Coulthard Wonders About Williams
April 11, 2001 | 11:00 A.M. EST
Coulthard, who made his Formula One debut with Williams in 1994, said earlier this week that his motivation to move to his current team was more based on ‘stupidity’ and ‘inexperience,’ rather than a desire to win.
“In 1995, with very little F1 experience, I finished just 20 points behind my teammate Damon Hill, so I think I could have been pushing him hard in 1996 - the year he won the title," he said.
The McLaren driver said his management at the time, IMG, were more interested in taking a percentage of his salary than looking out for his best interests, and believes it was possibly the wrong time to come to McLaren.
"I was being managed by IMG at that point and their way of earning money was by taking a percentage of my salary. I was obviously on a Frank Williams salary at Williams and McLaren offered me considerably more money over a two-year deal and that was of interest to IMG, of course. And, stupidly, I accepted it."
"They were saying: ‘Look at all that money!’ And I was saying: ‘Yeah, look at all that money!’ We ended up signing a contract to go to McLaren for 96 and 97 as early as December 94, and I believe that may have been wrong at the time.”
Coulthard won the Grand Prix of Portugal with Williams in 1995, and has won nine more with McLaren since 1997.
Coulthard also spoke of his disappointment in the imbalance within the team between himself and two-time world champion Mika Hakkinen.
When asked if it bothered him that technical director Adrian Newey stations himself in Mika’s half of the garage, Coulthard replied: "If you were due to see the chief executive and you ended up seeing the managing director instead, and you knew that the chief exec was the one who was going to make the decision, wouldn’t you think: ‘Why have I not got my audience?’
"So, of course it makes a difference to me. It makes a difference, at the very least, psychologically. If I look at what I’ve got to go racing with, and then look at my competition, I want to see that balanced."