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coulthard drunk in formula 1

David Coulthard drank alcohol prior to qualifying when racing: 'I got pole'

31 October at 17:00
  • Ludo van Denderen

These days, nothing is left to chance in Formula 1. The drivers are absolute athletes, often on a diet and doing everything they can to appear as fit as possible at the start of a Grand Prix. How different it was in the past. Formula 1 was known for its glitz and glamour, where racing was sometimes an afterthought. And where a joke was still possible.

David Coulthard, now an analyst, can talk about it. The Scot is among the best drivers the UK ever produced, although he never managed to man the Formula 1 world title. Coulthard could steer a pot, even after consuming alcohol.

Coutlhard on the schnapps

In the podcast Formula for Success, Coulthard talks to his former colleague Gerhard Berger, the man who had told him before qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix that it was a tradition at Monza to drink a 'schnapps.' "I was a young, impressionable driver and you were a grand prix winner. You’ve got Niki [Lauda] there… Of course, you guys had set this up and I didn’t want to say no so they brought out three little glasses that looked like Sshnapps. For sure they were drinking water."

But Coulthard himself did not. Indeed, he takes his glass of schnapps, which has an alcohol content of 40 per cent. "They gave me a schnapps. This is about half an hour before qualifying. I take the schnapps, I go out, I’m in pole position. I got pole", Coulthard laughingly looks back on that day.

And then Berger also makes a revelation: "David, I always drunk before qualifying, amaretto and then an espresso."