Coulthard in negotiations with Red Bull 14 Dec 2004
Red Bull Racing have admitted they are in talks with David Coulthard following his successful test with the team last week, but insist signing him for 2005 is still far from a foregone conclusion.
Coulthard spent two days with the Austrian-owned squad at Jerez last week, comfortably outpacing the two other leading candidates for the drive, Austrian Christian Klien and Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi. The Scot was back at their Milton Keynes factory on Monday for a technical debrief.
Given Coulthards Formula One record - 175 Grand Prix starts, 13 wins and 60 podiums - Red Bull Racings managing director David Pitchforth described hiring him as a no-brainer. The team are seeking a mixture of youth and experience, and while Klien or Liuzzi could supply the former, only Coulthard has the latter.
However, despite his enthusiasm for Coulthard, Pitchforth stressed that no decisions had yet been made, and emphasised the fact that there is still a way to go before any agreement is finalised. "I've got to say it's 50-50 because it could still go either way, he told reporters on Monday.
Pitchforth added that he has no desire to test further drivers, instead preferring to spend testing efforts on developing the teams new car. He also ruled out the possibility of Klien and Liuzzi sharing a race drive in 2005.
In a related development, Dr Mark Gillan, head of vehicle performance with Jaguar Racing and then Red Bull Racing, is expected to leave the team in the New Year to take up an academic post at an English university.