Coulthard: Button needs 'big year'
25 February 2014 – David Coulthard believes McLaren's Jenson Button will need to pull out all the stops this season if he is to stay ahead of new team-mate Kevin Magnussen and keep his place on the F1 grid beyond 2014.
Coulthard, who won 13 races during his time at the pinnacle of the sport and who is now a co-commentator and pundit for BBC Sport F1, added that to him Magnussen looks the ‘real deal’.
“The UK is well represented at the present with Lewis [Hamilton] and Jenson,” Coulthard told Britain's Metro newspaper in the countdown to the final pre-season test this week in Bahrain, when asked how he thinks the Brits will fare this year. “They are two different personalities and Lewis looks to have the brightest future at the moment. Jenson is more experienced but may need a big year just to stay ahead of the challenge from exciting young Danish driver Kevin Magnussen at McLaren. He looks the real deal.”
Meanwhile, unsurprisingly, the Scot is tipping Mercedes to be strong, given how the German engine manufacturer has performed in the two winter tests so far: “If I had to put money on it today, I would think that one of the Mercedes powered F1 cars would be right up there,” he confirmed. “Ferrari have also been going about their business quietly but, the way things can change so swiftly in F1, that may not be the same a month or two down the line.”
Reigning champions Red Bull Racing have struggled so far, but Coulthard believes anyone writing them off would be making a big mistake: “It is ten years since they started and not many people gave them a hope of winning a GP, let alone a championship or let alone four [championships].
"They have got there because of the harmony of the team from top to bottom and because of that tremendous work ethic. They have a strong team, with the engineers and technical staff all willing to put in long, long hours to get it right,” he concluded.