SILVERSTONE // Despite all the rows that have hit Formula One and threatened the very existence of the sport, David Coulthard is still hopeful that the series will survive intact next year. The former British racer, who retired at the end of last year, has been a worried bystander as the argument between the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) and the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) has got to the stage of the eight teams threatening to form a breakaway series.
But Coulthard, who won 13 races in his career, said: "As with most things, anything can still happen. The teams and the FIA will hopefully keep talking to sort things out. It's another challenge for the sport." The other issue that is been of concern to the former Williams, McLaren and Red Bull driver is the future of the British Grand Prix, a race he has won twice at Silverstone, in 1999 and 2000.
"Regarding Silverstone, the important thing is to keep the British Grand Prix," he said. "If it goes ahead at Donington, then great, but if it were to lose the grand prix completely it would be like losing Wimbledon, another iconic venue for sports," he said. Speaking prior to Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone announcing yesterday that if Donington Park is not ready to host the British Grand Prix next year that Silverstone will again host it, Coulthard had said: "It is a shame this will be the final race at Silverstone, but like every race there, it will still be special.
"Silverstone was a track I've known of since I was a little boy. My earliest memory was in 1990. Standing down on Stowe corner and out of the morning mist, the scream of a V12 Ferrari coming out of Maggotts, then Becketts on to the Hangar Straight. "But to win your home grand prix is the highlight of your career. I won in 1999 and 2000, two different millennia, which won't happen too much, and to win it back-to-back was fantastic.
"But I don't live for yesterday and have no regrets about what happened in the past. "I am 38, have a seven-month-old son Dayton and a beautiful fiance Karen. "I am involved in a sport and business I enjoy and I am way too young to reminisce. I believe my best days are ahead of me, not behind me." While tracks like Silverstone, which staged the first race in the first world championship in 1950, have such historical significance, Coulthard, who now works as a consultant for Red Bull, welcomes the move further afield to new countries and new venues that has led to the sport becoming a truly global series.
In particular, he is excited about the debut of the UAE at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi on Nov 1, which is hosting the finale to this year's championship. Coulthard has held talks with Philippe Gurdjian, board member of the Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management, about getting involved with the capital's venture. "I have talked to Philippe about working to promote the grand prix there," he said. "I am a big fan of the projects he has done before, but I am also a big fan of the region and what it is trying to do with motorsport and Formula One. I am believer in the people, their enthusiasm, open-mindedness, respect for others and their ambition. I am sure it will be a spectacular facility as well.
"It was just a matter of time before a grand prix was staged in the Emirates. I am just surprised it took so long. firstname.lastname@example.org