Q & A with Anthony Davidson
|By Jonathan Noble||Wednesday, November 29th 2006, 10:13 GMT|
Anthony Davidson started his new life as a Formula One race driver at Barcelona on Tuesday, when he began testing for the Super Aguri team.
A new interim chassis, which appears to be based on the Honda RA106, showed impressive speed and Davidson instantly felt at home in his new environment.
Autosport.com caught up with him to find out how he was settling in, and how easy it was adjusting to the new Bridgestone tyres.
Q. How was your first day?
Anthony Davidson: It was quite an interesting day really. The main thing that was difficult for me was learning the tyres - and I am still learning them. I think everyone up and down the paddock had the same problem, little teething issues.
At least we got the feel for it and we can work on it for the next two days. But it was a good day, very positive, and we made steps all the through.
Q. What are you experiencing with the tyres? Are they sliding more?
AD: Massively. Basically they slide a lot more. It tests the driver more actually, it really does.
Q. In what respect?
AD: It is not more physical; in fact I would say it is less physical because we are going slower. But it is difficult to make them work, on the first lap, especially in these cold conditions. That was part of the programme for the first day. We are trying to understand how to make them work over a long run too. It has been hard day. A very hard day back at work.
Basically it is an inferior tyre (compared to the 2006 spec), as it is older technology. It is saving money at the end of the day, so Bridgestone are not using the same material as they were all throughout this year. With this tyre we are feeling it out there.
Q. Can it be overcome with the car set up?
AD: Yes, it is the set up we have to get right. We had difficulty all year in the Honda making the tyres works (Michelins) in cold conditions. It was a trick to get right. I would not say it was bad, but it was personally for me tricky to get it right.
Q. It is trickier on the first lap, and then does it get better?
AD: It seems to be that way, yes. Just like on my last run from the first day. I got caught in traffic, so I had to back off. Then I had to attack again, but I had lost all the heat in the tyres and all the grip had gone. It is not dangerous, in some respects it is quite fun, but it is just difficult to try to get the car to work, and to work the tyre.
Q. Do you have to be more precise than during this season?
AD: I would say so. It appears to me that way at the moment. Also the teams are running less tyres so there is less rubber going down on the tarmac. The track stayed amazingly green all the day. How the track evolved was how it was at 1030am in the morning! That is normally the time to go out on the track (to get the best time) but it has taken all day to get it.
Q. How different does it feel being in the cockpit for yourself rather than preparing for another driver?
AD: An F1 car is an F1 car, after all. I have driven quite a few cars now - the Jordan, Minardi, BAR (Honda) and today the Super Aguri. They are all based around the same regulations in the cockpit. It is quite a similar environment to be in actually. It was a nice feeling.
Q. But psychologically, is it different?
AD: Yes there are different colours around me and it is difficult being so much lower down on the time sheets. It is hard to see your name all the time down there. You get that 'right, I've got to keep pushing' feeling, which is different. Psychologically it is a different situation now.
Normally I am right up there (on the time sheet), right at the sharp end, in testing and on Fridays as well, so it has been an interesting time from that point of view. But I am keeping happy and I know the first day has gone well – but it is not obvious with the performance.
Q. And what about doing things for yourself?
AD: It still feels like just normal work at the moment. It has been frustrating going slower because of the tyres. Race drivers want to get quicker, but when we are given slower tyres we cannot.
Q. Is there a huge amount of work to do before the beginning of the season?
AD: It feels like it...
Q. How are you feeling in the car?
AD: I am getting more comfortable in the car. I am happy. It is a new car for me. The buttons are very similar and we have the same controls and the same engine, so it all makes sense in the cockpit.
Q. Coming from a big team like Honda to a small one like this, how do you feel the difference?
AD: It is interesting for me. It is good to start this way. It is different. I am learning all the new things, which is the most important part. They are really good guys here. I really like it.