David Coulthard said he turned down Top Gear because “Channel 4 pulled a blinder” with the offer to be head of its Formula One presenting team.
The 13-time Grands Prix winner will front the channel’s F1 World Championship coverage alongside Steve Jones as part of a 12-strong presenting team that includes drivers Mark Webber, Susie Wolff and Eddie Jordan.
Asked about reports he turned down a job on Top Gear, he told Alan Carr: “I was being lined up for it because Formula One used to be on the BBC, before Channel 4 pulled a blinder.
“I love Formula One. I love car racing so I just couldn’t not be part of this new opportunity.”
The new line-up has been praised for the presence of two women on the team and Coulthard said that F1 was not a sexist sport.
Asked whether there could be an openly gay driver in the future, Coulthard replied: “Of course, there has been. Formula One isn’t sexist or against anything if you are gay, straight or whatever it happens to be.
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“If you look at other sports, they are sexist. If you want to play for Manchester United in the Premiership, you have to be a guy. There is female football, but they don’t mix together.
“In motor racing, we have girls racing guys. We just put the helmet on and it doesn’t matter what you are, you are a racing driver.”
He was joined by Jones on the Chatty Man sofa and both gave their seal of approval to driver Lewis Hamilton’s new foray into music - despite admitting they were yet to hear it.
Coulthard said: “He is recording (an album). He finds inspiration when he is pulling 5G at 200mph... I haven’t heard it but apparently it’s good stuff. He is rubbing shoulders with Jay-Z and various others.”
Jones added: “He can multi-task. It’s extraordinary. He is a force.”
The rest of the new Channel 4 F1 presenting team is made up of drivers Alain Prost, Alex Zanardi, Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna, alongside reporters Ben Edwards and Lee McKenzie and commentator Murray Walker.
Alan Carr Chatty Man airs on Channel 4 at 10pm.