Coulthard slams media for ‘team order’ uproar

Sun, 3 June 2007, 01:09

Formula one veteran David Coulthard has slammed the British media for criticising his former team following the recent Monaco grand prix.

The Scot, who drove for McLaren for nearly a decade until the end of 2004, accused British journalists of wrongly depicting Ron Dennis’ squad as “the big bad racing team screwing the nice British driver”.

F1’s governing body this week cleared McLaren of wrongdoing after ordering rookie Lewis Hamilton to follow teammate Fernando Alonso home on the narrow Monte Carlo streets.

But 36-year-old Coulthard, who now races for Red Bull, urged the media to similarly go easy on Woking based McLaren.

“(They are) helping Lewis create the foundations of his future success, fame and fortune. So I don’t think you can say they’re not being fair,” he said.

Coulthard was on the receiving end of Dennis’ team orders in 1997 and 1998, and said they are “inevitable” in motor sport.

He went on: “Was it fair on Lewis to ask him to back off in Monaco? My answer is, what’s fair?

“I would say to (the media), don’t be hard on McLaren because they have given Lewis the opportunity. They have given the media a potential British world champion this year.

“If they want to give Lewis the time to grow as a grand prix driver … then I would suggest they shouldn’t do anything that alienates his relationship with the team, because put him in a Spyker and he ain’t going nowhere!”

Former grand prix team owner Eddie Jordan, meanwhile, famously employed team orders to protect his team’s first win in Belgium in 1998, and in his new autobiography ‘An Independent Man’ he defended using them to prevent Ralf Schumacher from passing his leading teammate Damon Hill.

“We did not want a fight between the two drivers,” he confirmed. “They were asked to hold position.”

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