Will F1 Miss Anthony Davidson?
Anthony Davidson was, for many years, F1's 'nearly-man'. He became test driver for BAR-Honda (later just Honda) in 2001, and held that position for the best part of six years. He made his Grand Prix debut in 2002, standing in for Minardi's Alex Yoong at the Hungarian and Belgian Grands Prix.
Throughout his time testing for Honda, he was regarded as a someone who sorely deserved a race drive. Indeed, Williams tried to sign him for 2005 but BAR refused to release him unless they could be assured of getting him back for 2006.
Apart from his short-lived 2005 Malaysian Grand Prix, where he stood in for Takuma Sato, Davidson went without a race drive until 2007, when his close relationship with Honda put him in prime position for a drive at the fledgling Super Aguri team.
Only eighteen months later, however, Super Aguri has folded. So where does this leave Anthony Davidson? Does he deserve to be in prime position for a seat in a midfield team in 2009? I think not.
It seems to me that Davidson's performances in F1 have failed to show that he deserves to be signed up by another team. Though we only have one-and-a-half full seasons of F1 racing to judge him by - and those in a Super Aguri, of all cars - many drivers have in the past managed to make a much greater impact in such substandard equipment than Davidson has managed.
Indeed, Davidson has not shown that he can consistently match Sato, his teammate - and let's not forget that Sato was summarily outclassed by Jenson Button when the two were together at Honda. This is a good indication that, while Davidson may have some talent, he is far from being up there with the best. While we can't be sure, since Davidson has never had a fast car to prove himself in, he seems to be far from special when compared to most other drivers on the grid.
Let me put the point another way. Can you think of any current F1 driver who deserves his seat less than Davidson, in terms of quick they are? F1 in 2008 is blessed with an incredibly rich crop of talent, especially amongst the youngsters. Among the recent rookies, Nakajima hasn't been far off the pace of Rosberg - and while Piquet is yet to impress, when he's been on the pace he's not much slower than multiple-champion Alonso.
Davidson, unfortunately, doesn't quitecut the mustard when compared to the new generation of F1 drivers. And with several GP2 stars knocking on the door of F1 - think Chandhok, Senna, Grosjean - it's hard to see how Davidson can be a serious contender for one of F1's twenty 2009 seats.
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