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McLaren must improve in every area, says Coulthard

March 08, 2004 15:42 IST

David Coulthard has told McLaren they must improve in every area if he and Kimi Raikkonen are to have the tools to take on Formula One champions Ferrari.

"The reality check is a race weekend so there is nowhere to hide from that," said the Scot who finished Sunday's season-opening Australian Grand Prix in eighth place after winning it last year.

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While Ferrari's six times champion Michael Schumacher romped to a dominant one-two win ahead of Brazilian team mate Rubens Barrichello, Raikkonen was sidelined after nine laps with an engine failure.

"We just need to go on with the hard work of making improvements," said Coulthard, whose 13 wins make him the most successful driver currently in Formula One after the record-breaking Schumacher.

"The next question is where do we need to improve and that's quite simply in every area."

The Scot said McLaren should do better in the next race in Malaysia, where Finland's Raikkonen claimed the first win of his Formula One career last year before ending the season as overall runner-up to Schumacher.

"I like Malaysia, it's a fast challenging track and an enjoyable place to be. I think we'll be more competitive there but its going to be a few races before we take the big step forward," said Coulthard.

"We can improve for the next race because we have another front wing that we tried a little bit in Imola."


"We'll be a bit more competitive but clearly there's still a lot of work to be done on car and engine," said Coulthard, in his ninth season at McLaren but due to make way for Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya next year.

"We're not going to bury our heads in the sand and not want to see the reality.

"Now we have this first Grand Prix we can accurately break down where the performance loss is... I'm not out there feeling very confident because the car is tricky to position," added Coulthard.

"We don't really have the confidence to take that leap of faith that you need. You've got to throw a car into a corner and believe that you'll wrestle it through. Otherwise you won't do the lap time."

Coulthard struggled to sound optimistic as he complimented Ferrari on their performance.

"They've kept a low profile during the winter, they've worked away on the car and they've come here with a strong package. That is the benchmark which we all have to try and achieve," he said.

"I need to finish another 10 times in that place (eighth) to get as many points as Michael picked up today. It's going to be difficult to build a serious championship campaign on that."

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