David Coulthard believes Jenson Button would be the best ambassador for the sport if he manages to hang on and win the world championship - but warned that his compatriot could not be confident of the title yet.
Button can wrap up the championship in Brazil this weekend if he finishes in the top three, or if rivals Rubens Barrichello and Sebastian Vettel fail to outscore him on the day by five and seven points, respectively.
Coulthard suspects that Button has enough of a lead to clinch his first title, and despite his close relationship with Barrichello, the Scot thinks Button would fulfill the champion's role well.
"Jenson should do it," Coulthard told reporters in Brazil. "Rubens is a friend and I've known him for years and it would be fantastic for him if he won the championship but if you think selfishly about the sport, Jenson would be better for the sport.
"Younger [has] got a better image. The sport needs good ambassadors just now. He has not made a lot of mistakes this year."
Even so, Coulthard thinks Barrichello has a good chance of keeping the championship battle alive beyond Interlagos given his strong form at his home track.
"In Brazil I'd put my money on Rubens," said Coulthard. "It's his home track, he's had Stewart Grand Prix cars on the front two rows there and always gone well there. I'd be amazed if he doesn't ace it there.
"I really don't know how to call it. You've got to imagine Jenson is going to hold on and get across the line but if he bins it in Brazil and Rubens wins it, suddenly he's down to a four-point lead and it would be terrible to imagine he lost it after everything that's happened this year – but he could. You've only got to remember back two years, when Kimi [Raikkonen] came back from 17 points down."
Coulthard has remained involved with the Red Bull team since retiring from the cockpit at the end of last year, but thinks the title might now be a long shot for his squad.
"If it goes to the wire you would have to say Brawn possibly have more of an advantage than a Red Bull," he said. "But Red Bull had a development for Singapore. Had Sebastian not had the pitlane speeding penalty – where he didn't speed, it was to do with the line he took through the corner – he would have won. Lewis [Hamilton] won it fair and square on the day, but he didn't have the quickest car.
"As for Brazil, I see that being more a Brawn-type circuit than for Red Bull. But it has been so close this year, it's really difficult to tell."