Four-time Formula 1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel and 13-time F1 grand prix winner David Coulthard have become the first drivers confirmed to compete at the Race Of Champions on January 19-20, 2019 at the Foro Sol, the amphitheatre forming part of Mexico City’s Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez Formula 1 circuit.
Vettel became the youngest driver ever to win the Formula 1 world championship when he took his first title in a last-race thriller in 2010. The German then cemented his place among the sport’s all-time greats by following it with three further triumphs in the next three seasons.
Since his switch to Scuderia Ferrari Vettel has again been a regular title challenger, and this year he took five wins and five poles but missed out on the championship after last weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix. Now he has a chance to make immediate amends at the very same venue by bidding for glory at ROC Mexico.
Vettel has an impressive record at the Race Of Champions too
He made his debut at London’s Wembley Stadium in 2007, immediately partnering countryman Michael Schumacher to ROC Nations Cup glory for Team Germany. The pair went on to keep the trophy until 2012 with victories in Beijing, Düsseldorf and Bangkok, leaving them with a record six consecutive ROC Nations Cup wins. Vettel finally took the individual ROC ‘Champion of Champions’ title at London’s Olympic Stadium 2015 and he won the ROC Nations Cup single-handed for Team Germany at Miami last year, after his team-mate Pascal Wehrlein had to withdraw.
Vettel said: “I’m delighted to be coming back to the Race Of Champions, which has been a regular part of my racing life ever since I arrived in Formula 1. All the drivers who have the honour to participate in ROC fall in love with the event. That’s because it reminds us all about why we first started racing; pure competition in identical cars.
“Now ROC Mexico promises to be an amazing event in the spectacular Foro Sol, which is already a favourite for us F1 drivers and fans all over the world. I think this will be an ideal venue for the Race Of Champions, which has always been about making sure all the fans can see every corner of the action. The racing is intense on the track and everyone wants to win, but it’s also about putting on a great show for the fans, so we all look forward to showing everyone what we can do and of course, I will do everything I can to win again!”
David Coulthard also enjoyed a fine Formula 1 career, taking 13 grand prix wins
He also finished in the world championship top three no less than five times in over a decade at the top. He later spent three years in Germany’s DTM championship before retiring to focus on other interests including his role as a television commentator.
Coulthard has lost none of the skills that made him such a formidable competitor, as shown by a mighty run of success in the Race Of Champions. The Scotsman heads to ROC Mexico as the reigning ROC Champion of Champions, having seen off a field of motorsport legends to win the title in Riyadh earlier this year. That makes him a rare double winner of the trophy as he also emerged victorious in Barbados in 2014.
Coulthard said: “It is an ongoing mystery why I’m still having so much success at the Race Of Champions when I’m up against drivers who are younger and more talented than me! But that’s the nature of the knockout system. I’m sure the law of averages will catch up with me soon, but until it does I’ll keep going out there and showing the kids how it’s done…
“Now that I’ve officially retired from racing, to be honest, I’m always surprised when (ROC President) Fredrik Johnsson invites me. But I’m delighted when he does. The camaraderie with all the other drivers is special and the Race Of Champions is so much fun for drivers and fans. The stadium environment is what makes it special: you look down on the cars from the grandstands so it gives you a view you wouldn’t get in many venues. If anyone wants a reminder of why they enjoy motorsport, they should come along. I look forward to seeing you all in Mexico City in January.”
ROC President Fredrik Johnsson said:
“It’s brilliant news that Sebastian and David will join us at this year’s Race Of Champions. Seb has proved himself to be one of the greatest drivers of all time with four F1 world championships and counting. He may have missed out on title number five this year, but no doubt that will make him even more determined to show the rest of our ROC field what he’s got in the identical supercars at the Race Of Champions.
“As for DC, well… all I can say is he hasn’t lost any of the magic. He keeps coming to the Race Of Champions and showing the current greats of motorsport how to do it, as proved by his two ROC Champion of Champions crowns. Can he do it yet again? You could be there to find out….
“This is a special chance to see these racing legends in action up close in a stadium setting and we look forward to welcoming a full house to Mexico City’s stunning Foro Sol in January to enjoy the show.”