Veteran F1 racer David Coulthard will take part in a press conference at 3pm today as part of the run-up to the British Grand Prix – and the BBC is far from alone in speculating he will use it to announce his retirement.
But there seems precious little evidence to back it up.
The Scot, who has spent 14 years in F1 and amassed 13 wins, has recently gone on record saying he still had the desire to compete at the highest level.
But, ever the realist, he knows the choice might not be his. He said in pre-race interviews last week: “It’s relevant to ask the question because I’m the oldest driver and there is a lot of speculation about my future, but the age thing is not the factor for me.
“The longest contract I have ever had in F1 has been a two-year contract, every other one has been a year-by-year deal, therefore you always have to think this might be the last time.”
On the basis of that, press reports have spread like wildfire suggesting a retirement announcement is a near-certainty.
Conspicuous by their silence on the subject are more level-headed specialist motor sports news sources such as F1Fanatic and Autosport – who recently conducted a Q&A with Coulthard in which he was realistic about the looming end of his career, but showed no signs of wanting to hasten the day.
Perhaps someone has quietly been given the nod by DC on a non-quotable basis, and these stories are based on harder facts than they seem. And quite probably Coulthard will find himself under heavy pressure at the end of the season to make way gracefully for Sebastian Vettel.
But we reckon these stories are the inevitable consequence of a thoughtful man giving nuanced and honest answers when his questioners, by the large, wanted a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
Asked continually ‘is your career just about over’, he’s realistic enough to answer ‘it might be’.
One day he’ll answer ‘yes’ instead. It might even happen later this afternoon. But until we hear it from the man himself, we’ll continue to believe ‘maybe’ means ‘maybe’.