Background: Anthony Davidson
This article was written before Anthony Davidson's spectacular crash during the opening few hours of last weekends 24 Hour Le Mans race.
The British driver suffered a broken back, which will take many months to recuperate from. The whole of the Vital F1 community wishes Ant well. Anthony Davidson – The Basics
Currently known as one half of the SkyF1's comedy duo covering F1's Free Practice sessions and current Le Mans 24hr driver Anthony Davidson has certainly experienced a lot of different experiences throughout his motor sporting career. Not everybody can win a race, a championship or score a point in F1 but every driver has their story to tell and resilience and perseverance is certainly an outstanding factor of Davidson’s personality shown through his career in motor sport.
It all started in 1987 when he first began competing in karting championships winning 3 British Championships and an Italian Championship and as a result moved up into single seater racing in 1999 in the Formula Ford Championship. In 2000 he won the McLaren/Autosport Young Driver of the Year Award after coming runner up in the Formula Ford Championship.
2001 saw another progression this time into British Formula Three partnering with Takuma Sato at the Carlin Racing team, Anthony went on to outscore Sato by the end of the season. 2001 was also Davidson’s first taster of Formula One as he signed up as the test/reserve driver for the BAR team for the season. He went onto race for the Minardi team in 2002 for two races alongside Mark Webber, however in both of his race starts he spun out of the race.
2003 was a year in which Davidson was not offered a race in F1 but he remained as the test/reserve driver for BAR racing. When Jacques Villeneuve left the team Sato was promoted to a race seat and Davidson took the 3rd driver role which in 2004 allowed him to gain data during FP1 in the third car.
A possible driver deal with Williams in 2005 was scuppered due to Williams not agreeing to take him on alongside his contractual agreement with the BAR team. During the ’05 season Davidson got one race- the Malaysian GP replacing Sato but his engine gave up on Lap 2 of the race.
In 2006 BAR became Honda and Davidson resumed his role as the 3rd driver on Fridays for the team but he also received his TV commentating debut stepping in for Martin Brundle for ITV Sport at the Hungarian GP which coincidently was won by Jenson Button for the Honda Team.
Anthony Davidson’s big break in Formula One came as a confirmed race seat alongside Takuma Sato for the 2007 season for the Super Aguri team but one of his biggest stories of the year was hitting a road hog at the Canadian Grand Prix which caused him to drop to 11th from 3rd which ended his first points winning chance of the season. Davidson finished 23rd in the season scoring 0 points. He remained with Super Aguri for 2008 however the team withdrew from Formula One in May of that season due to financial restraints.
At the end of 2008 Davidson signed as a reserve driver for Honda who were eventually bought by Ross Brawn becoming the eventual 2009 Constructors World Champions as Brawn GP.
2009 saw a change in racing style for Davidson as he attempted the Le Mans 24 hours for the Aston Martin Racing team finishing 13th. He returned to the championship in 2010 with the Team Peugeot Total and after leading the race had to retire due to an engine failure. Remaining with the Peugeot team for 2011 he finished in 4th place for the Le Mans 24 hours.
In 2009 Davidson also began a full time commentating position for the BBC 5 Live team alongside David Croft who he has remained partners with throughout 2009-2011 and eventually joining SkySportsF1 for the 2012 covering the free practice sessions. He also presents alongside Georgie Thompson on the race weekend for the ‘Sky Pad’ feature.
In 2011 Davidson also began an involvement within the Formula One racing scene as he signed to be the reserve driver for the Mercedes GP team.
Anthony Davidson is a true example of how perseverance is key to becoming successful within motorsport. He may not have won a race, scored a point or been on a podium in Formula One but he made into one of the most difficult sporting championships in the world which is an incredible achievement within itself. Anthony has also become a firm favourite with the fans through his commentating with “Crofty” which not only provides some ‘human’ aspect to the racing but their banter and relationship certainly makes free practice Formula One funny yet full of facts… whether some of them are just trivial facts about each other is another discussion!
I think I speak on behalf of most F1 fans when I say that the Davidson/Crofty partnership is one of the most enjoyable to listen to and to accompany the sporting action which they are clearly so passionate about which is reflected in their reactions to both on and off track action.
Author: Grace Cunningham
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