A race weekend with David Coulthard 08 Apr 2008
Red Bulls David Coulthard is one of the most experienced Formula One drivers of all time. Indeed, only three men - Riccardo Patrese, Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher - have made more F1 starts than the Scottish star.
On track, Coulthard remains at the mercy of the highs and lows of motor racing. Off it, almost 14 years of trekking the globe means the 13-time Grand Prix winner has inevitably developed something of a routine when it comes to his race weekend
Q: You dont take to the track until Friday morning, but when do you like to fly in?
DC: I normally am at the track on Thursday afternoon, Ill only arrive in the country earlier if I need to acclimatize, otherwise Ill spend as much time as I can in Europe at home.
Q: Whats your advice for dealing with jetlag? Or is that not a problem when you fly first class?
DC: Jet lag is always an issue, but the best thing is to do whatever you feel like doing on the plane. If you feel like sleeping, then sleep, but if you dont, then dont, as thats what your body is telling you to do. When you arrive, if its night time youve got to get yourself into bed and, if you dont feel sleepy, take a sleeping tablet or have a few glasses of wine to get you to sleep. Ive never done either of those things as Ive never had a problem going to bed at the end of a long journey. The absolutely most important thing though is getting up at the correct time because even if you cant sleep, if you get up, youll be so tired by the evening then you have to sleep and youre into the zone.
Q: We are in Bahrain this weekend, what do you associate with this race?
David Coulthard: I really enjoy coming to Bahrain. I think we are privileged in that we get to meet the Crown Prince and others and see their enthusiasm in bringing F1 to this country. It gives you a whole new experience that you wouldnt get in an established European country. And I remember our fantastic 06 season opener and launch party here - truly a memorable event and location.
Q: Do you make an effort to discover your surroundings at a race, or do you stick to the airport-hotel-track-airport itinerary?
DC: Im not really an active tourist, no.
Q: Whats your preferred accommodation at races - city hotel, hotel near the circuit, your own motorhome near the paddock?
DC: I have my motorhome at all the European races near to the paddock and I stay in hotels near the circuits at the long haul races.
Q: Anything you have to have provided in your hotel room, or any luxuries you always bring with you from home?
DC: I normally bring my iPod player with speakers, so I can have my own music, as well as toiletries, things like that - I dont like hotel toiletries.
Q: Any drivers you particularly like hanging out with?
DC: I know Jenson better than the other drivers as weve spent holidays together and things like that, but I dont really socialize during a GP weekend.
Q: Your favourite race for nightlife?
DC: Those will be the flyaway races, such as Montreal or Melbourne, as you have more time. But the reality is that in the week leading up to the race youre getting into the time zone, training and behaving, so youre not really going out and yahooing it up. On a Sunday night it depends on the venue, you might go out, but nothing too much.
Q: Whats the best night out youve had at a Grand Prix? And have you ever overslept the next morning?
DC: Ive never overslept. Ive never had a big night out before a Grand Prix - I might have had a dinner out, but never a big night.
Q: What do you have for breakfast on a race Sunday?
DC: Whatever I feel like eating, but usually muesli, eggs, fruit, stuff like that - nothing fixed. Your preparation is not during the morning of a Grand Prix, but is done leading up to the event.
Q: How much do you drink - and what - over a race weekend? Especially when the temperature is above 35 degrees Celsius?
DC: In Malaysia I was drinking around six or seven litres a day of an isotonic drink.
Q: How do spend the morning on race Sunday?
DC: Theyre usually quite relaxed now. When I started in Formula One we usually had warm-ups, so sometimes we were at the track at 7.30 for an 8.30 warm-up. Now we dont have anything in the mornings, so here in Bahrain I came to the track around 11.30hrs. I was lying by the pool at my hotel in the morning, and did a spot of light exercise and a bit of swimming.
Q: How do you like to get to the circuit on Sunday morning? Do you drive yourself?
DC: My trainer normally drives.
Q: How do you like to spend the hour or so before the race? Any superstitions or pre-race rituals you always go through to bring you luck?
DC: No, no superstitions. I always just make sure Im properly warmed up, stretched, and that all my gears checked. I just have a routine.
Q: What do you do to stay calm as youre sat on the grid awaiting the formation lap?
DC: When youre concentrating on your job, then staying calm isnt a problem.
Q: How do you wind down after the race?
DC: I have a cup of tea and reflect on the weekend.
Q: If things dont go your way and you retire early, do you prefer to get away as soon as possible, or hang out and watch the rest of the race?
DC: I have left before the end of a GP on the odd occasion, but only if I had a long drive afterwards - its been quite rare. Otherwise Ill stay afterwards, do the de-brief and understand how we can improve.