First of the 2009 driver rumours has been officially confirmed by the subject of the rumour himself. As suggested earlier this week, David Coulthard announced today his decision to retire from Formula 1 racing at the end of 2008 F1 season.
“I would like to announce today my decision to retire from racing in Formula One at the end of this season. I will remain actively involved in the sport as a consultant to Red Bull Racing focusing on testing and development of the cars. I have an open mind as to whether or not I will compete again in the future, in some other form of motorsport, so I am definitely not hanging up my helmet.
The decision to make this announcement at the British GP should be an obvious one for all to understand, as I have achieved two of my thirteen F1 victories at Silverstone and I am a member of the British Racing Drivers’ Club, which hosts this event.
I am proud of my work at Red Bull Racing and will continue to race with the same focus until the last lap in Brazil. Thereafter I will continue to help the team develop and move towards their ultimate goal of winning races.”
David Coulthard started his Formula 1 career as a test driver with Williams in 1993. Following the 1994 death of Ayrton Senna in Imola Coulthard was promoted to Williams race seat. His debut season brought him his first podium and 2 fastest laps. The first race win came in 1995 in Portugal.
Then came the move to McLaren-Mercedes in 1996 where he remained until a room for Juan Pablo Montoya was needed from 2005. Although many expected that to be the end of DC’s career he signed up with new Red Bull Racing team following the purchase of the Jaguar team from Ford.
David Coulthard has so far started 236 F1 races, that puts him 4th place on the all time list behind Rubens Barrichello, Riccardo Patrese and Michael Schumacher. He has won 13 of them including 2 wins in Monaco. His last win came in Australia 2003 with McLaren. From the current crop of drivers only Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen have more race wins next to their name. The last of his 62 podium was last month in Montreal. He still has 10 races to ad to these stats.
It is expected that Sebastian Vettel will be promoted from Toro Rosso to Red Bull proper next year creating a vacancy in the Faenza based team.
Few hours later Red Bull have announced 1 year extension of Mark Webber’s contract with the team.
Photos: Red Bull Racing/GEPA