Anthony Davidson Q&A

In an unusual turn of events BAR tester and 'fourth man' Anthony Davidson has become the reserve driver for Jaguar. Not only is there an obvious clash of engine supplier, but also tyre companies. However, the Brit will only drive the R4 if there's a problem at a race meeting and the team needs a last minute replacement, as happened in Austria in 2000 when Eddie Irvine was ill and Luciano Burti took over. As far as next year is concerned, Davidson will probably return to his third/reserve driver role at BAR, assuming that Takuma Sato is promoted to the race team as replacement for Jacques Villeneuve. Adam Cooper asked Davidson about his new arrangement and his recent outing at Goodwood in a 1989 McLaren-Honda.

Anthony Davidson Q&A



"It is a strange deal. Nothing's been signed at all, but it's an unofficial reserve driver role. I'm not going to test the car or anything. After the Monaco incident with Jenson I think people have opened their eyes a bit to what would happen if one of their drivers got ill or injured. They don't want to panic to get a driver at short notice. At least they know they've got someone just in case. That's all it is, really."



"No one's told me what the steering wheel or any of the controls do or anything, I just purely did a seat fitting. And it was quite a good one! At the races I have a Jaguar pass and I'm there for Jaguar, if need be. They pay for me to get there and I'm going to all the races. It started in France, but no one knew about it. We didn't go out of our way to tell people, but someone saw me wearing the pass and thought, 'That's a bit strange!'"



"I have started thinking about America, but I do like what I do. I love the testing, and I just wish I could do more of it. This year has been bad. Last year was quite good, and my fitness really went up at the end of last year, because I was in the car all the time. This time it's been pretty tough - you might have a two month break before you get a three-day solid test at Mugello or Barcelona. Those are hard tracks, and you can't be race fit if you're not given a chance to drive a lot. The advantage I had over some when it came to Jaguar is that I do get the chance to drive these things, although not as often as I'd like. I will be in the car more towards the end of the year. However I was happy with my fitness at Barcelona last week - I could easily do 115 laps on the first day."



"It's IRL or nothing, isn't it? There are connections and links at BAR. You get days like Goodwood because of Honda."



"I don't know. I'm still contracted to BAR, and if Takuma is a race driver, that's better for me - not as good as me getting the drive! - but it will put me in the number one testing role again. I don't care who's in the race cars, I just want my position back. It's not a nice feeling to get pushed down when you've been the third driver before. It's not a bad position to be in, as you get a lot of days in the car."



"I didn't really fit the thing really well, but being a museum they couldn't go shifting the pedals around. And the car was so small, I couldn't believe it. My arms rubbed against the side of the cockpit. I've seen Prost in the flesh, and he's a similar build and height to me, maybe a little bit smaller height wise - he's a Takuma size, I reckon! I let Felipe Massa sit in the car as well, and he couldn't believe how tight it was. It felt more comfortable than a modern car, because it felt like it was made for me, rather than a six footer."



"It's great. The whole thing's got a mechanical feel to it -the throttle's got a cable on it, you've got a foot clutch, and everything's got a great feel to it. It's like a big F3 car. They told me to take it quite easy, but I did start to floor it. It was emotional to drive, because you know the history of the car, and who drove it. It was the famous Prost/Senna car in their dominant era. It was I believe the car that crashed at the Suzuka chicane."



"The track's a little bit short and you don't really get a chance to feel the car, but it's quite good fun going up the hill and coming back down, and all the sound echoes from the walls and barriers. It sounded like a proper car - not like these buzzboxes of today. It's got a real roar to it, and because it's half a litre larger it's got a lot of torque and keeps pulling and pulling. I was really honoured to drive it. Some of the old Honda motorbikes were awesome. We had Montoya standing in the tent listening to them being warmed up!"

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