Exclusive interview - Super Aguris Anthony Davidson 03 Jul 2007
The Magny-Cours weekend may not have been their best, but Super Aguri can definitely be counted among the winners of 2007 so far - four points is more than many thought possible.
But with Takuma Sato having scored them all, is his old rival and team mate Anthony Davidson feeling the pressure?
Q: One point would have delighted Super Aguri this year, so with four you must be in heaven - even if those four were delivered not by you, but by your team mate
Anthony Davidson: To be in this position at this point in the year, with four points in the bag, is great for the team. We set ourselves a realistic but tough goal at the beginning of the year, to come away with one point in the constructor's championship, so to have four points at this stage is incredible. It is not what we were expecting at all, but we have also had a bit of luck on our side. Unfortunately that helping hand hasn't really come my way! I could have scored points in Canada. They were taken away by a suicidal animal (he collided with a groundhog) and that's the way I see it!
Q: Obviously theres a big difference between testing and racing and sometimes the transition can be hard. When you are so used to focussing on set-up, can it hamper your race instincts?
AD: It's always tough to go from testing for five years to racing again. There were obvious learning curves that needed to be done and I feel I've cracked them now. Not having to overtake cars or race wheel-to-wheel for five years means that it took a few races to get used to it again. But the speed was always there, that's the one thing you're always working for in testing and to find a perfect balance. That's the one thing I've found easy to do all year. It's the details in the race that I've needed to learn - getting lapped, racing together, the pitstops, the out-laps, the in-laps - it's all stuff that you don't give much consideration to before doing it again. But I feel that it's going in a direction that I'm pretty happy with.
Q: At Indianapolis you showed us a glimpse of those fighting instincts - are they here to stay now?
AD: It was great to be fighting cars again. It was the first time I've overtaken Jenson (Button) since 1996 actually, so it was quite fun. It was nice to be in a position where the car was genuinely quick enough to be amongst the top 10 in the race situation and I was really pushing on. I've always been a fighter in my racing and it was what I was best known for in my karting days. I always tend to be able to find a little bit more speed in myself when I'm attacking a car in front. So it's always been my style, but no one's really had the chance to see it this year. I'm looking forward to doing it some more.
Q: As you say, Super Aguri have already delivered more than expected in 07. Is there more to come?
AD: I hope so. We have over delivered and we've done better than expected, surpassing our expectations this year for sure. We are still developing the car and that's one thing the team showed last year that they do very well. Their improvement in performance from the beginning of the year to the end of the year was fantastic. There are more improvements coming on the SA07 all the time and hopefully we're going to be another step up in performance for the rest of the year.
Q: Obviously Magny-Cours was one place where the team did not deliver. What happened in that first-corner melee?
AD: The track was very slippery and as we all headed into Turn One the train of cars in front of me braked very hard and early. Wurz went round the inside of Luizzi, which made him brake heavily and that caused a bit of a chain reaction. I locked up both fronts and made contact with Liuzzi. He spun round and I went round the outside of him. I think then someone else hit him and he came back into me and spun me round. I made it back round to the pits, but the car was too damaged to continue. It is a shame, but I put it down to a racing incident.
Q: At the recent Jerez test you worked on traction control and set-up. Were you satisfied with progress and will your findings stand you in good stead for Silverstone?
AD: In Indy I felt that one of the only weak areas on the car in race conditions was the traction on the exit of Turn 10. I wanted to improve that and so in Jerez we worked on the traction control side and also on the set-up of the car. I think we made some improvements so I'm happy - even if that improvement did not work quite as well as we had anticipated. But I think the car is going to suit the Silverstone circuit.
Q: You recently expressed a belief that Super Aguri could become regular Q2 qualifiers. Obviously Magny-Cours was too early for that, but what changes are planned for the car to make sure this happens?
AD: It's always been our mission to get into Q2, and Magny-Cours should be seen as an outlier. I hope that we can continue with the development as it was before the French GP and get the cars further up the grid for races in the future.
Q: What do you expect for Silverstone?
AD: I'm hoping for some points to come my way and if I'm to score points at only one race this year I definitely hope it can be at Silverstone, my home Grand Prix.