As if there weren’t enough allegations of skulduggery and dirty tricks flying around the F1 paddock already, David Coulthard has thrown another into the mix by turning the spotlight on Ferrari at a press conference where he also praised McLaren boss Ron Dennis.
During qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix the Italian team, not normally known for its blunders, under-fuelled Felipe Massa’s car – dooming the Brazilian to a ruined race.
Coulthard, taking part in a press conference with Massa and other drivers in Istanbul, suggested this might have been a deliberate tactic to favour Ferrari’s other driver, Kimi Raikkonen.
Not entirely seriously, but to Massa’s obvious discomfort, he pondered: “How do we know that Ferrari didn’t deliberately not put fuel in Felipe’s car? Maybe that was a team decision to benefit Kimi. How do you forget to put fuel in a car?”
Massa is reported to have smiled uncomfortably and replied: “Yes, but it was not on purpose. It was a misunderstanding.”
Coulthard’s retort is unlikely to help him sleep better tonight: “A pretty fundamental misunderstanding. I think it’s a conspiracy to favour Kimi. Good luck!”
This is the second reference Coulthard has made to Ferrari in a week – he also referred to inconsistencies in applying the rules to different teams in a column written for ITV’s F1 website.
The exchange about Ferrari followed a discussion about inter-team rivalries, in which Coulthard expressed confidence in the ability of McLaren boss Ron Dennis to sort out the difficulties between drivers Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.
He said: “Ron is as experienced as any team principal to deal with what happened having gone through similar situations. When I was growing up I remember watching Prost and Senna, and I am sure it happened with other McLaren drivers before that, so it is a difficult scenario.
“In Hungary, Ron threw it forward to try and create as transparent as possible an environment so neither driver feels one is being favoured over the other.
“But you can’t control what they do once they are in the car in that a completely rational, sensible person can do the most crazy things.”
Full press conference transcript here: The Official Formula One Website