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"Most Of The Drivers Are Bloody Boring!" - David Coulthard On Drive To Survive

"Most Of The Drivers Are Bloody Boring!" - David Coulthard On Drive To Survive
Eoin Harrington
By Eoin Harrington
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2023 marks 15 years since David Coulthard last drove in a Formula 1 Grand Prix but, on Sunday, he will once again take an F1 car out on track, as part of the Red Bull Show Run on Dublin's Quays.

Coulthard, who drove for Red Bull from 2005 to 2008, and was a crucial part of getting the team off the ground in their early years, will drive the championship winning 2011 Red Bull RB7 along the banks of the Liffey, as part of the first F1 show run in Dublin in 11 years.

He spoke to the Irish media on Friday afternoon ahead of the event, and Balls.ie were there to hear Coulthard's thoughts on Drive to Survive, Max Verstappen, Michael Schumacher, and more.

David Coulthard says Drive to Survive makes F1 drivers seem interesting

Red Bull's F1 show run sold out in minutes when tickets went on sale in December, with up to 10,000 people expected to attend the thrilling event in Dublin's Docklands.

It is an extraordinary symbol of the sport's newfound popularity in this country, thanks in no small part to the Netflix series Formula 1: Drive to Survive, which premiered ahead of the 2019 season, and will release its fifth series in late February.

Speaking to the Irish media ahead of Sunday's Red Bull show run in Dublin, David Coulthard commented on the enduring popularity of Drive to Survive, and how it does a fantastic job of making F1 drivers seem like more interesting characters than they actually are:

There's always going to be a new wave of fans coming along...there's definitely a lot more younger men and women who are now into F1. That will find its way down to the next group. It's not like The Crown where you have to start at season one to really understand the journey. The nature of the sport is you can jump in at any point.

I do see an ongoing interest in this...not scripted, but edited version of the reality. Some of the drivers spoke about that, some of the conversations being placed in places they weren't entirely happy about. The reality is if it wasn't done like that it wouldn't be anywhere near as interesting or as fun. It's part of the show and it's part of the entertainment.

It makes them all seem more interesting than they are. Most of the drivers are bloody boring, to be honest! Netflix makes them seem quite interesting!

One of the storylines we can expect Drive to Survive season five to touch on will no doubt be the late-season tension between Red Bull teammates Max Verstappen and Sergio "Checo" Perez.


Max Verstappen Sergio Perez

The relationship between Red Bull teammates Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez appeared to sour as 2022 progressed (Photo: Shutterstock)

Despite taking five one-two finishes during the 2022 season, the pair's relationship appeared to sour at the Brazilian Grand Prix, where Verstappen refused to let Perez pass to aid his bid for second place in the championship.


Coulthard - an ex-Red Bull driver - was asked for his thoughts on Perez's place within the team, with Verstappen coming off the back of two consecutive drivers' championships.

Perez will have to pull off the season of his life if he is to beat Verstappen in 2023 and, having been teammate to world champions Mika Hakkinen and Kimi Raikkonen, Coulthard understands the pressure Perez will be under - especially with new reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo breathing down his neck:

Having been in a similar situation to Sergio, being up against Mika [Hakkinen] and Kimi [Raikkonen], you've just got to leave no stone unturned. Physical training, mental training - the only way he can improve his qualifying speed is in the car or in the simulator.

Checo will look over his shoulder and see that there is a real reserve driver there [in Daniel Ricciardo].

It does mean that Checo is going to need to keep a close eye on his health, his fitness, not pulling a sickie somewhere. When I was at McLaren I did nine years there - I did every test and never missed a race, even when I was getting out of the car and being sick. I knew the minute I let a test driver get in the car, it gave him an opportunity to show how good he was. You've got to defend your territory.

Coulthard was perhaps unlucky not to win a championship during his 15 year career in Formula 1, winning 13 races during that time. That was in part down to the fact that seven of those 15 years saw Michael Schumacher emerge victorious in the championship.



When asked about how he approached trying to stop Schumacher in races during their time racing together, Coulthard said that he always approached the German as a "benchmark" in races. He made specific reference to one race at Magny-Cours in France where he flipped the middle finger at Schumacher as they raced each other, saying it showed the emotional toil racing against the German took on his rivals:

There's no question that Michael was a benchmark driver for that generation, his records speak for themselves. Quite clearly, when I was on my journey, I was always trying to be the best driver out on track. The history books would show that I wasn't that person but there were more moments when I was able to compete on a similar level.

What it took from me was more commitment, absolute focus, absolute dedication. You hear even more successful than I've been in in my career talk about the dedication, the work, the getting up early and getting extra sessions in.

The pure emotion and frustration and belief that that day was meant to be my day and, in the end, I got the chequered flag. I wasn't able to harness that as often as someone like him, but I retired happy in that I tried my best and that I didn't ever leave one day where I didn't give 100%.

Schumacher remains one of F1's greatest ever drivers statistically, and another member of that club - Sebastian Vettel - departs the sport ahead of 2023.

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel retired at the end of the 2022 season (Photo: Shutterstock)

Vettel was the man who replaced Coulthard at Red Bull when the Scot retired at the end of 2008, and went on to achieve brilliant things, winning four consecutive world championships with the team. Coulthard paid tribute to the retiring Vettel, and bemoaned the struggles of the latter years of his career at Ferrari and Aston Martin:

Sebastian was incredible. Intelligent, fast...his results were incredible...he had a great sense of humour as well.

For me, it was a bit of a shame to see the end of his career not realise what we had seen in his early career, because working in television you have to say what you see. Just because you like the guy you can't say "brilliant performance, 15th, woo, go Seb!" You have to say, "well, that's not great." I had a couple of run-ins with his press officer - who I knew from my time with Red Bull - saying "oh, you're so hard on Sebastian." What could I say when he's just finished 15th?

I'm sure we'll see Seb pop up in other things - whether that's in motorsports or not - he's not disappearing any time soon. He's got too much energy and too much age ahead of him.

The Red Bull F1 show run featuring David Coulthard, Conor Shanahan, and Mike Jensen will take place on Sunday January 15 on Dublin's Quays, and is completely sold out. Balls.ie will be there to bring you all the best of the action on what is set to be a thrilling day of motorsport.

Feature photo credits: 2023 Red Bull Showrun, North Wall Quay, Dublin 13/1/2023 - Pictured is Former Formula One Driver David Coulthard ahead of the Red Bull F1 Showrun which takes place on Sunday on Dublin’s North Wall Quay. David Coulthard will put on an epic motorsports spectacle, showcasing the intense power and speed of Oracle Red Bull Racing’s 2011 Championship Winning RB7 car joined by Conor Shanahan and Mike Jensen. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

SEE ALSO: Imagining What An F1 Irish Grand Prix In Dublin Would Look Like

Irish F1 Dublin 2012

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