Dennis favours one driver says Coulthard

Mon, 29 October 2007, 01:50

F1 veteran David Coulthard has refused to back McLaren’s insistence that the team always treats both its drivers equally.

Amid Fernando Alonso’s suspicions of favouritism towards his British teammate Lewis Hamilton this year, Coulthard admits that he also experienced moments of second-rate treatment throughout his McLaren tenure in 1996-2004.

Coulthard, who now drives for Red Bull, said he discovered as early as his first race for the Woking based team that boss Ron Dennis cared more about teammate Mika Hakkinen.

“The first sign that there might be specific favouritism towards Mika came in Melbourne 1996,” the Scot wrote in his autobiography ‘It Is What It Is’.

“I was with my race engineer and Mika was chatting to his.

“The door opened and Ron walked in. I stood up to shake his hand and Ron ignored me. Instead he strode over to sit next to Mika and said, ‘What’s the plan (for the race), guys?’ We all listened to Mika’s plans and then Ron said, ‘OK, what are they doing?’

“Here was my team principal talking about me as if I was a rival team. ‘They’ is not a word you use in a team situation, surely?

“At that exact moment, I think the naivety, the innocence of my youth, shattered around me,” Coulthard added.

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