Coulthard: McLaren/Williams decline 'shows name means nothing'

David Coulthard (GBR) Channel 4 F1 Commentator.
© XPB 

Former Formula 1 driver David Coulthard has said that the sharp drop in form of the McLaren and Williams teams in recent seasons shows all too starkly that the sport is no respecter of history or reputation.

McLaren's illustrious record in F1 includes 12 drivers championships and eight team titles. But the last time that a McLaren driver stood on the podium was at the 2014 Australian Grand Prix.

The Williams team has also suffered a steep fall from grace since amassing seven drivers championship and nine constructors titles in its 41-year history. In 2018 it's managed to pick up just seven points, with top ten finishes in only two of the 19 races to date.

Coulthard drove for both teams during his 15-year career in F1, and finds the current situation painful to watch.

"It's confusing and disappointing to see the difficulty they have gone through," he told BBC Sport this week. "Success comes from the people, not the name on the door.

"It isn't self sustaining," he explained. "It is all about the people involved at any given period.

"Clearly, both those teams have not been able to energise, reinvent and attract young talent and that is what they have to focus on.

"They need to change the structures they have in place and bring in the young talent. That is where the energy comes from."

McLaren put the blame on a disappointing spell from 2015 to 2017 on its engine partners Honda. But if anything the situation has only got worse since it switched to Renault for 2018.

"By using the same ingredients, you are going to get the same cake every time," was Coutlhard's assessment.

"You need to be challenged to reinvent yourself otherwise everything becomes a bit stale and that's what has happened with those teams."

In terms of drivers, McLaren plans to do just that and is hoping to revitalise their form having signing up Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris for 2019.

George Russell (GBR) Art Grand Prix GP2 Driver / Mercedes AMG F1 Reserve Driver / Williams.

Williams are relying on equally exciting rookie talent George Russell to give them a boost next season. His team mate is yet to be confirmed, with Sergey Sirotkin, Robert Kubica, Estaban Ocon, Esteban Gutierrez and Nyck de Vries all reportedly in the running.

"In George Russell for Williams, and Lando Norris with McLaren, they have signed two great young talents," said Coulthard. "[They] will now get their opportunity for long careers - and successful careers - and can bring the teams along with them."

But Coulthard added that both teams also need to focus on boosting their backroom staff as well if they are to find their way back to the front of the grid.

"I remember asking [former Williams technical chief] Patrick Head if the success of a team is down to money or brain power," Coulthard said. "He was very clear and said 'brain power'.

"So both teams need to harness and energise that brain power and they can be back winning again in the future."

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter