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Coulthard targets Toyota, Williams
Alan Baldwin |
March 04, 2004 12:15 IST
David Coulthard has targetted Toyota or Williams to save his Formula One future after Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya replaces him at McLaren next season.
"Toyota are a team that needs a winning driver," the 32-year-old Scot told British reporters before Sunday's season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
"There is no question that they are moving forward. I would also love to drive for Williams," said Coulthard, who started his Formula One career in 1994 with Frank Williams's team before moving to McLaren in 1996.
"I will give 100 percent to McLaren this year to try to win Grand Prix so that I can be on the grid in 2005 in the best possible seat available."
Williams need to find a replacement for Montoya and could even have two vacancies for 2005 if Germany's Ralf Schumacher, Michael's younger brother, is not retained beyond the end of the season.
Toyota have Frenchman Olivier Panis, at 37 the oldest driver on the grid, and Brazilian Cristiano da Matta.
The Japanese car giant, starting their third season in Formula One, are generally reckoned to have the biggest budget of anyone and are seen as champions of the future.
However, they have yet to make an impact with only a handful of points so far. Panis has won just once in his career, in the freak Monaco Grand Prix of 1996, while Da Matta was a rookie last year after winning the CART series in America.
Coulthard, overall runner-up to Ferrari's Michael Schumacher in 2001 and winner in Australia last year, has won 13 races in 157 starts.
His tally of wins is second only to Michael Schumacher, who has a record 70 victories, among active Formula One drivers.
On Sunday, the Scot will set a record for the number of starts by a driver with one team -- 133 -- but he accepted that his time at Mercedes-powered McLaren was nearing the end.
"There's no reason for me to throw my dummy out because this is a chance to seek pastures new," he said.
"It's not as if I caught the missus (girlfriend) cheating on me. I'm not married to McLaren and, inevitably, after nine years there will be a natural point to move on.
"I have never had the emotion towards McLaren that people think I had. Formula One is my passion; McLaren isn't my passion. I dream of winning races, I don't dream of McLaren.
"I have always felt drivers are replaceable because F1 isn't a life career."
Coulthard said moving to a second rate team was not an option. But he was also determined to avoid following Canadian friend Jacques Villeneuve, who lost his place at BAR at the end of last year, off the stage.
"I am 32 years old and I don't see anyone who is doing more in terms of being professional and being prepared to deliver, so I see no reason to consider that it is time to do something else," he said.