David Coulthard had the last laugh after a clip resurfaced from the BBC’s predictions before the 2010 F1 season, where he believed Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull would win both titles that year.
That assessment at the time meant his fellow pundits “laughed me off the show”, with his previous Red Bull links providing fodder for banter that the team had paid him to say it.
But when the topic was brought up to the 13-time grand prix winner, Coulthard gave his version of events from that moment and why he made what turned out to be a worthy prediction.
Why was David Coulthard ridiculed in F1 2010 predictions?
For context, Red Bull had never been World Champions at that time, with the 2010 title eventually going Vettel’s way after overhauling Fernando Alonso at the final round of the season in Abu Dhabi, with four drivers having been in mathematical contention for the title at the last race.
Red Bull had been Brawn GP’s nearest challengers the season before, but with regulation changes coming into effect the latter’s time at the front of Formula 1 had been short-lived, with McLaren and Ferrari coming back to form after mediocre 2009 campaigns.
Of course, the benefit of hindsight made it look the obvious choice for Coulthard to have made, but the BBC’s predictions at the time made him very much the outlier.
On a pre-season show with presenter Jake Humphrey and fellow panellists, commentators Jonathan Legard and Martin Brundle and fellow pundit Eddie Jordan, the Constructors’ Championship predictions unfolded like this:
Coulthard: “Red Bull”
At which point, the other members of the panel broke into fits of laughter and Coulthard added: “What the hell’s that? No-one laughed when you gave your answers!”
And for the Drivers’ Championship, the predictions came in soon afterwards:
Brundle: “Fernando Alonso”
Jordan: “[Lewis] Hamilton”
Before Coulthard’s prediction came in, presenter Humphrey joked at the Scot: “And you don’t get an answer after your last one… oh, go on then,” to which Coulthard responded: “Sebastian Vettel”.
This would prove absolutely prophetic and the clip of these predictions resurfaced a couple of years ago and has since been watched around 700,000 times on YouTube.
David Coulthard ‘convinced’ Red Bull were in strong position in 2010
Speaking on his Formula For Success podcast alongside former eponymous team principal and BBC colleague Jordan, a listener email reminded the ex-McLaren and Red Bull driver of that moment.
Reading the email and subsequently reacting to it, Coulthard said: “He says, his words, I had the ‘balls’ to predict Red Bull and Seb Vettel as the winner, and you all laughed me off the show basically because no-one would imagine he’d gone to win it.
“Now, I was convinced that they were in a great position because every time there’s been a major rule change, that’s the sort of window for an Adrian Newey and his team of merry designers to come up with innovation.
“So that’s why I was so confident that was going to be Vettel and Red Bull.”
Addressing Jordan directly, he added: “None of you guys ever apologised, did you?”
Jordan then retorted jokingly: “Well, are you claiming that that’s one of the only occasions that you’ve come off the fence? Because I’d have certainly never made you or heard you predicting anything ever!
“I applaud you, because not only was it a brilliant guess, but it’s also probably the only time ever that you’ve made a prediction.”