Retired F1 star David Coulthard has revealed that following almost a year away from competition, he is beginning to look at options for a racing return in 2010 – with sportscars close to the top of his list.
The Scot hung up his F1 helmet at the end of last season, following no fewer than 15 years and 246 starts at the highest level that had yielded 13 grand prix victories, 62 podium finishes and a staggering 535 points – making him statistically the most successful British driver in the sport's history and the fourth-most successful of any nationality, behind only multiple world champions Michael Schumacher, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna.
Since then he has plied his trade as a BBC
pundit for the corporation's F1 coverage this year, but the racing bug and thirst for adrenaline have clearly not deserted him, and ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos next weekend – the same event that twelve months ago marked his short-lived swansong in the top flight – Coulthard admits that his right foot is beginning to twitch again.
“I still think I could compete and be competitive [in F1],” the 38-year-old is quoted as having said by UAE newspaper The National
, “but there's a point [when] it has to come to an end. I prefer to make that decision, but when I retired I said I was not hanging up my helmet.
“I still feel like a racer in my heart and there have been many times this year when I wished I was out on-track. In November/December time I will look at it. I'm not too old to race other things – it could be sportscars. If there's an opportunity, so be it, but I've got other things [to do].”
Those 'other things' allude not only to his BBC
duties and ongoing Red Bull Racing consultancy role, but also his young family, with fiancée Karen and ten-month-old son Dayton – the very reasons, Coulthard affirms, that would likely dissuade him from following in the footsteps of fellow former grand prix-winners like Jacques Villeneuve and Juan-Pablo Montoya and embarking upon a 'second career' of sorts across the Pond.
As to his other alternative career – that of appearing in front of the cameras every other weekend with a microphone in his hand – the Twynholm native admits there are upsides and downsides, but through it all his burning desire to return to the circuit is palpable.
“I enjoy driving more because you're more in control,” he acknowledged. “Being a driver gives you a sense of freedom, of being right on the edge of adhesion, of controlling the power. When you're working in TV, you're part of a number of people and therefore you have to share the responsibility – but as a driver, you're so focused on delivering on the track you don't always get the opportunity to get involved in more of the social side in the different countries.”
Coulthard does have prior experience of sportscar racing, having competed in the legendary round-the-clock Le Mans 24 Hours for TWR in 1993, alongside David Brabham and John Nielsen in a Jaguar XJ220 – but being disqualified from GT class victory and 15th place overall for being found to have had an illegal exhaust system.