“When I see everything that I could achieve in Formula 1, it fills me with satisfaction. They will tell me that I could not be a champion. It's true, but I'm not frustrated by it. I raced in great teams and had the opportunity to win races and fight championships. Not all Formula 1 drivers succeed. For that I am grateful ”. That was one of the first phrases David Coulthard told me in an interview I conducted for CORSA in 2008 on the occasion of a visit to Argentina to be the protagonist of a Road Show organized by Red Bull Argentina.
The reflection had to do with his retirement from the F.1, which was going to take place a few days after playing the Brazilian Grand Prix. After that race at Interlagos, which ended in abandonment, DC put an end to a campaign that included 247 GP's, 12 victories, 12 pole positions, 18 lap records and the 2001 runner-up.
The scarce twenty minutes agreed to go toe-to-toe with Coulthard were spent in a room at the Panamericano hotel and to take advantage of every second a notebook served as a memory aid.
-Although you accept not having won the title, did you ever wonder why you could not be champion considering that you were companions of two drivers who were like Damon Hill in Williams and Mika Hakkinen in McLaren?
-I never really asked myself that question ... Winning a title in Formula 1 is beautiful, but not having won it having teammates who did it does not have to be frustrating. I did everything in my power, I did my best, but it didn't happen. From a distance I see that one of the things that differentiated me from them was not having been regular. And to win a championship that is essential. But I don't regret anything. You don't have to be a Formula 1 champion to have a good life.
-Do you remember what you felt the first time you got into a Formula 1?
-Was very young. He was about 19 years old. I do not remember exactly what feeling I had, what I can tell you is that I was surprised by everything I saw. He couldn't believe he was inside the Williams factory. I came from driving very simple cars and I was in the heart of a Formula 1 team. Imagine… It was all new, I didn't want to miss out on what I saw. The day I was able to get on, I was not nervous. I took it as another race car.
-What things do you feel that changed during the 14 seasons that you were in the category?
-The whole business. Now a driver doesn't just have to dedicate himself to driving a car. There are other things that must be taken into account, such as marketing. Obviously, there was also a very large technological evolution. For a reason it is Formula 1.
- How did you change?
-In having more experience in life. But that does not have to do exclusively with being a Formula 1 driver. It is something natural. It happens to anyone. Of course, living in a world like Formula 1 is not easy and, perhaps, you have more experiences than ordinary people. For starters, you go through hundreds of different places and meet a lot of people. What didn't change was the passion I feel for this.
-A few weeks ago Jacques Villeneuve was in Argentina and in an interview for CORSA he said that there were some current Formula 1 pilots who did not live the sport with such passion, do you agree?
-The term passion is very subjective. People are different and experience their successes and failures in different ways. Vettel's celebration of winning at Monza can never be compared to Hamilton's when he achieved his first victory. Simply because they are different people and had different life experiences. I don't really know what Jacques meant by that statement, but in my opinion one cannot speak of passion by putting everyone in the same bag.
-He said it referring to Lewis Hamilton, who came to Formula 1 having unconditional support from McLaren when other drivers, such as Fernando Alonso, had to fight more to have their place in the category ...
-It's true. But Jacques also made things easier for having that last name ...
-Hamilton did thousands of kilometers in a simulator before getting on an F-1. Do you think this can kick off the lab pilots?
-… The world has progressed a lot in this time and it is logical that new technologies are used in a high-level sport such as Formula 1. But I don't think there are laboratory drivers, because ultimately those who are talented will always race . When Hamilton joined McLaren I was a team driver and I can say that he has the attributes to be successful. What I can say is that with all this technology, there will be younger and younger pilots. But the issue here is getting used to the changes. We are no longer in the time of Fangio, Formula 1 is changing from year to year.
-Did you have idols when you were young?
-Honestly no. I liked to watch Formula 1 races. In my youth I asked few autographs. One went to Alain Prost when I was in my 20s and another to Stirling Moss, who is a true legend.
-Before you were married, you were linked to many women. Were you really a playboy?
-According to the reviews, I had many women. But in 15 years as a Formula 1 driver I had four girlfriends. You were probably with more girls than me. What happens is that being a Formula 1 driver one is very exposed. And if a girl comes to take a picture with you, it is already in the newspapers and magazines presenting her as your new girlfriend ...
-How would you like to be remembered?
… When people talk about me as a pilot I would like people to have a positive thought. I want to be remembered as someone who always followed his passion, played by the rules and did his best in every race.