With the new season just around the corner, we sat down with BBC F1’s first Scotsman, the immaculately turned out David Coulthard, to get an insight into the 2013 season to come as well as the best way to get over jet lag and Eddie Jordan.
Badger GP (BGP): Another Formula 1 season just around the corner, it’s all very exciting! How are you feeling about it all?
David Coulthard (DC): I am excited about the year ahead, but i’m always a little bit unsure as to what I am supposed to do at this point.
As a driver, I was always uncertain, because the only only way you can know where you stand – you have a sense of where you are in terms of developing the car – is to go out and prove it on track on the weekends that count.
As a pundit and a commentator now, I feel the same emotions – I don’t know who has got the winning car or who is going to win the championship. I have a feeling we will see the usual suspects out there challenging for front rows, and if they can do that they can challenge for victory, but we need to go and see. I can make obvious statements; Ferrari have had a lot better pre-season, Red Bull look solid, McLaren, Lotus, Williams – all of them seem quite happy pounding out the laps, reliability looks strong relative to where they have been in the past.All of that matters for nothing. Mercedes have hit the headlines for getting the fastest lap in Barcelona, but it doesn’t matter.
You can be winter world champion all you want. You have to go and deliver it when it counts – 19 qualifying sessions and, more importantly, 19 races.
BGP: There is a bit of a change in the coverage for the BBC with Jake’s departure. Are you going to be able to control Eddie (Jordan) on your own?
DC: I feel I have let the public down. It took me four years to get rid of Jake, now I’m going to focus on Eddie. Seriously though, Jake was fantastic at fronting the show – he was great for Eddie and I as we had no TV experience and he was a TV professional. He’s also a business partner of mine now.We have a business called Whisper Films, so we have an ongoing relationship that has been going on for a couple of years. I recognised all of the potential in Jake even before I understood television – not that I am sure I do fully understand it. He’s moved on and has a new opportunity, become a father, that sort of thing. What that has done is allow natural change and shake up.
Suzi has come in, having known her over the years I have been to MotoGP, I know that she is very comfortable in the motor-sports world. She’ll be absolutely fantastic. Her biggest challenge is controlling Eddie, because seriously that is a *big* job. No joke. It was a big job for Jake, and he was great at it. Three or four seconds before we would come into a segment, he would literally be shouting at Eddie; “Get here, stand here”. He was not only holding the show together in terms of the content but also managing us and getting us in the right place. That’s something I’ll be looking to help Suzi with as much as possible. Eddie is doing the live races, but we’re going to have the great skills of Lee (McKenzie), the technical input of Gary (Anderson) and now my old friend Allan McNish coming on board too.
BGP: To finish up, we’d like to ask you a few questions to take you away from the glamorous jet-setting world of Formula 1, and give an insight into what it’s like to be David Coulthard. You guys travel a lot – How do you deal with the jet lag?
DC: Personally, I don’t take pills or anything like that – don’t worry about getting into the time zone before you travel, it just messes your time up at home. Live your life normally. If you feel tired sleep. If you don’t feel tired, don’t sleep.
Whatever you do at your destination, if you can arrive in the morning, that is a lot better because it’s easier to keep yourself awake than try and force yourself to sleep. In Australia, I’l be arriving at 2AM. By the time I get through customs and got to the hotel it’ll be 4AM – then I unpack and have a shower, it’s 5AM – go to the gym, 6AM – have some breakfast, 7AM. Stay awake all day, then by 8 – 9 o’clock in the evening… bang dead asleep. You might wake up in the night, but you’ll have broken your cycle. Arriving in the evening and trying to force yourself to go to bed is a really difficult thing to do. Go outside too… Whatever the weather; sunshine, rain, doesn’t matter, just get outside. It’s very difficult to sleep when you’re walking. Don’t sit in your room watching TV, it’s easy to fall asleep in a chair.
BGP: Finally, what is your favourite cheese?
DC: Now that is a good question. I do like cheese, I don’t run to the supermarket thinking “I must go to the cheese counter”, but in our fridge there’s the usual backbones; Mozzarella Cheddar, Gouda – all fairly mild stuff. I do like a bit of blue cheese, but i prefer not to have what I call “stinky cheeses” in the fridge at home. We have a couple of fridges and when my Belgian fiance does get the more stinky cheeses, they have to go into a specific fridge. For me, food should be enjoyed but you don’t want the after-taste or smell. We have a separate little fridge for cheese. We don’t get anything particularly exotic, but I do like to experiment with different cheese boards at hotels and the like – although I wouldn’t go to the supermarket and buy a selection.
BGP: I think that is the most comprehensive answer to this question we’ve ever had… thanks
DC: They do this wonderful cheese in Switzerland, where you turn this thin you have at home and it shaves the cheese off into cheese-cones, so you get lots of layers of cheese. I’m not a chunky cheese person. You get these beautiful colors and textures- a really nutty flavor.
BGP: Thanks for that David, have a great season.
DC: You’re welcome and thanks.