It is now more than a year-and-a-half since Anthony Davidson last graced the grand prix grid, but the highly-rated British star is adamant that he still has 'unfinished business' in F1, 'deserves' to be there and has had interest from a number of teams – all he needs now is a big wad of cash to seal the deal.
After years of testing for Honda and odd 'super-sub' starts here and there for Minardi and BAR, Davidson finally got his big break with Super Aguri in 2007, and was rarely far away from the pace of more experienced team-mate Takuma Sato.
However, that dream collapsed when the team foundered due to financial woes in the run-up to the Turkish Grand Prix in early May, 2008 – and it is just such financial woes, he jokes, that are similarly standing in the way of a return to the fray in 2010. He has held discussions with a number of teams – with Sauber believed to be the most viable option – but barring a miracle, he admits, his chances are slim.
“The money is an issue today as it always has been,” the 30-year-old told Crash.net Radio
. “It's always been a rich man's sport, but it's more so now than ever before. I've been told by a few teams already that if I had €5 million I'd be in, so I checked and I couldn't find it; I looked down the back of the sofa, looked in my wallet, a few moths flew out but that was it – and on a serious note that's the position I'm in.
“With a lot of the bigger teams pulling out and only two main manufacturers left, it's difficult times and they're all looking for money, unfortunately. There's no other way you can look at it apart from looking at different sports, and it is the equivalent of Manchester United having a paying football player to play on their side – it just wouldn't happen. That's what's happening in F1 at the moment.
“I know I've got the skill to be there, I deserve to be there but so do loads of other people; loads of other drivers have got the talent, but it's finding your way into Formula 1 and maintaining that momentum. Unfortunately, since Super Aguri folded last year – it seems like longer ago, but it was just the middle of last year – it's been a struggle to get back in.
“I've done my reserve driving duties and test driving duties for Honda and Brawn – and it's been good to be involved with a world championship-winning team – but you want to be out there driving properly. If it's not Formula 1 it will have to be something else, but I feel that it's still unfinished business so I'm really keen to get back.”
Aside from winning over even more fans as a pundit on BBC Radio 5 Live's
F1 commentary team, Davidson also kept the competitive fire burning in 2009 with an appearance in the popular annual Johnny Herbert Karting Challenge and an outing for the Prodrive-run, works Aston Martin Racing effort in the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours round-the-clock classic in mid-June, featuring strongly early on before the car he was sharing with Jos Verstappen and Darren Turner ran into trouble and wound up 13th at the chequered flag.
“I had a brilliant time with Prodrive in the Aston Martin at Le Mans,” he enthused. “It was fantastic! It's got to be one of the best races in the world, and my aim is to win that one year in my career – if I can't win the Formula 1 World Championship, I really, really want to win Le Mans. I've done it twice – once in a GT and now in LMP1 – and we ran as high as third place this year before we had mechanical failure after mechanical failure that put us down to 13th, so I'm really keen to come back and do it with them or someone else. Who knows, but it's something I've got my eye on for the future.
“I really enjoyed the karting, too; it was fantastic to be back in a kart, it's always good to do charity work as well and I don't get to drive much these days, so getting to go round in a kart is the next-best thing! It's amazing how rusty you feel when you first jump back in a kart, even after starting from eight-years-old all the way up to 18, 19 years of age – it's great fun to re-learn those little techniques you had back in the day. It was brilliant fun and great competition, and you could smell the testosterone running through the air – and that was even coming off the women! Here's hoping I'll be coming back for many more.”
TO LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW IN FULL: CLICK HERE