David Coulthard has been told that he can remain in his consultancy role with Red Bull Racing despite having been elevated to the BBC's commentary team alongside former manager Martin Brundle.

While the decision to pair the two former drivers in the commentary box has already attracted criticism from fans, many also cited DC's links to Red Bull as a potential area for concern when it came to an unbiased view of proceedings.

The BBC, however, appears happy to allow the Scot to keep his ties to the reigning double champions, a deal rumoured to be worth around ?4m a year.

"David Coulthard will not be asked to drop or suspend his ties with Red Bull in the interests of impartiality," a BBC Sports spokeswoman confirmed to Scotland's newspaper.

"We have always been aware of this off-air relationship, which has been the case for the last two years, and will continue to manage this editorially to ensure that the relationship doesn't compromise the output.

"We take steps to ensure that none of the off-air relationships that our talent may have can compromise on-air activity."

While the final comment may not be enough to satisfy critics, who question whether the decision flies in the face of the BBC's mandate for impartiality from all journalists, sports pundits and commentators.

"The BBC should already be considering the implications of this appointment," Labour culture spokeswoman Pauline McNeill complained, "David Coulthard is a great catch for the BBC, but they have to make sure the rules are applied equally to all staff.

"The rules have to be the same for everyone - there can not be exceptions for individuals if impartiality is to be maintained."

Coulthard, having raced - and won - for both Williams and McLaren, ended his career at Red Bull Racing in 2008, having raced with the team for four seasons. He remained on board as a consultant, and occasionally filled the third driver role at grands prix, as well as testing its cars.

"This is a real test of transparency and a question of being vigilant," Argyll and Bute MP Alan Reid, Liberal Democrat spokesman for Scotland, insisted, "If everything is kept above board and declared, there shouldn't be a problem. But, if he says anything unduly supportive of Red Bull, or is less than impartial, it will be noticed and acted on."



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