by Rob Wilkins


Red Bull Racing's David Coulthard was in London on Monday to promote his recently released autobiography: 'It Is What It Is'. Radio's Rob Wilkins caught up with him at the 'Pole Position World of Motorsport' Regent Street store - where he was on hand signing copies of his book - and spoke to him about that, the season to date and lots, lots more...
David, have you been pleased with the reception here?

David Coulthard:
Absolutely - and not to sound overly humble, it is always pleasantly surprising to see that people are supportive and still so, even though I am not obviously enjoying as much success as I use to in Formula 1. There are a lot of real hardcore fans out there and the feedback I have had so far, is that they appreciate the fact my autobiography is not just a selection of race reports and obvious statements, it really is the background of where I came from and the journey to reach winning circles in Formula 1.
For those that haven't seen it yet, what makes it a good read?

Because it is open and honest - and not maybe what people would expect happens behind the facade of Formula 1. I tell the story of the difficulties of making my way up through the sport and the commitment that was there, not only from myself, but family and friends - and also the enjoyment, which I have had, through travelling around the world.
We have just had the Italian GP, which was a tough weekend by all accounts for you. Could you take any positives from it?

Yeah, we have always got to look for the fact that despite my retirement after obviously a crash, Mark [Webber]'s car ran reliably in the race and he was so close to being in a position to score a point, which is very valuable for where we are at this time. Now we have four more opportunities to actually do that and we are trying as hard as we can. We are in sixth place in the constructors', which may not sound wonderful, but it is better than the seventh we were in previously. We are in front of Toyota too and they are a team that has been around several years now and have a big budget.
Next up is the Belgian GP, what are you hoping to do there?

It is a fantastic circuit. I absolutely love it. I am looking forward to hopefully having a very strong weekend and of course that means scoring a point. It will be difficult to do, because you have got two McLarens, two Ferraris and two BMWs straight away that have got pace and have got reliability and they tend to be in the top six places. Then you are fighting with Renault, Williams and Toyota - and so there are a lot of cars trying to squeeze into the final two points' places.
What do you think of the changes made to the Spa circuit? Are they generally favourable?

Yeah, it is not a bad solution on that chicane. The pit lane entry is a bit tight, which doesn't really make any sense - it is still part of the racing track, and the rest of the circuit is untouched. I am sure we are going to get some variable weather, which is the nature of that area and that will maybe create a Nurburgring like situation.
Obviously to date this season, Red Bull Racing haven't had the best of results - you've only had two points finishes - two fifths - but are things, generally speaking, moving in the right direction now?

I hope so. It is all a question now of trying to use this car, the structure within the team and the acquisition of new machines and facilities and obviously a lot of new personnel have joined the team as well, to try and build for next season. Clearly we have got to take a significant step forward.
Geoff Willis has recently joined the team, you know him from you Williams days. How can he help? Are you pleased with that appointment?

Geoff is a very grounded, yet talented and creative designer - with aerodynamics as his main forte. I think that he had a very positive impact at Honda, in taking what was quite a heavy car and taking a lot of weight out of it. Obviously he, along with all the other people that have joined the team, need to be able to have the tools at there disposal to come up with a quicker car and that is obviously what he is charged with.
The season is moving into its final stage now, what are the targets for those last few races in Japan, China and Brazil? Is it just to scrape into the points?

Yeah, we have got some developments right through to the end of the season but knowing the way Formula 1 works, unless you have a fundamental problem, which we don't, we just generally need a bit more grip and balance and so I think it is unlikely we are suddenly going to turn up and be as competitive as a McLaren. But we need to finish as strong as we can and then it is straight into winter testing.
Beyond this season, what can RBR do in 2008? Are things looking promising for next year?

I'd like to think so - everybody speaks positively about the year they are not quite in yet, but we have to believe that with the increased financial resource, the increased size of facilities and more clever people, it can only be better.
Do you see yourself continuing in Formula 1 post-2008?

I have no plan to stop racing. So the simple answer is yes, to your question. Yes, as simple as that.
Final two questions, in your opinion, can fellow Brit Lewis Hamilton hold on and win the title in his rookie year? How difficult will it be for him to keep Fernando Alonso behind him, especially now the gap is down to just three points?

It is not any more difficult with four races to go than it was to get in front of him in the first four races. He just needs to use the tools more effectively than Fernando and he will win the championship. A lot of people are saying that because the gap is closing, Fernando is using his experience and things like that. But that is just the way races go. Fernando was unlucky with reliability earlier this season, unlucky with a red flag situation in Canada, unlucky with the penalty in Budapest and all of those things add up. Let's wait and see.
The second World Motor Sport Council spy row hearing takes place this Thursday - do you have any inklings on how it might go?

I obviously have no idea what new evidence is going to be produced and what the cross-examination is going to be. But the rumour is McLaren will lose constructors' points if they are found to have had information regarding the Ferrari car and the organisation for a bit longer than they suggested. I simply don't know what the outcome is going to be, but I do know that having spent nine years with McLaren, they have never tried to seek the unfair advantage. They have always just tried to exploit the rules to the maximum. Also I think Mercedes [McLaren's engine partner] have invested a great deal in the sport. They have been fantastic the way they have acted within Formula 1 and the way they have supported drivers' and continue to do so and it will be a terrible shame for them to be affected by it as well.


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