On this day in #F1: 24 September

Brought to you by TheJudge13 chronicler Carlo Carluccio

– 1995: Coulthard gets his first win

I would support anyone that plays England”  said Scotsman Andy Murray in 2006.Andy Murray

Yet now, as reigning Wimbledon Champion, he has metamorphosed into Britain’s number 1 tennis player.

It’s not the first time that such patriotic fervour has been bestowed on another nationality in the name of British-ness.

Zola BuddZola Budd, a record breaking South African athlete was fast-tracked through the British citizenship procedure with substantial support from the Daily Mail after they learnt that her grand father was English. Groups that seeked the abolition of apartheid highlighted the special treatment she received as applicants normally had to wait years for citizenship to be granted.

Yet when she failed to win Olympic Gold, her detractors soon forgot she was “British”.

It’s not just England that is guilty of this sporting conduct. Fiona May was born in England and competed for Great Britain between 1987 and 1990 at world level in long jump events.

She married an Italian athlete and took Italian citizenship, and from 1994 she represented Italy at the Olympics and other international contests.

Scotland has produced two of the titans of F1.

Over a decade from 1962 to 1973 Jim Clark and Jackie Stewart dominated Grand Prix racing, winning 5 Driver championships and 52 Grand Prix wins between them and it seemed that in 1994 their legends were going to be joined by a square jawed newcomer.

David Coulthard became Britain’s new hope in 1994 when the tragic circumstances of Imola promoted him from test driver to race driver for the Williams team.

He would compete in only 8 races during the remainder of the 1994 season because Renault demanded a big name in the second Williams. Mansell, the reigning Indycar Champion, would step in when the schedules allowed.

Although having signed for Mclaren for 1995, the FIA Contracts Recognition Board ruled that “Williams is the team entitled to the services of Mr. David Coulthard for the 1995 FIA Formula One World Championship season.

In hindsight this was possibly a great piece of luck considering the respective teams performances in 1995.

In 17 races, he would retire 8 times, record 7 podiums, a fourth place and win his first Grand Prix.

Williams had brought an updated car to Portugal, the FW17B, which proved conclusively faster during qualifying as Coulthard took pole position from his team-mate Hill with Schumacher third fastest. On inspection of the cars after qualifying, concerns were raised over the reliability of the gearboxes. The team decided to revert to the original FW17 as it had proven race reliability.

The race started and was immediately stopped following a start line accident between Katayama and Badoer. The Japanese was extracted from his car unconscious and taken to hospital.

From the restart, Coulthard led into the first corner, followed by Schumacher and then Hill. This would have a profound effect on the race as the Williams strategists changed Hill’s race from a 3 stop race like Coulthard’s and Schumacher’s to a two stop race.

The plan was that Hill would be ahead of Schumacher following the German’s third stop and would defend against the fresher rubber of the Benetton’s driver.

This worked perfectly but Schumacher was forceful and passed Hill for second place, thus ensuring that Williams would not be able to call a switch between their drivers.

Further back, Todt radioed Alesi and told him to allow Berger to pass. This was ignored, so Ferrari gave the Frenchman a slower stop which resulted in getting Berger ahead. As can be imagined, Alesi was not at all happy!

It was a timely victory for DC as he had retired whilst leading the previous two Grand Prix’s, and had been informed two weeks previously that Williams had signed Jacques Villeneuve to replace him for 1996.

So how do we sum up DC? Is he British or Scottish?

I guess it depends on your heritage to begin with. No doubt England fans who remember the friendly football games against the Scots will claim he is from north of the border, especially when he drives into a pitwall during a pit-stop.

Or does he become an honorary Brit/ Englishman when he gives Schumacher the bird during the 2000 French Grand Prix? The one time in Formula One that giving a finger salute seemed appropriate.

Seb take note..

10 responses to “On this day in #F1: 24 September

  1. Apologies Carlo, bu I fail to understand all this “British or Scottish” about Coulthard and the quote from Murray. What does that have to do with anything? Coulthard is British AND Scottish. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that maybe you have a chip on your shoulder when it comes to Scots (sorry, probably my many years living in Scotland have made me a bit sensitive on this matter).

    • I have a friend from Scotland who denies he is British… Scottish yes, Brittish no… heaven knows why.

      I would take a guess the reason why he said Scottish is because if it was British you’d have to include Hill (Snr and jnr), Mansell etc…

      What I think though, if he did not retire those 8 times and looking at his consistency (and he finished 3rd in the championship that year), could he have been a World Champion?

    • “Is he British or Scottish?”
      Of course he’s both… in the same way that Mansell was British and English… but then Nigel became a Manxman… 😉
      I think you might say that if England competes against Scotland the ‘Britishness’ goes out the window but, in F1 they are all British.
      Now, if there was a Scottish GP AND an English GP, things would change again…
      I like the way you add to the basic ‘OTD’ premise, Carlo…

      • Thank you, it’s fun. I have strong opinions and if I’m reading an article or biography, I want to feel the words, not just glaze over them. Looking forward to your next entry. 🙂

    • I have always loved the Scots and Scotland actually, it was just something to provoke some thought.
      It would be similar to say that whilst Alesi was at Ferrari he was Sicilian but once he left he became French.
      I could write these articles with a timeline of who done what and when, but what I have seen from everyone here is we are all passionate, so if I can get people thinking, that’s a bonus.

    • my bad Anijs, Carlo sent the right vid but the quality was a bit bad so thought I’d be clever and search for a better version. I obviously just saw Portuguese Grand Prix.. I have removed that link now.

      • It’s actually quite difficult finding F1 races which have escaped the FOM clutches!

        • Isn’t it just – it drives me insane… and it’s one of the reasons why I also follow IndyCars – because it’s online, and no selfish, self-righteous greedy people have it taken down… Don’t get me started.

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