David Coulthard has moved to squash rumours that he will be shunted off to Red Bull’s B-team next year, or even lose his drive altogether, in order to make way for homeless double world champion Fernando Alonso.
And the Scot is emphatic, saying: “I cannot see Fernando Alonso joining Red Bull in 2008, and I am 100 per cent certain that I will be racing for them next year.”
In the absence of hard facts about next year’s finalised driver line-up the F1 rumour mill has gone wild, linking Alonso with Renault, Red Bull and outside bet Toyota.
He was thought to be interested in a one-year contract to tide him over until a seat opened up at Ferrari – something that Renault, also beleaguered by spy allegations, would not be prepared to offer.
But, writing in his latest column for the ITV F1 website, DC squashes that idea flat.
He says: “I was never worried about that, even when the rumours first surfaced about Alonso.
“What has astounded me more than the rumours is that as of November 21 only two journalists have asked me in person about it. I am not exactly hard to get hold of so it amazes me how little research is made by F1 journos to actually get the facts from the horse’s mouth.
“The contract I signed with Red Bull is binding, we didn’t just sign a piece of paper giving Red Bull the right to put me in any car that they happen to sponsor, it’s very specific and says that I have to drive the car in any F1 event it is entered for.”
He also describes team owner Dietrich Mateschitz as “a man of his word” and says he is very surprised at the part played by Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost in giving the rumours legs.
Tost recently said that he was certain Alonso had been holding talks with Red Bull and that there was no chance of either of his young drivers, Sebastien Bourdais and Sebastian Vettel, being booted out to make way for A-team refugees.
But DC gives this particularly short shrift, saying: “I cannot understand why he would feel it’s appropriate to make a comment about another team, owned by the same parent company, without any authority to do so and no understanding of the contractual situation.
“Scuderia Toro Rosso had the same car as us this year but nowhere near the same performance so shouldn’t he be concentrating on his own business rather than ours?”
The driver line-up is not the only topic covered by DC in his latest outing.
He also has thoughts on the various allegations of espionage, on McLaren’s treatment of its drivers, on traction control and on the wisdom of putting rookie drivers in powerful cars before they are up to it (step forward Interlagos dodgem-car pilot Kazuki Nakajima).
And he doesn’t lose the opportunity for a dig at Michael Schumacher a man who we get the impression has never been exactly one of his favourite colleagues in F1.
Speaking of his recent triumphant return to testing in Barcelona, DC says he can’t understand what all the fuss is about.
“I don’t think it was remarkable at all. It’s not like he was going to turn up wobbling about like John Barnes on Strictly Come Dancing.”
Watch out, mate, your handbag’s showing…
* Read David Coulthard’s full column here.