Back in the day, before Lewis Hamilton, David Coulthard used to run things for Britain on the track.
Known best to fans as simply 'DC' the Scottish former Formula 1 driver brought fierce competition to the sport competing against the likes of Michael Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen, as well as his dry British humour before retiring in 2008, after winning 13 grand prix.
Having raced for Williams, McLaren and Red Bull teams since 1994, DC has been a loyal servant to F1 and its progression, having spent the last 10 years on the other side commentating on TV. His latest chapter now sees him whipping up support to bring Formula 1 to Vietnam's largest city.
We were invited by Heineken to spend 36 hours in Ho Chi Minh city to take in 'the perfect F1 experience' and talk to the man himself on why the country would be such a great fit in the Formula 1 calendar.
Interview: Lewis Scrafton
This is your first time in Ho Chi Minh. What are your impressions so far?
I’ve definitely done the whistle stop tour so far but I went up to the Heineken experience yesterday, and got a great view. It’s a curious mix of old and new isn’t it? You can see the development that’s happening. The people have been super friendly so you take it as you find it. It’s my first time [in Ho Chi Minh] and you only know what you hear and read about, and obviously some of the issues that have been here in Vietnam, and it doesn’t celebrate all of the great aspects of this country.
It’s a curious mix of old and new isn’t it? You can see the development that’s happening.
As a rumoured host nation for Formula 1 in the future, what do you think Vietnam can bring to the F1 calendar?
I think the spirit of the people is ultimately what changes the feeling at the Grand Prix. There’s an openness and a friendliness, and hopefully this will serve as a launchpad to get people curious about Formula 1, and part of that is people reporting and talking about it. I’m certainly going to go back home and tell people that Vietnam is the place to visit, not that it wasn’t before but once you’ve been there you’ve got a different perspective.
Do you think you would have enjoyed racing in Ho Chi Minh?
Yeah I think so. I always enjoyed that Formula 1 was a true World Championship and to have the chance to go to different countries and soak up the atmosphere.
You were showing Martin Garrix the car earlier... what did you guys discuss?
I was explaining to him that he has lots of dials that he plays with and actually the modern drivers do as well. So you’ve got to know how everything works and how it influences the performance so there’s many similarities, he’s obviously a very creative individual but in a way Max [Verstappen] and Daniel [Ricciardo] and the others, every lap they’re having to make decisions which influence what’s coming next. So I think there’s similarities actually between music and the creative spirit, and what we do here in Formula 1.
I think there’s similarities actually between music and the creative spirit, and what we do here in Formula 1.
What are your favourite stops on the F1 calendar, how will Vietnam compliment it?
I’m a big fan of the M's. Your Melbourne, Montreal and Monaco. I think every Grand Prix is different in its own way, and every GP is as much a celebration of the host city, of the host country and I think some countries really get that, and I get the impression that if we were to come here, the Vietnamese would get the massive PR that it brings to a country, you look at places like Bahrain, and Baku, which are now “roll off your tongue” if you’re a sports fan where you maybe wouldn’t have heard of them before if you’re just an everyday person.
What do you think it is about Formula 1 that captures people’s imaginations so well?
I think it doesn’t matter who you are, whether you like cars or not, when you hear a Formula 1 engine start you can’t help but be impressed and the cars are engineering art, they are sophisticated, they’re exploiting aerodynamics, so I think it appeals to people who don’t maybe like driving quickly but they can relate to what it might be like. So I think that’s why Formula 1 is a unique sport in many respects because whether you work in football, or tennis, you’ve got tools, and they’re as sophisticated as they can be but I think Formula 1 actually reflects everyday life, because everyday life we use technology and we enhance technology and we buy into technology. Formula 1 is a data-driven sport and a lot of the things that we develop will accelerate onto telephones and cars in the future.
I always was impressed by the human endeavour, the desire to be faster, better, to prepare what are ultimately mechanical items.
Is it that unique collaboration of technology and the human element that attracted you to Formula 1 in particular?
I always was impressed by the human endeavour, the desire to be faster, better, to prepare what are ultimately mechanical items but to prepare them in a way that they work in harmony with what nature gives us and then use that to then create. The Wright Brothers had this fascination of flying like a bird, for us on the ground it’s about a fascination to be faster in the corners than any other car in the world.
As a Global Partner of Formula 1, Heineken's #MoreThanARace campaign brings the host cities to life across the 72 hours of a race weekend, for more information follow #HeinekenF1