Honda confirmed on January 10th that Anthony Davidson will be the team's third driver for the upcoming 2006 season. Davidson had previously been looking for a race seat and had been linked with MF1 and new outfit Super Aguri, but the 26 year-old Brit will spend a fifth year with Honda, which took over BAR.
"I'm really looking forward to starting the 2006 season with the team in its new guise as the Honda Racing F1 Team," said Davidson. "I have enjoyed five years with the team during which time I have made a positive contribution to its development."
"My decision to remain with Honda is the right one, for sure. They are committed to F1 for the long-term and absolutely focused on winning the World Championship."
"Although I would prefer to be in a race seat in 2006, I am in the best possible position to work towards achieving that goal. For now, we have a very intensive testing programme coming up in preparation for what should be an exciting 2006 season."
As well as the usual testing duties, Davidson will drive the third car in Friday practice sessions of race weekends this year, a role he previously undertook in 2004. Last season BAR did not field a third driver as its second place in the constructors' standings in 2004 prevented it from doing so.
"We have said many times how important Anthony Davidson's contribution has been over the past few years to our progress and competitiveness," said sporting director Gil de Ferran. "We are delighted that he accepted our offer to remain with the team as our third driver for 2006."
"Although we all know that Anthony aspires to be a Formula One race driver, and we are all confident that this will happen eventually, his role at Honda Racing is crucial to us this season. In addition to regular testing duties he will also be present at each Grand Prix weekend for Friday testing and to assist with tyre and set-up decisions."
Davidson will line up alongside race drivers Jenson Button and new recruit Rubens Barrichello. Honda will be on the test track at Jerez this week, although the new RA106 is not due to make its debut until later in the month.