David Coulthard had lunch at McLaren last Wednesday. No, we don't have an exclusive that he is signing up as Lewis Hamilton's test driver, but he'd bid for a prize at a recent charity auction - and he’d won a trip, with lunch, around his previous employer's huge technology centre at Woking.
Two days later DC announced that he will be calling it a day and retiring at the end of the year, one more of F1’s good guys calling time on a long and distinguished career.
Most of the current crop of F1 drivers were still wearing shorts when Coulthard made his race debut in Spain in 1994, promoted to Williams’ second race seat after the tragic death of Ayton Senna. His subsequent career has been long and distinguished – with 13 victories to his credit – and it’s a shame that it wasn’t topped off by a World Championship. Considerably less talented men have claimed that ultimate accolade, after all.
David has always been a gentleman. I once asked him whether he thought he might have won the 1996 Championship instead of Damon Hill had he stayed at Williams rather than moving to McLaren.
His response put me in mind of golfer Doug Sanders who, having lost the 1970 Open, was asked 25 years later whether he still dwelled on the disappointment, replied; "Not at all. Some days I can go three or four minutes without thinking about it."