David Coulthard has, to no-one’s surprise whatsoever, confirmed that he will be putting in an appearance at the Race of Champions event at Wembley in December – in the intriguingly-named ‘Team F1 Racing Great Britain’.
He has taken part for the last four years and, last December, the veteran driver partnered Alister McRae, brother of Colin, in a Scottish team that was knocked out by Jenson Button and Andy Priaulx in the quarter-finals.
On announcing his retirement in July, he was careful not to rule out driving in selected events in the future – a get-out clause that we reported at the time could easily apply to the Race of Champions.
His 2008 team-mate is yet to be announced and, with Button already confirmed for the rival Team Autosport Great Britain, it’s easy to believe the new ‘Team F1’ pairing has been named in a bid to suggest that Lewis Hamilton could line up alongside Coulthard.
Indeed the event co-founder Fredrik Jonsson said after last year’s race that he felt the attendance of Hamilton would give a much-needed boost to ticket sales, and extended an open invitation to him to take part in future events.
However we would counsel caution and remind readers that ‘Team F1 Racing Great Britain’ could as easily extend to Johnny Herbert, Martin Brundle, Anthony Davidson or Gary Paffett as Lewis Hamilton. And it has always been questionable whether the latter’s McLaren contract would allow him to compete.
What’s more, we doubt the name would last five minutes if the IRL’s Dario Franchitti or Le Mans ace Allan McNish signed on the dotted line.
But enough of that. Speaking about his participation, Coulthard said: “I’ve enjoyed coming to The Race of Champions immensely for the last few years. After a long, hard season, it’s great to be able to kick back with an event that’s so much fun.
“Without the pressure of the F1 season, we can really relax and have fun with our driving, and that can only mean a great spectacle for the fans, so it’s also a chance for us to give something back to them for their support.”
Fredrik Johnsson added: “David has been a great competitor and animator in the last four years of The Race of Champions, and everybody is delighted he can make it again this year. He is such a great personality and appreciated by fans and fellow competitors alike.
“Although David has now decided to retire from Formula 1 we sincerely hope that he will continue to compete in The Race of Champions for many years to come!”
Tickets for The Race of Champions are on sale now by calling 0844 412 1743, or online at www.raceofchampions.com. Adult prices start at £18 and child tickets at £9.