Formula One veteran David Coulthard has confirmed one of the worst kept secrets in motorsport: he will return to racing this year for Mercedes in the DTM Championship. And the 39-year-old was immediately welcomed by Paul di Resta.
The 23-year-old from Bathgate, who finished second in the 2008 DTM championship, and was third last year, tested with Coulthard earlier this year and today admitted it was great to have the grand prix winner alongside him.
“Having someone of the calibre of David in DTM is not only great for me, but it’s another indication of just how competitive the championship is,” Di Resta, Force India’s reserve driver, said after watching team-mate Adrian Sutil qualify fourth for tomorrow’s Malaysian Grand Prix.
“I grew up watching David racing in Formula One and winning races. Now I’m in F1 as well and I’m going to be going wheel-to-wheel with him in. I think it’s going to be great for the championship, and certainly fantastic for Scotland.”
Coulthard meanwhile, who will continue his role as BBC’s F1 pundit as none of the 10 DTM rounds clash with grands prix weekends, is eagerly looking forward to returning to the track.
“I didn’t actively look to race anything through 2009 but at the season finale DTM race I really got the buzz and the tingle again for the competition,” the Twynholm-born racer, who took 13 victories and 12 pole positions during a 247-race grand prix career with Williams, McLaren and Red Bull, explained.
“That led to a test with Mercedes, which led to me making the decision that I’d like to dovetail my BBC work with racing in the DTM.
“There’s a reasonable level of technology involved in the cars, it’s a professionally run championship and in Mercedes there’s a company I worked with for seven year in my time at McLaren.
“The adrenaline is the thing I miss in everyday life. Do I miss the competition? Only because I know how much fun it is to compete. But there’s not a big void in my life which means I’m missing it.
“But if I can do a championship which fits with my other commitments and I get the buzz you get behind the wheel of a racing car, then why would I not take it? I’m almost 40, I won’t have that option open to me when I’m almost 50.”
Coulthard is expected to test his Mercedes again before the opening round of the DTM Championship at Hockenheim on April 25. For the first time, the series finishes in Shanghai in October.