Formula One drivers have a relatively short career span. Sure, they're starting younger and younger, but few driving aces extend their careers beyond their early thirties, if that long. David Coulthard is one notable exception, retiring after 15 consecutive seasons in F1 at "the ripe old age" of 37.

For years the DTM German touring car series has been a refuge for former F1 drivers, attracting the likes of Jean Alesi, Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Mika Hakkinen, to name just a few. Now Coulthard is set to join their ranks.

Instead of driving for the Red Bull-sponsored Audi team, however, Coulthard will be driving for Mercedes-Benz, having recently tested one of their touring cars. There he'll be teaming up with a handful of other drivers with F1 experience, including Ralf Schumacher (who renewed his Mercedes DTM contract after failing to return to F1 this season) as well as Gary Paffet and Paul di Resta, both reserve drivers for Mercedes-powered F1 teams (McLaren and Force India, respectively).

Because the DTM calendar doesn't conflict with F1's, Coulthard will also continue his role as a commentator for BBC's grand prix coverage. The Flying Scotsman points to the seven years he spent racing Mercedes-powered McLarens as the basis for his move, and rules out the prospect of returning to F1.

[Source: Autosport | Image: Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty]

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