Coulthard takes Red Bull drive

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The Independent Online

David Coulthard will race in Formula One for at least another year after signing a 12-month contract with Red Bull Racing in Austria yesterday.

David Coulthard will race in Formula One for at least another year after signing a 12-month contract with Red Bull Racing in Austria yesterday.

The 33-year-old Scot said: "After speaking to the team owner Dietrich Mateschitz I was impressed by Red Bull Racing's plans for the future. This is definitely an exciting new team."

Coulthard is the next most experienced driver in Formula One behind Michael Schumacher, whom he has on occasion beaten en route to the 13 grand prix victories he scored in an 11-year career that began as Williams' replacement for the late Ayrton Senna in 1994 before he switched to McLaren in 1996. He lost his seat there to Juan Pablo Montoya for 2005, but was determined to keep racing.

"I have every intention of driving next season," he said recently, "and until I have exhausted every avenue I will not give up that aim. I don't want to be a test driver, I want to race, though I will accept a testing role if nothing else comes up."

He owes the Red Bull Racing drive to his own tenacity in refusing to accept the brush-off from Red Bull (née Jaguar) management, and going direct to company owner Mateschitz in Austria. After Coulthard showed competitive speed in recent testing in Spain for the team, managing director David Pitchforth said: "Having an experienced driver is a no-brainer. David Coulthard has all the experience and ability to take this team forward."

Coulthard's deal is for one year and has performance-related clauses. His No 2 driver will not be named until January, and will be either the Austrian Christian Klien, who drove for the team in Jaguar mode this year, and the Formula 3000 champion Vitantonio Liuzzi.

Both men are Red Bull protégées, and Liuzzi recently showed himself to be quicker in tests. He told team principal Tony Purnell that he is more than ready for Formula One, but Red Bull may have to give Klien a race drive to placate an Austrian media angered by the company pulling out of a major development of the Spielberg circuit following a disagreement with the local council.

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