Coulthard to join the 200-plus club 11 May 2006
Red Bulls David Coulthard will become the tenth member of an elite club this weekend when he makes his 200th Grand Prix appearance. Only two drivers on the current grid have started more Formula One races - Michael Schumacher (237) and Rubens Barrichello (223).
Coulthards Formula One career began in difficult circumstances back in 1994 when he stepped into the second Williams race seat following the death of Ayrton Senna. He took his first win for the team in Portugal the following year, before beginning a nine-year stint with McLaren in 1996 - one which would eventually bring him a further 12 victories.
Two hundred Grands Prix is an achievement in itself, which Im proud of, because you dont do that number of races by accident, you do it by maintaining a certain level of performance, Coulthard told Red Bull Racings official website.
Proof of Coulthards consistency can be seen in his points tally. To date he has scored 500 - more than any driver in history bar Michael Schumacher (1279), Alain Prost (798.5) and Senna (614) - although Rubens Barrichello is closing in fast on 495.
I reckon that 500 points from 200 grands prix is not a bad average, Coulthard added. Of course, people will always talk about what might have been, but I can feel confident when I walk into the paddock knowing that there are only a few guys on the grid that have, or ever will, come close to achieving what I have.
Indeed, Coulthards place in the Formula One history books is already assured. Barring unexpected events, by the end of this season he will rank sixth in the all-time table for Grand Prix starts. And if he can somehow score Red Bulls maiden top-three finish, he will join Barrichello in joint fourth place in the podium appearances table.
And scoring a Red Bull podium is by no means out of the question, with the forthcoming Monaco Grand Prix presenting arguably Coulthard's best opportunity of the year. The Monte Carlo street circuit places a premium on experience and driver skill - something he has in abundance - rather than raw horsepower, and the Scot knows how to win there, having done so twice - in 2000 and 2002.