As BAR's official third driver, Anthony Davidson is showing his talent to good advantage during the Friday practice sessions at race weekends this season. The Englishman, who deputised for Alex Yoong at Minardi for two races in 2002, is usually...
As BAR's official third driver, Anthony Davidson is showing his talent to good advantage during the Friday practice sessions at race weekends this season. The Englishman, who deputised for Alex Yoong at Minardi for two races in 2002, is usually near the top of the times and is attracting attention from many quarters. Williams technical director Patrick Head has been impressed with Davidson's performances.
"There's no doubt about it, he's a very fine driver," Head commented in Thursday's press conference in Monaco. "One can view the lap times and clearly there's no doubt about his speed but equally, our test drivers, Marc Gene and Antonio Pizzonia, when they're testing they produce lap times to the exact same level and sometimes quicker than the two race drivers."
"So it's actually quite difficult to take somebody out of a testing position and ask 'are they going to perform well in a racing position?' But clearly Anthony Davidson is a very fine driver and deserves strong consideration."
BAR team principal David Richards is naturally pleased with Davidson's driving and pointed out that Anthony has always been competitive, but people are taking more notice now he has a higher profile as the team's third driver.
"Anthony has been a very key member of the team for some time only perhaps his testing role wasn't quite as visible when he wasn't running on Fridays," said Richards. "It's also worth remembering he often doesn't get either the new tyres or a chance to go for a lap time on low fuel which further disguises the huge contribution he's making."
Yesterday's practice sessions were Davidson's first experience of the Monte Carlo street circuit and he handled it with confidence. In the morning session he was seventh fastest and improved to second in the afternoon, with only Ferrari champion Michael Schumacher getting the better of him. "Anthony Davidson, on only his first visit to Monaco, was clearly the star of the day," said Richards.
Obviously Davidson would like to be racing, and especially at Monaco, but for the moment he's pleased with his debut effort in the Principality. "I've had a really positive debut here today and I'm very pleased with our performance," he said after the Thursday practices. "It's a fairly tough circuit generally -- and quite daunting for the first few laps -- but I was really looking forward to getting out there."
"It's one of those circuits that really moves you as a driver and perhaps more than any other circuit I would really love to be driving here for the rest of the weekend. I'll settle for the fact that I've done a race distance here today to help prepare for what I'm sure will be a great race for Jenson and Taku."