“Each F1 team has its own personality, but the thing that bonds all teams is the relentless pursuit of perfection. In F1, the teams debrief post-race and look at where they won a race, but more importantly, where they can do better,” Coulthard said.
Discussing his early days as test driver for the Williams team, Coulthard discussed how he analysed the data from the drivers he worked for, including world champions Nigel Mansell and Ayrton Senna, to identify where his weaknesses were and how he could improve. Coulthard also highlighted the pursuit of improved performance, the continual analysis of the last race, and how diet, hydration, and exercise are now all part every F1 teams’ efforts to gain competitive advantage.
“I made myself the best version of myself,” Coulthard said of his career, which includes 13 Grand Prix wins and 62 podium finishes while racing wheel-to-wheel with names such as Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, and Lewis Hamilton.
When Coulthard started feeling his best days on the track might be behind him, and with a BBC contract beckoning, he asked his team principal to test a young driver named Sebastian Vettel in his place. This was effectively promoting his competition, but an important transition of talent for the team. And, proving that the long view is just as important as fractions of a second, it turns out the choice was a wise one. Vettel, as racing fans know, has since gone on to become a four-time world champion.