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British GP: Thursday Press Conference

NEWS STORY
03/07/2008

David, give us the background to your decision to retire?
David Coulthard: There is not one morning you wake up if you are looking for a date, but I have had a growing feeling that this year is the right time to make it my last year in F1. I am enjoying very much the challenge and the racing even though I had a few incidents at the beginning of the year. The thought process was there before then. I am still competitive with the machinery I have got. After 15 years I am clearly not going to battle for a World Championship and am unlikely to win another grand prix unless something remarkable happens this year. I feel fulfilled in the role I have played at Red Bull. I took that job a few years and I have helped the team grow and I have seen the team move forward and be taken seriously I believe in the paddock, not that they weren't taken seriously before. But people didn't know what to expect from Red Bull. I just think it is a good time. I will be 38 next year and nothing lasts forever. I have enjoyed my racing and now is the right time.

Has it been a difficult decision to make?
DC: Not really, no. I have always had a fairly realistic view on the career of a sportsman, how long it may last and the opportunities that are there for you. I feel fulfilled in the opportunities I have had. I won't be looking back thinking if only, if only I had had a World Championship winning car. I did have a world championship winning car, I just didn't win it. But I won a number of grands prix and had a lot of fun along the way. As I just explained the journey I started with Red Bull will continue but not as a grand prix driver and that is something which I am entirely comfortable with and I am looking forward to the remaining races.

Do you think it will be difficult to keep up the motivation for the remaining races?
DC: No. If I thought that I would be saying today that I would be stepping to one side. That is the other good thing about making the decision in that I have the motivation. I am enjoying the racing. I would hate to find myself in a situation where I wake up and think I do not want to go racing today. I am contracted to the season. I have seen it happen to other people I have been close to the sport who have been in that situation. It may be something that never happens, but I just don't want to find myself in that situation. After 15 seasons I think that's enough. The sport is in good hands with the other younger British drivers, so October in Brazil that will be it.

And do you have any plans or are you open to offers apart from Red Bull?
DC: I will have a test development, consultant role with Red Bull Racing which will enable me to have an interest in F1 and the paddock. I will look at the other opportunities that might be there when the time is appropriate. For nice, emotional reasons I wanted to wait until Silverstone to make the announcement and now that it's out, I can just get on with the racing. I hope we have a good weekend and that Red Bull can score some points. Maybe there can be a British winner and maybe we can all go home and think that was a good weekend for the sport.

Jenson, what are your feelings about David retiring?
Jenson Button: In a way for sure I am disappointed. If you look at David's career he has achieved a lot and a lot more that most drivers will ever achieve in their F1 career. I have also always got on well with DC since 2000. We have been pretty good friends around the paddock but also away from the circuit. I will miss him at the races for sure but I'm also happy for him that he has made the decision to do something else next year. It is nice when you can make that decision yourself and find something else that can take up your time. Obviously, he has a beautiful fiancée to look after also.

You spoke recently about how sure you are that Honda can provide you with a winning car. How long do you think it will be?
JB: It is not going to be this year for sure. Next year I can't say we are going to have a winning car. I can say we are going to make some very big improvements and obviously the regulation changes will make a big difference to all of us. It helps us get back what we have dropped behind. When you have one bad year in F1 you lose a lot of time and to get that back within one or two years is almost impossible. It is going to help us a lot with the rule changes. I know at the factory that we are doing everything we can as I am sure every other team is. But we are a more complete team than we have ever been. I think we have got a lot of very talented people in the right areas and they are all working together very well. I know we will make a much better car next season, but it is what other people do. We really cannot see the future and see what other people can achieve. But I am happy with the way things are going. I am in a happy place at the moment.

What sort of changes have you seen in the team in the last few months?
JB: I think a lot of it is the way of working and obviously the technical leadership of Ross (Brawn – team principal) has made a big difference and making sure that people within in the team working in their own areas do everything they can but also working as a team, not having the mechanical, aerodynamical side, all the different areas doing their work individually but bringing everything together. The atmosphere is pretty electric within Honda at the moment. We are very excited about the future. I know it is easy to say when you are having a bad season but a lot has changed in the team from last year and for sure it needed to. Things are moving in the right way and we will definitely see the results in the future.

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