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2014 F1

Coulthard – enjoying life on the other side

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The former racing driver gives us a taste of his new life in the F1 media corp.
F1 Grand Prix of Russia

During his 15 seasons driving in Formula One, 13-time Grand Prix winner David Coulthard had more than his fair share of media scrums, press conferences and race interviews.

Now in his sixth season working for the BBC as a pundit and commentator, he gave RedBull.com an insight into what it’s like asking the questions rather than fending them off!

Red Bull: What has been the biggest learning curve during your time in broadcasting?
David Coulthard: Being able to deal with multiple voices in your head. The ear pieces don’t just keep the noise out, you’re getting direction on your cue point and when to wrap it up. At the beginning I could just hear myself and the person I was talking to rather like the first years in F1 when you have no spare capacity to do anything other than drive. As you get more experienced you can take on additional information.

There’s more adrenaline when I’m on the grid and I have to lead the show.
F1 Grand Prix of Russia - Qualifying
RB: What goes through your mind before going live on air?
DC: If it’s the opening of the show I’m pretty chilled because I know that I’m going to get asked a question which I find pretty straightforward. However, if I’m on the grid and I have to lead the show and chat to drivers, there is more adrenaline and focus because I’m in charge.

RB: Can you talk us through your schedule on a grand prix race day?
DC: At live events I get to the track at 8.30am with the first production meeting at 10am to discuss the running order. Then at 10.30am we have a viewing of VTs before a briefing with a couple of the British teams at 11.30am. At 12.30pm it’s time for sound checks and then straight into our pre-race coverage. We can be on air until around 5pm with interactive and highlight pieces. After that it’s a sprint to the airport!

RB: Is there a moment from your broadcasting career that stands out?
DC: Like racing I tend to remember the mistakes more than anything because you aim for success. Moments like Spa this year stand out when the radio microphone went down but I just had to keep going because I wasn’t sure if it was a failure of my ear set or the microphone. It can get very chaotic especially when it rains or an interviewee doesn’t turn up.
Formula 1 F1
RB: Which drivers are easiest to work with?
DC: The guys I know personally tend to be easiest. However the set-up of certain teams means that I’ve never done anything with Fernando Alonso for instance as Ferrari prefer set interviews rather than features. In general though, the majority of drivers embrace the media because it’s in their interest given the public aspect is what pays their salary.

RB: If you could choose any racing personality to join your team as a pundit, who would it be?
DC:That’s tricky, there are a few good ones! Nigel Mansell has his own distinct mannerisms and way of describing things. He also has great stories from his racing days. Sir Jackie Stewart is another one with great insight and is the consummate professional and then there’s Alain Prost but it’s slightly harder with him because English is his second language.

Daniel Ricciardo would be a fantastic pundit.

RB: Are there any current F1 drivers that stand out as potential pundits?
DC: Any of the guys who are outgoing like Jenson Button or Daniel Ricciardo
would be fantastic. However, it’s less likely that Kimi Raikkonen would do it. He might be good for one liners but probably no good for filling! I could be wrong but I’m only going on what I’ve seen as a team-mate. (Red BUll)

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