Walking away from Red Bull and F1 at the end of 2008 to make room for Sebastian Vettel, David Coulthard says he recognised his time was “coming to an end”.
Having raced for Williams and McLaren, Coulthard moved over to Red Bull Racing in 2005, the team born from the ashes of Jaguar Racing.
In his four years with the team, Red Bull managed a best showing of fifth in the Constructors’ Championship.
Little did anyone, at least anyone looking in from the outside, realise what was to come.
Coulthard walked away from the team and retired for Formula 1 at the end of the 2008 championship, handing his seat over to Vettel.
With the German on board, Red Bull finished runner-up in his first season before racing to four successive championship doubles from 2009 to 2013.
Looking back Coulthard says he knew it was the right time to hands the reins to someone new.
“I’d had my time and I recognised that my time was coming to an end,” he told the Irish RTE.
“It was clear that Sebastian was the coming man. He’d won the Italian Grand Prix in the Toro Rosso in 2008, which was my last year, and then he moved up to the big team.
“I recognised that my career was coming towards its natural conclusion and therefore to have four seasons in helping change the team along with Christian [Horner, team principal] and they continued on to win four World Championships and have continued to be a challenger to Ferrari and Mercedes, I do feel good about that.
“I look back at my time with Williams, McLaren and Red Bull, having maintained good relations with each of those companies and of course hold affection for each of those because I put my heart and soul into delivering for them.”
Coulthard remained a Red Bull ambassador and still drives during the team’s fan events to this day.