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JULY 9, 2001

Coulthard not quick enough to beat Schumacher - Irvine

EDDIE IRVINE has told David Coulthard that he is not quick enough to beat Michael Schumacher ahead of next weekend's British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Irvine, who partnered Schumacher at Ferrari, admitted that British rival Coulthard would not stand a chance of lifting the drivers' crown unless McLaren significantly improved their car.

"I have never believed from the beginning that DC would be champion," Irvine said. "Ferrari were never going to build a bad enough car. It's not that they are well ahead of McLaren but they are in the driver stakes.

"DC is not in the same league as Michael. McLaren have won championships because they had the better car in the past. The only way DC can win is if he has a much better car than Michael."

Irvine also hinted that Coulthard had missed his chance earlier in the season when he was tied with Schumacher on 26 points after four rounds.

Speaking in the English newspaper, 'The Sunday Telegraph', Irvine added: "He has won it easily this year. DC was not quick enough when he needed to be. That's not luck, that's fact. I don't see how DC can improve after seven years in F1. You get more experience but you don't get quicker.

"Say all you want but you will not beat Michael unless you are in a better car."