Anthony Davidson

Two years after his frustrating outings with Minardi at the Hungaroring and Spa, Anthony Davidson is closer than ever to getting back in a race seat. His Friday performances at this year's Grands Prix have been hugely impressive, and attracted interest from all around the paddock

Anthony Davidson

If the CRB decides in favour of Williams, then he is well set to slip into the BAR seat vacated by Jenson Button - if a few hurdles can be overcome. His overall lack of race experience inevitably counts against him, as does the fact that he doesn't have the brand recognition that the likes of Jacques Villeneuve and David Coulthard bring. The team has to convince its current and future sponsors to take a punt on the youngster.

Meanwhile, there's nothing he can do but wait.

"The Jenson scenario keeps going on, and no-one's really sure what's happening at the moment," he says. "We're just pushing everywhere at the moment. We're pushing here at BAR, we're pushing Jaguar, Sauber, Williams... we're pushing everywhere, and we'll see what happens.

"My name has been touted around by quite a lot of teams. A few people from this team have been approached by other teams who are asking about me. The problem you face then is that the people from BAR don't want to make me sound too good because they don't want to lose me as a test driver if I have to stay for next year!"

Anthony admits that when he first heard the news of Button's planned escape to Williams, he thought his chance had come. The ensuing delays have not helped.

"At the time, when it seemed like a done deal and set in stone, it seemed likely that I'd have a good chance of landing the drive here. But now because it's all up in the air it's taken longer than everyone thought at first, so we're just sitting tight at the moment. This would be our best option, so we have to wait until something's resolved here and at Williams.

"I think I'm pretty well positioned. The world of F1 always looks forward. While obviously there are drivers out there that have vast experience, I know the car really well now, I'm on the race drivers' pace, and I do a lot of the car development. A lot of the times on a Friday I've done major set-up work, and the race drivers have taken that for the race.

"I don't really feel there's an area I'm weak in any more, and I do feel ready. I wouldn't be wasting other teams' time in pushing for a drive, because I'm an honest bloke. Honest with myself - too hard on myself, most of the time. Now I do feel ready, I feel comfortable about jumping in."

He admits that those races he did with Minardi - both of which ended up with offs - might have counted against him. You only get one chance to make a first impression.

"I think what we did with Minardi was maybe not the best thing. I'd only had 20 days maximum with BAR at that point, and that was dating back to 2001, so it was quite a spasmodic testing regime we had.

"It's been much better this year, in the car all the time. I've really got to know the race team, and feel really comfortable. And when you're comfortable, you're fast. For example, Spa was brilliant for me, and I was well happy with my performance. I just have to wait and keep doing a good job.'

But it all comes back to whether BAR will opt for youth or experience. The biggest problem is that his old F3 rival Takuma Sato is still on a learning curve, and a team hoping to challenge Ferrari perhaps can't afford to have two guys at a similar stage in their careers. He thinks they'll make a great team.

"That has been talked about. But basically the better Taku does, the better it is for me. If he can finish well in every race, and outqualify Jenson, and aim to do a good steady job for the rest of the year, then I don't see why not. We've been proven team-mates in F3, and it would be the same here. You need a good rapport between drivers. Look at Montoya and Ralf - it's a nightmare! It's held the team back so much this year, squabbling over petty things..."

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