In the news today…
Former Toro Rosso driver Sebastien Buemi, and former Super Aguri driver (and current Sky commentator) Anthony Davidson have been signed up for Toyota’s second LMP1 team at Le Mans this year. Davidson was left without a drive this season when Peugeot announced their departure from the WEC, and the skilled British driver thoroughly deserves a place at Le Mans. Buemi remains a Red Bull and Toro Rosso tester, but it’s good to see him in a race seat at least once this year. This will be the Swiss driver’s first endurance race.
Ant Davidson’s former Peugeot teammate Alex Wurz, along with Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima, have already been signed to complete a full WEC season with Toyota in the LMP1 hybrid car.
Fabio Leimer, who has twice won the Barcelona GP2 sprint race and came second in the Italian sprint last season with Rapax, has signed with Racing Engineering for 2012. The Swiss driver also took second with Rapax at Imola for GP2 Asia. Leimer and Racing Engineering seem to be a good combination, as the GP2 final proved this year. He took pole in qualifying at Abu Dhabi, going on to win the feature race and take the fastest lap. This was enough to give him victory in the non-championship event, and already he is one of the favourites for the championship this year.
Lots more testing going on today, with Jarno Trulli and Nico Hulkenberg both out with their teams for the first time in 2012. Alonso for Ferrari has been fastest so far, while Red Bull have had electrical issues so Vettel has not yet set a time. More to come later…
Today’s F1 birthday belongs to a very popular voice. Often alongside David Croft in the commentary box for BBC 5 live, the BBC Red Button, BBC Online and on-track FanVision (formerly Kangaroo TV), Anthony “Ant” Davidson is 32 today.
Ant raced in F1 for a short while for Super-Aguri Honda, but the financially-troubled team didn’t make it past four races in their final season. Honda’s main team also didn’t make it beyond the end of that season.
Prior to F1, he had shown his skills in British Formula Ford by winning the 1999 winter series and coming third in the main series in 2000. He test drove for BAR the next year while participating in British Formula Three (2nd) and the European Formula Three Cup Series (1st). Ant’s BF3 second place was against Takuma Sato, and Ant had 6 wins, 14 podiums overall, 6 fastest laps and 7 pole positions.
In 2002 he continued to test drive for BAR, but also had a couple of failed outings with Minardi. In 2003 he continued to test drive while also taking part in American Le Mans Series (ALMS). In 2005 he took to the grid again for BAR, with once again a single race which he failed to finish.
In 2006 he test-drove for Honda, and in 2007 his chance came with Super Aguri. In 17 races he never finished in the points, and finished 23rd. The next season – 2008 – he finished 22nd out of 22 drivers though the team only did four races.
In 2009 he was a test-driver for Brawn, but also began taking part in more ALMS and Le Mans 24 hours. On top of that, he began his illustrious career with the BBC, and the friendly voice we all love to listen to on the radio. Hopefully, he won’t be going away from the BBC any time soon.
Happy birthday Ant – have a good one!