24 August 2009
Davidson bidding for 2010 F1 return
Anthony Davidson has sent out a message to potential employers for 2010 that he has 'unfinished business' in F1, as the former Super Aguri star seeks an opening to return to the grand prix grid next season.
Davidson began 21 races for the now-defunct Honda satellite operation in 2007 and 2008, and competed in a couple of grands prix for Minardi in 2002 and one more in place of unwell future team-mate Takuma Sato at BAR-Honda in Malaysia in 2005, only for his engine to expire two laps in.
Whilst having never scored a point at the highest level – Davidson's best result was a trio of eleventh places in 2007 – the 30-year-old has a good reputation inside the paddock, and an excellent record as a test and development driver, a role he held on-and-off at BAR and its subsequent incarnation as Honda from 2001 to 2006.
Having impressed observers with his mighty testing pace on Fridays – invariably topping the timesheets back in the days when test drivers were allowed and even encouraged to take to the track on grand prix practice days – a likely race seat with Williams in 2005 fell through due to contractual issues, but still his talent had been noted.
That, he asserts, should make him a strong candidate for one of the three new F1 entries in 2010 – USF1, Campos and Manor – but he is aware that, in a global economic situation where purse strings are being tightened and well-heeled or well-backed drivers are inevitably going to look more attractive to teams, money is an ever-present issue.
“With all the new teams and the speculation of them coming along, or some of the teams being a dead cert, I am doing my rounds as well, like all the drivers,” Davidson said on BBC Radio Five Live, for whom he has been commentating in 2009. “Hopefully I will be back on the grid, but it is a tricky one, a hard game to get into and to remain in as well.
“I'm a realist at the end of the day. There are a lot of drivers out there in this current climate that are finding drives because of money – it's even affected Formula 1 quite heavily. It's a difficult one, but I believe I still have unfinished business in Formula 1 and I want to be back.”
Of late, Davidson has been keeping himself mentally sharp and race-fit with a handful of sportscar appearances, finishing 13th alongside Darren Turner and Jos Verstappen for the Prodrive-run Aston Martin LMP1 effort in the Le Mans 24 Hours back in June and in the same position for Gigawave Motorsport/NISMO in the Spa 24 Hours just a fortnight later.
The Hemel Hempstead-born ace contends that experienced drivers such as himself are increasingly valuable to teams in an era in which all in-season testing is banned, meaning that any squad taking a punt on a rookie can only really do so by throwing them in at the deep end – with potentially disastrous consequences.
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