F1: DC says he can turn season around

By LJ Hutchins

CalendarWednesday, June 4th, 2008

 
 

David Coulthard is convinced that he can regain control of his chaotic 15th season in Formula One and get some points on the board for his team Red Bull.

So far this year his highest finish position has been ninth and he has faced two retirements after a string of mechanical failures, racing incidents and crashes – not always his fault by any means but inevitably some of the mud has stuck.

It culminated in a horrible weekend at Monaco, a race that he has won twice, becoming the first Briton since Jackie Stewart to win there (we suppose that Lewis Hamilton is now the first since David Coulthard).

He started with mechanical problems but got his RB4 through to the third session of qualifying only to hit the wall on the exit from the tunnel, wrecking the car. He was due to start tenth but then had to take a five-place penalty for changing his gearbox.

During the Grand Prix itself a mixture of racing pressure and dirty weather conditions tempted him into a mistake at Massenet in which he aquaplaned, hit the barrier and was immediately shunted by Toro Rosso stablemate Sebastien Bourdais who had experienced an identical problem.

In the aftermath of the race rumours began to fly around that he would not last the season at Red Bull and even that he might find himself swapped into Renault to replace the hapless Nelson Piquet Jr.

But, writing his regular column for the ITV F1 website, the veteran Scot is stoical – and determined to regain his form in Canada.

Here’s his perspective on the Monaco race accident:

David Coulthard’s Monaco GP column

I started the race with heavy fuel to give myself the maximum flexibility over pit strategy. To begin with things were going OK, but I was closer to Kazuki Nakajima than I would have liked to be because Rubens Barrichello was on my gearbox and hustling to try and pass me.

He got alongside me twice coming out of Casino Square, so I knew I had to get through Casino quickly to make sure he couldn’t get a run on me down into Mirabeau. But as a result I put myself in dirty spray, didn’t see the increase in standing water as I went over the crest into Massenet, aquaplaned and lost the back end of the car.

Normally in the wet I would leave a bit more of a gap to the car in front, unless I was genuinely attempting to overtake, because then you can see the road.

It’s like a sailor being able to watch the waves and know where the wind’s coming from by the ripples on the water. A driver’s the same, watching for changes in the darkness of the track to indicate where there’s a risk of aquaplaning.

But because I was in the spray I didn’t see that and lost control. Then the car sustained further damage when Sebastien Bourdais had a similar accident and piled into the back of me. Read full column here…

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