FIA Doctor Says Coulthard Fit to Race
Thursday May 4th, 2000
David Coulthard will have no mental or physical problems competing in Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix after his escape from a plane crash, Formula One's top doctor said on Thursday.
Professor Sid Watkins, a retired neurosurgeon who has been in charge of Formula One's medical facilities for nearly 20 years, examined the McLaren driver and said he was "exactly the same as ever with the same mellow, Scottish humour."
Coulthard, his girlfriend Heidi Wichlinski and personal trainer Andy Matthews escaped with minor injuries on Tuesday after the hired Lear jet crash-landed in Lyon, France. The two British pilots died immediately on impact.
Watkins said Coulthard had "heavy bruising on the right side of his rib cage and had also suffered severe grazing on both elbows."
"He is all right and will have no problems," he added.
Asked if Coulthard was likely to suffer any emotional or psychological after effects, Watkins replied:
"No, he is the same as the rest of them and they are all like fighter pilots. They are extremely fit and every day of their lives they live with the risks of a serious accident and a serious injury or worse.
"They have all grown up with that and they have all had big accidents. They know what it is all about and although David will be very sad, as we all were to learn of the two people who died, he will never allow that to interfere with his job."
Watkins said Coulthard was fitter than the average Formula One driver and expected him to be determined to provide a good result as a fitting tribute to the two men who died.