Scottish David Coulthard, world runner-up in Formula One in 2001 (with McLaren) told EFE in Salzburg that Spaniard Fernando Alonso “wants to return to Formula One, but” that the double Asturian world champion may have “run out of options. ”
“I know he wants to come back, but it seems that his options are running out. ”He explained to Efe Coulthard, 48, during the presentation, in the second most important town in Austria, of the Alpha Tauri team (former Toro Rosso), where he served as master of ceremonies.
“I don’t think Mercedes needs or loves him; I don’t think Ferrari needs or loves him. Nor do I think that is the case of Red Bull … so, what will he do ?, return to McLaren ?; Would they want him there again? ” Coulthard wondered when he was questioned by Efe about a possible return to the queen category of the Asturian pilot.
“I think there is a time when you have no choice but to accept things. For me, Fernando is one of the most talented drivers in the history of Formula One, with that strange talent comparable to that of (the English Lewis) Hamilton, (the German Michael) Schumacher or (the Brazilian Ayrton) Senna; that everything they pilot or piloted, they always did at great speed, “explained the Scotsman.
“Everybody, at some point, the time comes. And it may have come to him ”, He told EFE Coulthard in the ‘Hangar 7’ of Salzburg Airport, during the presentation of Alpha Tauri.
“I think everything is open. Mercedes continued to be the team to beat last year, but Ferrari advanced and Red Bull too. And the differences in the engine are reduced,” said Coulthard, thirteen times victorious in Formula One , category in which he climbed 62 times to the podium and finished four times the World Cup in third position.
The Briton believes that the next championship, which will start on March 15 with the Australian Grand Prix, in Melbourne, will be much more even than the previous one. “This year I don’t know who will win the World Cup, but I have a feeling that the differences will be much narrower,” he said.
“If Red Bull manages to win this season earlier than he did last year, we know that (the Dutchman) Max (Verstappen) will be dangerous. He is one of the pilots who can measure himself to Lewis (Hamilton),” Coulthard said, that after his first two years at Williams he spent nine at McLaren, before driving his last four seasons at Red Bull.
“And (the Thai) Alex (Albon) will have a great opportunity to match Max. If he does, we will have another superstar. If not, he will simply be another great pilot,” he said.
“Of course it can be Max’s time. He is an incredible driver. He has speed, self-confidence and much more maturity, already; although he has his particular way of doing things. So I think it can be a great opportunity for him , that is clear, “said the Scotsman, who thinks the Honda engine is also” ready. “
“The engine was already reliable last year; and fast enough to win some races. We knew that Mercedes had an advantage last year and that Ferrari had an advantage in qualifying; but, despite Honda being late again to F1 with the new regulations, they have cut differences. And their victories last year were really impressive, “he said.
“I hope that not only the engine, but that the entire Red Bull package is strong from the beginning; but I’ve been long enough in F1 to know that not only because something is expected, that will happen. There are so many elements to keep in mind that they must coincide … and not all the conclusions you draw from the wind tunnel are accurately reflected on the track, for example. You have to wait, “said Coulthard, who valued the new generation of stars in F1 .
“They are very good. Apart from Max, there is (the Monegasque) Charles (Leclerc, from Ferrari). He has already spent his first year (in a good team). The honeymoon is over for him; now he is fully involved in their marriage. So I guess it will be more difficult, because now it is expected that it will always be fine, “he warned.
“(The German) Seb (Vettel, companion of the previous one in Ferrari) had a bad year. That is clear. But his expectations were to have a car with which he could fight the World Cup. Leclerc’s were simply to drive and see what happened. Now Charles’s expectations are the ‘poles’ and the victories. There will be pressure. Some pilots shine when there is one, and others simply aren’t capable, “Coulthard said, applauding Toro Rosso’s metamorphosis to Alpha Tauri.
“It represents a cooler identity for the team, because when it was Toro Rosso it was practically limited to being the second Red Bull team, it was not associated with a brand that wanted to sell something, as is the case now, with its fashion line” , he said.
“The goal before was to get young drivers. And the high point of the team was reached in 2008; when (German Sebastian) Vettel won in Monza (Italy) as Toro Rosso. But now, being Alpha Tauri a new brand, even if it is from Red Bull, they want to remain associated in the technological part, but they also want success, from the commercial point of view. So I think it’s important for the team, ”Coulthard said in Austria. EFE