David Marshall Coulthard, MBE, nickname DC, is an erstwhile British Formula One racing driver, presently a commentator, presenter and journalist. He started with karting before making headway to car racing in the British Formula Ford Championship and the Formula 3000 series. He made his Formula One debut for Williams during the 1994 Spanish Grand Prix and fetched his first Formula One win at the 1995 Portuguese Grand Prix. In 1996 he joined McLaren and moving on won two races in 1997, five races throughout 1999 and 2000, and finished as runner-up in the 2001 Formula One World Drivers' Championship. He secured his last win at the 2003 Australian Grand Prix, left McLaren after 2004 season and joined Red Bull in 2005. He made his last Formula One entry at the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix before retiring from the race later that year. Thereafter he worked with Red Bull as a consultant and joined the BBC as a commentator and analyst for their Formula One coverage. He also participated in the Race of Champions and won the 2014 and 2018 competitions. Starting from 2016, he has worked for Channel 4 as an analyst and commentator.
Childhood & Early Life
David Marshall Coulthard was born on March 27, 1971, in Twynholm, Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland to Duncan Coulthard and Elizabeth Joyce Coulthard née Marshall among their three children.
Coulthard hails from a family with car racing background. His grandfather took part in the Monte Carlo Rally while his father was into karting and became Scottish National Champion. Coulthard developed interest in motorsport in childhood and considered Formula One World Champions Nigel Mansell, Jim Clark and Alain Prost as his idols.
He attended Kirkcudbright Academy where he garnered eight O Grades.
He got his first kart from his father as a gift on his eleventh birthday. He won the Scottish Junior Kart Championship and the Scottish Kart Championship among many other local karting championships. In 1985, he won the Cumbria Kart Racing Club Championship.
Eventually he forayed into car racing winning the British Formula Ford Championship in 1989. He also emerged as the first recipient of the inaugural McLaren/Autosport Young Driver of the Year award that paved his way to test a McLaren Formula One car.
In 1991 he signed with Paul Stewart Racing and competed in the British Formula 3 series and garnered five wins. He finished as runner-up in the Championship. Same year he became winner of the Macau Grand Prix and the Masters of Formula Three and finished second in the annual Formula Three Fuji Cup.
He competed in the 1992 Formula 3000 International Championship and finished ninth. He had stints with Pacific Racing (1993) and Vortex (1994). In June 1993, he competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans as part of the TWR Jaguar Racing team.
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Career in Formula One
He became official test driver of Williams in 1992 and remained so till 1994. Following shocking death of three-time world champion Ayrton Senna, Coulthard replaced Senna for Williams at the 1994 Spanish Grand Prix, marking his Formula One debut. He received an award at the BBC Scottish Sports Personality of the Year and the ITV Young Sports Personality of the Year award that year.
He garnered his career’s first pole position in the 1995 Italian Grand Prix. His first Formula One race victory came on September 24, 1995, at the Portuguese Grand Prix.
He moved to McLaren in the 1996 season where he partnered with seasoned Finnish driver Mika Häkkinen. Prior to the 1996 Canadian Grand Prix, Coulthard’s contract was extended till 1998. He won a 58-lap race in the Australian Grand Prix and a 53-lap race in the Italian Grand Prix in the 1997 season finishing the season in third position in the World Drivers' Championship.
On April 26, 1998, he won the 62-lap race at the San Marino Grand Prix and finished third in the Drivers' Championship while McLaren garnered the Constructors' Championship. He received the Hawthorn Memorial Trophy that year and thereafter four times in a row in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003 respectively.
McLaren retained him in 1999 and he won 44-lap race in Belgian Grand Prix and 60-lap race in British Grand Prix that season. The next season, he won a 60-lap race in British Grand Prix, a 78-lap race in Monaco Grand Prix and most remarkably a 72-lap race win in French Grand Prix that marked first victory of Coulthard at Magny-Cours and the only win of McLaren at the Magny-Cours circuit. Meanwhile he signed a contract extension with McLaren till 2001.
He secured 71-lap race wins in both Brazilian Grand Prix and Austrian Grand Prix in 2001 season which he finished second in the Drivers' Championship, marking his career best. The next season he secured his only win in the Monaco Grand Prix.
He took the final race victory of his Formula One career in the 2003 season winning a 58-lap race in Australian Grand Prix. A contract extension was also signed in August 2003 to retain him till 2004. Later McLaren announced that they would drop Coulthard after end of 2004 season and replace him with Juan Pablo Montoya.
Red Bull purchased the Jaguar team following which on December 17, 2004, Coulthard declared of joining the Red Bull in 2005 season. He had contract extensions with Red Bull over the years and in 2008 he announced that he would retire from Formula One after the end of the season.
Endeavours Beyond Formula One Career
He took part in the international motor sport event Race of Champions for the first time on December 4, 2004. He went on to finish as runner-up in the Drivers' Cup in 2008, and won the 2014 and 2018 competitions.
Following his Formula One retirement, Coulthard was retained by Red Bull as a consultant. An announcement was made on November 25, 2008, that Coulthard would work as a commentator and pundit for the BBC for their coverage of Formula One. He is also a regular columnist for BBC Sport and The Daily Telegraph. After the BBC's terrestrial television rights were acquired by Channel 4, Coulthard started working with the latter as a commentator and analyst from 2016.
Meanwhile in 2010, he made his comeback to active motorsports when he joined Mücke Motorsport in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters and took retirement at the end of 2012.
The inaugural W Series Championship, an upcoming third-tier single-seater racing championship created to encourage more female participation in motorsport, will commence in the spring of 2019 and will see Coulthard in the role of a spokesperson and advisory board member.
Family & Personal Life
Coulthard has houses in London, Belgium and Switzerland and owns many luxury hotels in the UK. He lived in Monaco for a while and owned the Columbus Hotel Monaco.
He was romantically associated with Canadian model Andrea Murray before splitting in the late 1990s; with American model Heidi Wichlinski for around a year starting from early 2000; and had a four-year relationship with Brazilian model Simone Abdelnour till 2005.
On June 2, 2006, he got engaged to Belgian television presenter Karen Minier, with whom he had his first child, Dayton Minier Coulthard, born on November 20, 2008.
His home village houses a museum dedicated to him. His autobiography ‘It is What It Is’ that he co-wrote with Martin Roach released in 2007. He is an ambassador for the charity ‘Wings For Life’ and a Brand Ambassador of Mercedes-Benz. He remained associated with development of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG and is the owner of a midnight blue (904G) 1971 Mercedes-Benz W113 280 SL.
His service to motorsport was recognised by appointing him Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) during the 2010 Birthday Honours.