David Coulthard began his Formula1 career in challenging
circumstances, after he was promoted from test driver to racing driver at Williams
following the death of Ayrton Senna. The team let him go in favour of Jacques Villeneuve
after the 1996 season, and he moved to McLaren in 1997.
He won his first Grand Prix in Australia that year, but was asked to relinquish a second
victory in the European Grand Prix to boost Hakkinen's confidence. One win in the 1998 San
Marino GP left him unable to challenge for the title, but two wins the following year (in
Great Britain and Belgium) saw him improve his reputation.
The Scot was determined to succeed in 2000 and his three wins certainly helped him towards
his goal (Great Britain, Monaco and France) . His calm handling of the fatal plane crash
that killed both pilots in the lead-up to the Spanish Grand Prix also saw him grow in
stature in the eyes of the press and public. However, once again he was only able to
manage third in the championship standings.
Coulthard has been dogged by the reputation of not quite living up to his promise, and is
determined to finally throw it off in 2001. This year he appears more focused than ever.
He has postponed marrying his fiancee, Heidi Wichlinski, so that there are no distractions
from his ultimate quest of winning the title and appears to have the whole-hearted backing
of his team boss, Ron Dennis.