On the latest Formula For Success podcast, which Coulthard hosts with former F1 team boss Eddie Jordan, Coulthard and Stewart – who are godfathers to Gil’s daughter and son, respectively – reminisced about their bond with the two-time IndyCar champion and Indy 500 winner, who died last month at the age of 56.
“The celebration and the memory of Gil, the fact that it’s touched so many people, is a testament to the man,” said Coulthard. “Paul and I have been between tears and laughter this week, talking about an incredible individual.”
Stewart recalled the earliest days of their partnership when he paired Coulthard with de Ferran in Formula Vauxhall Lotus and Opel Lotus competitions in the UK and Europe.
“You and Gil were really the first two drivers on our staircase of talent, and what a pairing it was,” said Stewart, who was not only de Ferran’s team boss but went on to be his Formula 3000 team-mate in 1993. “It just seemed to fit right from the start.
“What developed between us was no filter, really. My last conversation with Gil was the day before he passed away. I was parked up at a car wash on a Facetime call with him – I sat there for over an hour! We didn’t talk about cars or McLaren… boy, was I lucky to have that call, that time with him.
“Angela [his wife, whom Gil met at PSR and was previously Jordan’s PA] came on right at the end of it, just to see the two of them smiling together. That’s my enduring last memory of him.”
Coulthard recalled great moments of their friendship across the years despite the fact they were only teammates for that single season.
“Gil broke the mold in my expectations of what a team-mate would be like,” he said. “We were put together and traveling across Europe in a car, sharing rooms together and falling out on the racetrack together occasionally.
“Through it all, he was always able to separate what happened when he was working and when we left the racetrack. That would mean barbeques – he was director of meat – and caipirinhas! We had just worked up such a bond, which lasted all those years.
“A unique personality and a life well lived, I think, is the expression, even though it was too short, he certainly crammed a lot into his journey of life.”