Davidson ready for BAR race debut 19 Mar 2005
Stepping in for the sick Takuma Sato, Anthony Davidson began his preparations for the Malaysian Grand Prix on Saturday morning with a top-ten finish in final practice at Sepang.
"First of all I would like to wish Taku a speedy recovery, said Davidson. He is obviously very frustrated that he has had to retire from the race. Despite the circumstances, I am very much looking forward to making my race debut for BAR Honda here at Sepang.
Malaysia is an extremely tough race for the regular drivers, so I know tomorrow will be a big challenge for me. However, my third driver role means I have to be prepared for times like these and I feel fit enough and mentally prepared to take over in the car.
I have completed a lot of laps in free practice this morning and am happy with my times and the car balance, so I have a good starting point and will give it everything I've got for the team tomorrow."
Sato, who is running a fever symptomatic of a viral infection, wished his team mate good luck, but insisted he would back in the cockpit for the next round of the championship in two weeks time.
"I am obviously extremely disappointed that I have had to retire from the Malaysian Grand Prix - a race that I have prepared extremely hard for, said the Japanese driver. Having discussed my condition with the medical staff and the team, I accept their advice that it is not sensible for me to take part in such a physically demanding race.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish my team-mate Anthony Davidson well as he steps in for me for the rest of the weekend. I have now been advised to get plenty of rest and look forward to getting well again in time to be back in the car in Bahrain."
It has not been the greatest weekend so far for BAR. After Satos withdrawal, Jenson Button then suffered an engine failure in Saturdays second practice session, which means he will drop ten places on the grid for Sundays race.