Davidson looks to future

Anthony Davidson has put a brave face this week on his return to testing duties with BAR by insisting that he is sure he can land a full-time Formula 1 race seat in 2006 - despite seeing his 2005 chances dashed by a contract dispute

Davidson looks to future

The highly-rated Briton, who was hot property in the driver market this year on the back of consistent strong performances in Friday practice, was being chased by both Williams and Red Bull Racing for a drive in 2005 - but contractual terms could not be agreed because BAR wanted to keep an option on his services for 2006.

With his hopes officially ending this week, as BAR brought him back for testing duties, Davidson remains confident that circumstances will be different in 12 month's time and that he will be able to make the breakthrough that has so far eluded him.

Speaking on his own web-site, Davidson said: "In a way it was a back-handed compliment. Both BAR and Honda wanted me so badly that they were not prepared to just let me go somewhere else.

"I am of course disappointed that I have missed out on a race drive for next year. I was really confident that I could have done enough to prove to BMW-Williams what I could do. I am ready to race now - I want to race now. I was just caught in a three-way pull between BAR and the other two teams, who wanted more than BAR could give them.

"Red Bull were prepared to offer me a two-year contract, but BAR wanted an option to take me in 2006, should they have wanted to put me in the car. With Williams, BAR were prepared to 'lease me' for one-year for 2005 for the same reason, although Williams were also looking for more than just a one-year deal."

With BAR not having either of its drivers signed up for 2006, Davidson certainly has a fair shot at the seat should Button or Sato move elsewhere - and his abilities will likely draw interest from elsewhere over the course of the next season.

Davidson added: "Depending on how things work out, I feel that I have a good opportunity of getting a race seat with BAR in 2006. Honda is also a massive organisation and it means a lot to me to know that they want to keep me. I have 100% loyalty towards them. That feeling of being wanted means a lot to me.

"What it does mean is that I will now definitely have another year of testing with BAR (in 2005), treading water, so to speak, biding my time. If BAR are eventually unable to offer me a race seat for 2006, I am not obliged to stay with them in 2006, especially if a race seat is on offer from someone else when the time comes."

And Davidson's hopes of landing a seat at BAR in 2006 could well be boosted thanks to a performance-related clause in Jenson Button's contract with the team.

Autosport's sister publication F1 Racing claims in its January 2005 issue that Button will have to join Williams for 2006 if he has not reached a certain performance level by July 31, 2005. The magazine claims he must he must have a points tally equal to or greater than 70 percent of the world championship leader's.

As a comparison, on July 31, 2004, Schumacher had scored 110 points and Button 61 - 16 fewer than the 77 he needed to hit the 70 percent figure.

BAR is well aware of Davidson's abilities - and technical director Geoff Willis has said several times in recent weeks that he would welcome the Briton's arrival in a race seat.

"Anthony now has an enormous amount of testing experience - but he's also extremely quick," he told F1 Racing. "We're obliged and desirous to help him get a race drive, so he might well race for us at some point in the future."

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