Coulthard as racing dad is an interesting concept. He’s never been one to suffer fools and it’s hard to imagine the signature approach of direct honesty, about himself as much as anyone, would be filtered for his own offspring. “It’s terrible!” he says of the racing dad experience. “I never imagined… you just don’t know until you are there. I always had a great deal of respect for my parents just getting me on the kart tracks, especially travelling down from Scotland at weekends as we did. But now I understand why my mum used to stand, even when I was in F1, with her fingers on both hands crossed all the time. It’s so stressful, you’ve got no control.”
He then reveals attempts are afoot to lure him back into a cockpit. “I’ve had Mika trying to persuade me to do some endurance racing – not karting – and I’ve had Jos [Verstappen] on at me as well.”
The current world champion’s old man has mentioned the Dubai 24 Hours at the end of the year. Would he really be up for such a prospect? “I’m not against the idea. I’ve done one endurance event in 1993” – referring to his only Le Mans 24 Hours, in which he won the GT class on the road sharing a Jaguar XJ220C with David Brabham and John Nielsen, only for the Tom Walkinshaw Racing entry to be disqualified on a homologation technicality.
“If you’ve always been a hobby racer that’s your reality, but when you’ve retired from mainstream racing and you go from being a professional to it being a hobby it’s very difficult to get the focus to the same level it used to be. Do I want to commit to do something with Jos? We might end up fighting…”
His business life is tied into racing too. Coulthard has more skin in Channel 4’s F1 highlights shows than simple punditry, given that he’s co-founder of Whisper, the production company responsible for the coverage. Now he’s expanded into the events world through his agency named, suitably enough, Velocity, which was set up as an arm of a larger umbrella company called TBA Group, run by Guy Horner – brother of Red Bull team chief Christian. Small circles in a small world.
Whisper, co-founded with Sunil Patel and former BBC colleague Jake Humphrey, is a proper success story. “We now employe a couple of hundred people across most sports,” says Coulthard, who has similar ambition for Velocity. “We focus on motor sport because that’s my world and where my contacts lie. We’ve worked with Formula 1, Red Bull, Formula E teams, Extreme E, a new electric boat racing championship. We’re one of the go-to motor sports events businesses.”
Of course, the expanding digital and virtual world are part of Velocity’s brief and he speaks with confidence about ‘the Metaverse’ – without losing his sense of humour. “When the team first came to me with the idea I said ‘well, that sounds like a cool holiday destination, how do I get there?’ But it’s a whole world of opportunity and you need the right people who can translate it into normal, everyday life.”