David Coulthard

Full Name:
David Marshall Coulthard, MBE
Born:
27th March 1971 (Age 48)
Twynholm, Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland
Nationality:
British
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

Successful in karts from the age of eight, David Coulthard came to the fore with an outstanding Junior Formula Ford 1600 season in 1989. His Eternit Van Diemen RF89 won both such titles and Coulthard then finished third in the Festival against Europe’s best FF1600 drivers. Those achievements were rewarded with the inaugural McLaren Autosport BRDC Award for emerging British talent.

A winner in Formula 3 and F3000

A broken leg at Spa-Francorchamps denied him the chance to win the 1990 British Vauxhall-Lotus for Paul Stewart Racing. He graduated to Formula 3 with the team only to narrowly lose the British title to Rubens Barrichello. He won more races than his rival and some consolation came with victory in the non-championship races at Zandvoort and Macau.

Without a full budget, Coulthard’s F3000 baptism was difficult but a switch to Pacific Racing for 1993 netted victory at Enna-Pergusa and third in the championship. He also raced at Le Mans for the only time that year and his TWR Jaguar XJ220C won the GT class before it was disqualified on a technicality.

Formula 1 with Williams

Coulthard was now testing regularly for Williams and he started 1994 as the Formula 1 team’s nominated reserve. He was second in the opening F3000 race of the year at a subdued Silverstone on the day after Ayrton Senna was killed. Thrust into the limelight by replacing the sport’s star attraction at Williams, Coulthard responded with impressive pace and the team chose him over Nigel Mansell for the following season.

There were impetuous moments however, most notably spinning on the parade lap at Monza (having qualified on pole position as the Italian media speculated about a move to Ferrari) and crashing in the Adelaide pitlane. He would have won the British Grand Prix but for a stop-go penalty and he finally repaid Williams’ faith by dominating the 1995 Portuguese GP to win for the first time.

A move to McLaren

Despite obvious promise, he was released and moved to McLaren for 1996. He would be Mika Häkkinen’s team-mate for the next 98 races – a partnership second only to Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello for longevity.

Initially the McLaren drivers were evenly matched and it was Coulthard who restored the team to winning ways with victories in Australia and Italy during 1997. But when Adrian Newey penned the all-conquering MP4-13, it was Häkkinen who rose to the occasion to secure a first world championship with Coulthard winning at Imola and third in the 1998 standings. The pattern of his McLaren career was set – days when he was the class of the field but it was Häkkinen who mounted a title charge more often than not.

A week after winning at Silverstone for the second successive year, Coulthard emerged unhurt from a plane crash on the way to the 2000 Spanish GP that killed both pilot and co-pilot. Despite cracked ribs, Coulthard ended the week by finishing a brave second at Barcelona.

With Häkkinen contemplating retirement, it was Coulthard who challenged Michael Schumacher for the 2001 World Championship – winning twice and finishing a career-best second in the points. His final McLaren win was the 2003 Australian GP but Coulthard struggled to adapt to the new single-lap qualifying rules.

Red Bull Racing and life after Formula 1

He moved to extrovert newcomers Red Bull Racing for 2005 and enjoyed his last four seasons as GP racing’s elder statesman – freed from the burden of expectancy. Third at Monaco in 2006 and Canada 2008 were Coulthard’s highlights with the team.

"DC" retired from F1 at the end of the 2008 season to work as part of the BBC Television’s commentary team. However, he returned to race a Mercedes in the DTM from 2010 until he hung up his helmet for good at the end of 2012.

It is easy to underestimate David Coulthard’s contribution as a GP driver. Always professional, he was a winner more often than most (13 times) and was a consistently quick qualifier until the FIA changed the rules.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
2012 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft
AMG Mercedes
10 0 0 0
0% win rate
15th 14
2011 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft
AMG Mercedes
10 0 0 0
0% win rate
16th 1
2010 Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft
AMG Mercedes
11 0 0 0
0% win rate
16th 1
2008 F1 World Championship
Red Bull Racing
18 0 1 0
0% win rate
16th 8
2007 F1 World Championship
Red Bull Racing
17 0 0 0
0% win rate
10th 14
2006 F1 World Championship
Red Bull Racing
18 0 1 0
0% win rate
13th 14
2005 F1 World Championship
Red Bull Racing
18 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
12th 24
2004 F1 World Championship
West McLaren Mercedes
18 0 0 0
0% win rate
10th 24
2003 F1 World Championship
West McLaren Mercedes
16 0 3 1
7% win rate
7th 51
2002 F1 World Championship
West McLaren Mercedes
17 0 6 1
6% win rate
5th 41
2001 F1 World Championship
West McLaren Mercedes
17 2 10 2
12% win rate
2nd 65
2000 F1 World Championship
West McLaren Mercedes
17 2 11 3
18% win rate
3rd 73
1999 F1 World Championship
West McLaren Mercedes
16 0 6 2
13% win rate
4th 48
1998 F1 World Championship
West McLaren Mercedes
16 3 9 1
7% win rate
3rd 56
1997 F1 World Championship
West McLaren Mercedes
17 0 4 2
12% win rate
3rd 36
1996 F1 World Championship
Marlboro McLaren Mercedes
16 0 2 0
0% win rate
7th 18
1995 F1 World Championship
Rothmans Williams Renault
17 5 8 1
6% win rate
3rd 49
1994 F1 World Championship
Rothmans Williams Renault
8 0 1 0
0% win rate
8th 14
1994 FIA International F3000 Championship
Vortex Motorsport
1 0 1 0
0% win rate
9th 6
1993 FIA International F3000 Championship
Pacific Racing
9 0 4 1
12% win rate
3rd 25
1992 FIA International F3000 Championship
Paul Stewart Racing
10 0 2 0
0% win rate
9th 11