Born in Hemel Hempstead, UK in 1979, Anthony Denis Davidson finally made it in to Formula One in 2002 and managed to get a full-time drive in 2007 with the Super Aguri team.
Davidson started karting in 1987 at just eight years old, competing in a wide variety of British, European and North American championships, earning success as he progressed through the ranks. Anthony took two karting titles in 1994 and another in 1995 as well as taking the Italian championship in 1996 and finishing runner-up in the Formula A European campaign in the same year. By 1999 Davidson was in Formula Ford single seaters, finishing second in 2000 and won the Blue Riband Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch and scooped the McLaren/Autosport Young Driver of the Year Award. To say Davidson seemed like a real talent was an understatement.
Davidson’s success in karts and single seaters led to a testing role for the BAR Formula One team. Anthony’s urge to race came to fruition in 2002 when he was allowed to stand in for Alex Yoong in the Minardi, competing in the Hungarian and Belgian Grands Prix. Davidson retired from both events, but proved to be quick only lapping 0.6s shy of Mark Webber in the sister car.
In 2003 Davidson continued with BAR acting as a test driver and developing the car and on stand-by as the reserve driver. The following year Davidson was able to show the world his pace when the rules were changed, allowing a third driver to run on Friday’s to help with setting up the race cars and preparing for the Grand Prix. Team owners up and down the pit lane were almost unanimous in their decision that Anthony was a very fast and mature driver, but a race seat still did not present itself.
2005 seemed like it could have been the chance Anthony was looking for when Williams showed interest but difficulties in the contract
negotiations meant Davidson was eventualy ruled out of the drive. Instead the Briton remained on BAR‘s books as test and reserve. The season did bring a stand-in opportunity when Takuma Sato fell ill prior to the Malaysian Grand Prix. Davidson took to the race seat and finished but retired just a few laps in with engine failure.
By 2006 BAR had been bought out by Honda and they retained Davidson, seeing his skill at developing the car away from the races. Honda increased Anthony’s workload and relied on him heavily for feedback at the test sessions on on Friday’s at the races. Anthony even stepped in for Martin Brundle in ITV’s commentary box at the Hungarian Grand Prix, the race which saw the teams maiden victory at the hands of Jenson Button.
At the end of 2006, it was announced that Davidson would become the second driver in Honda’s second team, Super Aguri. Partnering Takuma Sato, Anthony finally got his full-time contract and would compete in every race of the season. The move was wise for both parties and although the season passed without points for Davidson, his performance impressed, even putting pressure on the factory team and keeping Takuma Sato close by. While Sato claimed the teams first points in Spain, Anthony did well in the Canadian Grand Prix, running in third before striking a groundhog (or similar) and was forced to pit for a new front wing. He left the pits in eleventh and couldn’t regain the lost positions.
Beyond Formula One
Anthony is married to Carrie, whom he wed in Banbury in Oxfordshire. The couple live in Brackley near to the Honda factory, and Anthony’s brother Andrew appeared in the first series of British reality show Big Brother.