulthard got his wishes, it was announced after the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix, that RBR would offer the Scotsman a contract for 2007 which would see him teamed up with Aussie, Mark Webber.

RBR endured a very slow start to the 2007 season, but DC got his first points in Bahrain and got his second lot in the Spanish Grand-Prix.  RBR were happy to have some points on the table and on July 6th they extended DC's contract for another year, this would see him with RBR for what would be the final year in David's driving career.

A rocky start to the 2008 season saw a massive tangle between David Coulthard and Felipe Massa, a quote by British newspaper, The Sun, heard David say, "I admit I did the same thing to Alex [Wurz] last year, but I admitted it and apologised. He had better. If he doesn't, I'll knock three colours of s**t out of the little b*****d."

David waited until the British Grand-Prix before announcing his intention to retire as a driver.  He retired on lap 1 after colliding with Sebastian Vettel in his last British Grand Prix.

In closing...

Although DC hasn't won any championships over his time in F1, no one could deny he has been an ambassador to the sport.  Of recent times, Coulthard has become a lot more outspoken and media savvy and is always more than happy to give his opinion, as became apparent after his qualifying incident with Nick Heidfeld in China this year.  R

umours are also doing the round's that David will be a correspondent to British F1 fans from next year when the BBC takes over coverage from ITV.

Finally, I wish David and his wife all the happiness with the birth of his baby and also hope he continues to take part in the sport he has dedicated so much of his life too.  Happy retirement DC!

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