Anthony Davidson is a British racing driver who recorded 24 starts in the Formula One World Championship between 2002 and 2008 with three teams, but he was much more successful in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
He became the world endurance championship in 2014 together with Sebastien Buemi, driving a Toyota TS040 Hybrid. He was Toyota factory driver in the FIA WEC from 2013 to 2017. At Le Mans 24 Hours, Davidson reached two podiums in 2013 and 2014.
Start with karts at the age of 8
Anthony Denis Davidson was born on April 18th, 1979, in Hemel Hempstead, England. He began racing with karts very early, at the age of 8. He won the British karting championship title two years in a row (1994-1995) and progressed to the highest level of karting – the European and World Championships. Anthony moved to single seater racing in 1999, debuting in the British Formula Ford and winning the Kent class at the Formula Ford Festival.
In 2000, Davidson finished third in the British Formula Ford championship but scored the overall victory at the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch. That brought him the McLaren/Autosport Young Driver of the Year Award.
Runner-up in the British F3
The next step in his career was the Formula 3. Davidson competed in the 2001 British Formula 3 Championship, driving Honda-powered Dallara F301 for Carlin. With six wins and 14 podiums in 26 races, Davidson finished second in the championship, behind his teammate Takuma Sato. An impressive championship performance and good results in some non-championship races brought him an opportunity to enter the Formula One world.
While competing in Formula 3, Anthony was a test driver for the Lucky Strike BAR Honda F1 team. He continued to work for BAR in 2002 and in August, he got a chance to make debut in Formula One, for the Minardi team, as a replacement for suspended regular driver Alex Yoong.
Formula One debut with Minardi at the Hungaroring
He made his Formula One debut at the Hungarian Grand Prix, driving the PS2-Asiatech alongside Mark Webber. Minardi was an outsider team so Webber and Davidson started the race from the back of the grid. Davidson didn't finish his debuting race at the Hungaroring, as he spun off after 58 laps.
The similar situation repeated at the Belgian Grand Prix, where both Webber and Davidson retired early in the race. After that race, Yoong returned to the team and Davidson's replacement job was over.
Le Mans debut with Veloqx Prodrive Ferrari
In 2003, Anthony was still BAR's test driver, but while he was waiting for the next F1 opportunity he tried the sportscar racing. Davidson joined Veloqx Prodrive Racing team in the American Le Mans Series and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
In his Le Mans debut, sharing the Ferrari 550 Maranello with Darren Turner and Kelvin Burth, Davidson didn't reach the finish. He was more successful in the American Le Mans Series, reaching the podiums at the 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.
Replacement for Sato at the 2005 Malaysian GP
In 2004, Anthony spent the whole season without races, just working as a test driver for BAR-Honda. In 2005, nothing changed and he was again the 'racer without races' until Takuma Sato got ill and Davidson replaced him at the Malaysian Grand Prix.
He qualified for the 15th place on the grid but his race lasted just two laps when the engine went off in flames. In 2006, the team was renamed to Honda Racing F1 but Anthony's situation remained the same.
The first and only full-time Formula 1 season
After six years of test driving duties in the Formula One, Davidson finally got a job as a full-time driver for the 2007 season. He joined Super Aguri F1 team, together with Takuma Sato, who moved from Honda. Davidson competed in 17 races, retired five times and finished three times in the 11th place.
He was close to the points at the Canadian Grand Prix but his car hit the groundhog which was running across the track. The front wing of the car was damaged and Anthony had to make an unscheduled pit stop, which put him out of points.
F1 career ended after Aguri's withdrawal
In 2008, Davidson started the season with Super Aguri but the team withdrew from the championship after four races due to financial problems. Davidson's last F1 Grand Prix race was the 2008 Spanish Grand Prix. For the rest of the season, he returned to his old job as a test driver for Honda.
The Japanese manufacturer also pulled out of Formula One at the end of the season because of financial difficulties. Ross Brawn bought the team and formed the Brawn GP, with Davidson as a test driver. In 2010, Mercedes took over the team and Davidson continued to work as a development driver. He was connected with Mercedes' team until 2013 through the various jobs, but never as a racing driver.
Davidson focused to prototypes since 2009
Instead of Formula One, Davidson's focus was switched to prototypes and endurance racing. He partnered Darren Turner and Jos Verstappen in the Aston Martin Racing's LMP1 prototype at the 2009 24 Hours of Le Mans. They finished 13th overall.
For 2010 season Davidson joined the Team Peugeot Total. At the 24-hour Le Mans race, he paired Marc Gene and Alexander Wurz, the winners from the previous edition. They were leading when the engine of the Peugeot 908 HDi failed in the late stage of the race, after 360 laps. Davidson scored a victory at Silverstone and took the second place at Petit Le Mans.
Intercontinental Le Mans Cup title with Peugeot
In 2011, Davidson helped the Peugeot Sport team to win the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup. He won at Spa, Zhuhai and Imola. At the most important race, at Le Mans, Davidson was again competing alongside Wurz and Gene. They missed the podium and finished fourth.
Bad injuries in the 2012 Le Mans crash
In the fifth hour of the race, on Lap 82, Davidson had a collision with Ferrari 458 Italia of Piergiuseppe Perazzini. Davidson's car went airborne and landed into the barrier. In a heavy crash, Davidson earned fractures of two bones in thoracic vertebrae.
In 2013, Davidson joined Toyota for a full season in the FIA World Endurance Championship and he teamed-up with Buemi and Sarrazin. In the championship, Davidson finished third, with one victory in eight races.
Anthony Davidson - the 2014 FIA WEC champion
The season 2014 was the most successful for Anthony. He won at four championship races (Silverstone, Spa, Fuji, and Shanghai), driving the new Toyota TS040 Hybrid, and took the World Endurance Championship title, together with teammate Sebastien Buemi. At Le Mans, they again missed the victory, finishing third.
In 2015, Toyota wasn't competitive in the FIA WEC, if compared to Porsche and Audi. After eight races without victories, with just one podium at Silverstone, Davidson finished fifth in the final classification of the championship. At Le Mans Davidson and his teammates in the #1 Toyota finished eighth.
Racing with Toyota until 2017
For the 2016 FIA WEC season, Toyota Gazoo Racing introduced the brand new prototype TS050 Hybrid. Davidson's teammates again were Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima. They scored no wins and finished 8th in the points. At Le Mans, they were leading until the last lap when the #5 Toyota stopped.
In 2017, the situation was completely different. Davidson and his teammates in the #8 car scored five wins. He missed one race and finished third in the final standings.
Toyota dropped Davidson from its line-up for the 2018 FIA WEC season. He joined DragonSpeed at Le Mans 24h and stayed with the team after that.