Exclusive interview - RBR's David Coulthard 26 Jan 2006
This time last year David Coulthards Formula One future looked far from certain. From the security of McLaren he moved to one-year contract with the unproven Red Bull Racing (RBR) team and question marks over whether he still had what it took to start over.
Twelve months on and things couldnt be more different. Coulthard and RBR were the social climbers of the 2005 paddock, scoring more points in a difficult transitional year than Jaguar (the team Red Bull took over) had in its entire existence. So, with the future now bright for team and driver, can Coulthard finally be the person he always wanted to be?
Q: You have looked far more relaxed in recent months - so is it true that Red Bull gives you wings - or at least makes you more laid-back?
David Coulthard: McLaren Mercedes is a team with a multitude of sponsors. And all these sponsors have a different view on how they want their image to be perceived by the public. This gives a driver very little space to live up to his own personality. With RBR it is different - there is only one sponsor and this sponsor is known for his nonconformist image. Now I am not squeezed into an image but can be myself. Probably that's what is visible.
Q: Is there any truth in the rumour that you were the mastermind behind Adrian Newey's move from McLaren to Red Bull Racing?
DC: I was one of the people. To make a significant move forward we knew that we had to go for the best talent in the paddock. And Dietrich's (Mateschitz) vision for the team was supporting this idea. So we went for it - and succeeded.
Q: Obviously the new RB2 car has exceeded your expectations, although you have had little chance for testing so far?
DC: Yes, the RB2 is a big step forward. We know that we have developed a competitive package, but in the end it is always the race that teaches us where we stand. So for the moment enthusiasm, yes, but with an eye on reality.
Q: Has Newey already had any influence on the new car and how much improvement can we expect as the 2006 season progresses? And when?
DC: Adrian started his first day at the RBR factory on January 9, so there cannot possibly be a lot of Newey in the car by now. But what I do expect is to see the Newey touch by mid season. It is not the right moment to fantasize about podium finishes, though I can say that it was always nice up there!
Q: RBR clearly has the vision to become a winning team, but can a Ferrari customer engine really be the power behind that vision?
DC: I am sure that Ferrari will deliver an engine that will be competitive, as they have a reputation to lose. But we are no dreamers and we are aware that the number one engine will go to Michael's (Schumacher) car, the second to Felipe's (Massa) car, the third to the (Ferrari) test car - and then it should be our turn.