Q and A with David Coulthard
Red Bull Racing’s David Coulthard has scored more points than any other British Grand Prix driver in the history of Formula One racing and has been a part of the Milton Keynes based squad since the very beginning when they took over from what was then known as Jaguar racing.
However, one thing you don’t hear much about is just how the Scotsman makes sure he's fighting fit when it comes time for racing on a Sunday afternoon. Speaking to the team’s official website, David spoke about jet lag, breakfast and race preparation, simply to find out how he manages to keep his head during a race weekend…
You don't take to the track until Friday morning, but when do you like to fly in?
I normally am at the track on Thursday afternoon, I'll only arrive in the country earlier if I need to acclimatize, otherwise I'll spend as much time as I can in Europe at home.
What's your advice for dealing with jet lag?
The best thing is to do whatever you feel like doing on the plane. If you feel like sleeping, then sleep, but if you don't, then don't as that's what your body is telling you to do. When you arrive, if it's night time you've got to get yourself into bed and, if you don't feel sleepy, take a sleeping tablet or have a few glasses of wine to get you to sleep. I've never done either as I've never had a problem going to bed at the end of a long journey. The most important thing is getting up at the correct time because even if you can't sleep, if you get up, you'll be so tired by the evening then you have to sleep and you're into the zone.
What's your preferred accommodation at races - city hotel, hotel near the circuit, your own motorhome near the paddock?
I have my motorhome at all the European races near to the paddock and I stay in hotels near the circuits at the long haul races.
Anything you have to have is provided in your hotel room, or are there any luxuries you always bring with you from home?
I normally bring my iPod with speakers, so I can have my own music as well as toiletries, things like that, I don't like hotel toiletries.
Any drivers you particularly like hanging out with?
I know Jenson better than the other drivers as we've spent holidays together and things like that, but I don't really socialize during a GP weekend.
Which is your favorite race for nightlife?
The flyaways, such as Montreal or Melbourne, as you have more time. But the reality is that in the week leading up to the race you're getting into time zone, training and behaving, so you're not really going out and yahooing it up. On a Sunday night it depends on the venue, you might go out, but nothing too much.
What's the best night out you've had at a grand prix? And have you ever overslept the next morning?
I've never overslept. I've never had a big night out before a grand prix, I might have had a dinner out, but never a big night.
What do you have for breakfast on a race Sunday?
Whatever I feel like eating, but usually muesli, eggs, fruit, stuff like that - nothing fixed. Your preparation is not during the morning of a grand prix, but is done leading up to the event.
How do you spend the morning on race Sunday?
They're usually quite relaxed. When I started in Formula One we usually had warm-ups, so sometimes we were at the track at 0730hrs for an 0830hrs warm-up. Now we don't have anything in the mornings, so here (in Bahrain) I'll probably come to the track around 11.30am. I may well lie by the pool at my hotel in the morning, and do a spot of light exercise, a bit of swimming or something like that.
How do you like to get to the circuit on Sunday morning? Do you drive yourself?
My trainer normally drives.
How do you like to spend the hour or so before the race? Any superstitions or pre-race rituals you always go through to bring you luck?
No, no superstitions. I always just make sure I'm properly warmed up, stretched, and that all my gear's checked. I just have a routine.
What do you do to stay calm as you're sitting on the grid awaiting the formation lap?
When you're concentrating on your job, then staying calm isn't a problem.
How do you wind down after the race?
I have a cup of tea and reflect on the weekend.
If things don't go your way and you retire early, do you prefer to get away as soon as possible, or hang out and watch the rest of the race?
I have left before the end of a GP on the odd occasion, but only if I had a long drive afterwards - it's been quite rare. Otherwise I'll stay afterwards, do the debrief and understand how we can improve.