Coulthard says media key to F1 snobbery

Tue, 4 September 2007, 01:29

David Coulthard says the media is partly the reason for a breakdown in relations between formula one drivers and its fans.

The pinnacle of motor sport has become notoriously more exclusive in recent years, and Coulthard – the oldest current driver on the grid – explained that part of the reason for the caginess has been the development of “communication technology” such as the internet.

Scotsman Coulthard, who is 36, described the gulf between drivers and the media as a “key problem” for formula one.

“The way the sport is reported has changed completely since I started in 1994,” he wrote in his column for ITV.

Coulthard explains that in the subsequent 13 years it has often become necessary for drivers to be “guarded” with the media against “being misquoted or stitched up”.

“The truth is that most journalists that work in the paddock are decent and honourable people,” he wrote. “But then one or two that are just searching for the headline quote ruin it for the rest.

“They just want a soundbite that will out-scoop all the other websites. They are not interested in the real story.”

Coulthard, who now races for Red Bull, defended his former team McLaren for protecting rookie Lewis Hamilton from headline-seekers.

In Hungary, for instance, the Mercedes-powered team’s drivers did not address the media on Thursday, and in Turkey they controversially called off their visit to the paddock altogether.

Coulthard said: “I guess my point of all this is that because the ferocity of competition within F1’s media has become so intense, it is harder for the drivers to trust them.

“Therefore it becomes harder for the public to get to know us as well as they might. It’s no-one’s fault but I think it makes that invisible barrier between the fans and the drivers harder to break down.”

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