Race to the top: Burj Al Arab hosts F1 stunt

Dubai’s iconic landmark provides vertiginous setting for Red Bull’s latest daredevil feat

When you’ve made your living driving round the world’s Grand Prix race tracks at speeds nudging 200mph, there’s not much that involves four wheels and the internal combustion engine that’s likely to faze you. So when former Formula 1 driver David Coulthard was asked to take a 750bhp Infiniti Red Bull Racing car for a spin on the helipad of the Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai, he was up for the challenge.

“When the team first told me they had this idea to put the car on the top of the Burj Al Arab helipad, I thought, why not, that’s fantastic – that’s going to give us some iconic shots,” said Coulthard, shortly after doing ‘donuts’ (spinning round in circles) on the circular helipad, some 211 metres above the ground. “That was fun,” he added. The grin on his face suggested he meant it.


The Red Bull team’s typically audacious stunt was to celebrate its latest Formula 1 title. A few days earlier Red Bull won both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ World Championships for the fourth time in a row, with Sebastian Vettel taking his fourth consecutive Formula 1 title at the Indian Grand Prix in New Delhi.

And while this was the first time an F1 racing car has burnt rubber on what is undoubtedly the world’s most iconic helipad, the Burj Al Arab hotel is of course no stranger to this kind of eye-catching sporting endeavour. Tiger Woods practised his tee shots on the hotel’s helipad in 2004; Andre Agassi and Roger Federer famously played tennis on it in 2005; and in 2011 Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy put a twist on Woods’ golfing stunt by taking a shot from a specially created bunker.

Race to the top: Burj Al Arab hosts F1 stunt
A long way down: a hesitant Coulthard surveys the view

“I like getting involved with anything that pushes the boundaries,” added Coulthard after his helipad stunt, “it’s what Red Bull stands for.” He may be retired from Formula 1, but clearly his appetite for danger remains as strong as ever.

Click here for footage of David Coulthard racing at the Burj Al Arab