(c) 'Who is Who' by Steve Small, 2000 Родился: 27.03.1971 Твайнолм, Кёркедбрайт, Шотландия Сезонов в Ф1: Лет в Ф1: 15 Гран При: Старты: 246* *не стартовал: 1 Победы: подряд: Подиумы: подряд: 6 Поул-позиции: подряд: 4 Первый ряд: подряд: 7 Быстрые круги: подряд:
Твайнолм, Кёркедбрайт, Шотландия
Сезонов в Ф1:
Лет в Ф1:
15 Гран При: Старты: 246* *не стартовал: 1 Победы: подряд: Подиумы: подряд: 6 Поул-позиции: подряд: 4 Первый ряд: подряд: 7 Быстрые круги: подряд:
246* *не стартовал: 1 Победы: подряд: Подиумы: подряд: 6 Поул-позиции: подряд: 4 Первый ряд: подряд: 7 Быстрые круги: подряд:
Победы: подряд: Подиумы: подряд: 6 Поул-позиции: подряд: 4 Первый ряд: подряд: 7 Быстрые круги: подряд:
6 Поул-позиции: подряд: 4 Первый ряд: подряд: 7 Быстрые круги: подряд:
4 Первый ряд: подряд: 7 Быстрые круги: подряд:
7 Быстрые круги: подряд:
With great parental encouragement, David was driving karts by the age of eight and was such a natural that it was inevitable that he would go racing. His breakthrough came in 1989, with his move into junior Formula Ford 1600. He dominated both championships, and joined Paul Stewart Racing in 1990 to contest the British Vauxhall Lotus Challenge and GM Lotus Euroseries. He could possibly have won the former, but a broken leg sustained in an accident at Spa stymied the young Scot's chances, and he ended up a disappointed fourth overall.
Staying with PSR in 1991, Coulthard moved up to Formula 3, and waged a season-long battle with Rubens Barrichello. Despite winning five rounds (one more than the Brazilian), he had to be content with the runner-up spot. There was, however, the satisfaction of winning the prestigious European Marlboro Masters of Formula 3 race at Zandvoort and he followed this up with a stunning drive to win the end-of-season race at Macau - proof indeed that David was truly a star in the making.
Perhaps expectations were too high as he took the step up to F3000 for 1992 and for a while the Scot struggled to find his feet, but by the end of the year he was on the podium and looking a good bet for honours in 1993 with a switch to the Pacific team. A first win was duly delivered at Enna, but his season tailed off somewhat thereafter. By this time David had had a number of outings as a test driver for the Williams-Renault team and he quickly impressed all at Didcot with his positive feedback.
He was appointed the team's official test driver for 1994 and was contemplating a third year in F3000 at the season-opener at Silverstone when the dreadful news of Senna's death came from Imola. David overcame his shock to take second place in that race before stepping into the Grand Prix arena and, in the inevitable turmoil that followed, displayed remarkable maturity for one so inexperienced.
Relaxed and easy off track, he showed tremendous poise behind the wheel. Always aware of the need for him to back Damon Hill's title bid, David was the perfect team-mate and, given his performances, must have been disappointed to have to surrender his seat to Nigel Mansell for the last three races of the year. The uncertainty regarding his immediate future was clearly unsettling for Coulthard, who hedged his bets and signed a contract with McLaren for 1995. In the event a tribunal confirmed that he would remain at Williams but his early-season form was decidedly patchy. He was constantly troubled by tonsillitis and it was only after his tonsils were removed that his real ability became apparent. David would have won the British Grand Prix but for a stop-go penalty incurred through no fault of his own, but his dream of a Grand Prix win was finally realised with a truly dominant performance at Estoril. On the debit side, though, he tended to make a number of elementary mistakes which cost him dear, culminating in the embarrassment of sliding into the wall on the pit lane entry in Adelaide.
David was free to move to McLaren for 1996, but all his innate self-assurance was needed during a difficult first full season with the team. Uncomfortable with the handling of the car, he was often a tad slower than team-mate Mika Hakkinen and, apart from being unlucky not to win in Monaco, generally delivered less than he promised.
The 1997 season began in the best possible fashion with a win in Australia which signified that McLaren were back after three lean years, and it was generally a much more convincing campaign for the Scot, who was evenly matched with Hakkinen and, having scored another victory at Monza, stepped aside to allow his team-mate to win the season's finale at Jerez.
He did the same in the 1998 Australian Grand Prix after a pre-race agreement and in some ways it proved to be his undoing. Hakkinen upped his game as the season progressed to mount his successful championship bid and David was left to play the subordinate role in the team. This pattern was to continue in 1999, with the often unlucky Coulthard too rarely making the absolute most of his equipment. On his day he had the legs of everybody, and no one could catch him at Spa, Magny Cours or Sepang, but only the first of these races brought him the win he deserved.
For David, the reality appears to be that he is not quite on the same level as Hakkinen or Michael Schumacher, but there should be no shame in that, for he is still a very talented driver with much to offer. His fifth season with McLaren could be crucial to the Scot's future. Whether he remains among the elite group contesting the championship, or ultimately slips down the grid to join the also-rans, is very much in his own hands.
(c) 'Who is Who' by Steve Small, 2000
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