Q & A with Anthony Davidson

It's now nearly four months since Super Aguri's collapse left Anthony Davidson without a Formula One drive, but this weekend in Spain he is back in the paddock as an expert commentator for BBC Radio 5 Live

Q & A with Anthony Davidson

Autosport.com caught up with Davidson to hear how he has kept himself occupied while on the sidelines, and to get his thoughts on the future.

Q. What have you been up to since the demise of Super Aguri?

Anthony Davidson: I've been trying to keep busy and the talks I have been having with different teams have been fairly good. It is an exciting part of the year for me. Because I am not racing, it allows me to contact a lot of teams, inside and outside of F1, while other drivers are knuckling down on mid-season work.

It has been good for me to reflect on what happened at the beginning of the year. I feel I can hold my head high with the job I did in F1 and I see this from people I am speaking to in F1 - that I am respected as a race driver and test driver now, rather than just a test driver as it was before the Super Aguri experience. So I feel full of energy for next year no matter what I do, and I think it is going to be an important next chapter in my career as a driver. I am excited about it.

Q. How have your talks with F1 people gone?

AD: I cannot go into too much detail. I have been talking to the obvious teams where there might be a chance for next season. And it is always positive feedback - it has been promising. And I am hopeful of remaining in F1. If that doesn't work out, there are many other options outside of F1 and I know there is life outside of F1. But right now I am focused on remaining in the F1 world and I feel I have got a load to offer.

Q. Was it good getting that test with Honda Racing shortly after Super Aguri went bust?

AD: The test in the Honda was really good. It allowed me to fully realise the difference in equipment between teams in F1, and to really concrete what I have been saying all along. I feel the job I was doing in my respective car was really good, and getting that day at Barcelona was very valuable. I am still in a position where if Honda did want to call upon my services again then I would happily help them out. It was a good day just to keep my hand in and to follow the ongoing evolution in F1.

Q. And have you been keeping your fitness levels up?

AD: Absolutely. I am fitter than ever, absolutely fitter than ever. This time away from racing has really allowed me to focus on my fitness and that is a key part to your whole psyche as a driver, and your confidence. I am feeling on top of my game and I just feel that I still need to be given a chance in F1 to show what I can do.

I think it was a good year last year, I just got better and better, and this year really started to knuckle down and get some really good results in the race - as well as qualifying. Last year, outqualifying my teammate 11-6 was a good effort. I missed out on some points unluckily, and unfortunately you need that in a good car. I feel in a good car I could definitely get the points flooding in, and be a real strong contender in F1. We will have to wait and see.

Q. Frank Williams hinted recently that his team's performance this year could have suffered a little because they did not have a hugely experienced test driver. Do you think teams need experienced guys like you?

AD: Well, I think testing in general has fallen - and one car testing has really shaken things up in F1. I was talking to David Croft at Radio 5 that I think F1 testing needs to change. One car testing isn't really working and race drivers might get a bit rusty between races, especially with the three-week break we have had been races. And it is not allowing new talent to come through either. If you do get a chance in the car, it is usually one of the rookie days where it is a private test and you have no yardstick to measure yourself against. So, I think it needs to change.

I am not saying more testing, but more cars at the tests you do. It doesn't change anything just having one car or two cars - it is not going to save you money. You've done the hard work in getting the team out there, and I don't understand why it has to be that way. It is proof that if you don't have experienced drivers, or drivers that can be very analytical of yourself or the car when you go testing, you are not going to learn much.

Q. Has it been good for you to show your face in the paddock here as you do the Radio 5 commentary?

AD: I am here to help the Radio 5 guys, but also to look around the paddock still and make people remember that I am still around. You live race by race in this world, so it has been good to come to a new circuit and check out the scene - walk the track and study the onboard footage as well, listen to drivers' comments and teams' comments. It has been good and I have seen a few people, lots of friendly faces in the paddock and I feel respected here.

Q. Do you feel optimistic for next year?

AD: I do feel optimistic. I feel positive. I am a free agent. Some people could get put off like that, but I am treating it like this is the next big thing to happen in my career.

Q. Is staying on at Honda still a possibility for next year?

AD: I am not really sure, but it is definitely one of the teams I am talking to. Who knows? We will wait and see.

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