Toyota WEC lead driver, Anthony Davidson, may be back in the car in January following a serious back injury obtained at this year’s at the 24 Hour race of Le Mans.
A former Grand Prix driver with the now defunct Super Aguri team, the Englishman suffered fractures to the eleventh and twelfth thoracic vertebrae of his back after a collision with the AF Corse of Piergiuseppe Perazzini.
Occurring at the end of the Mulsanne straight, the contact, which also took out Perazzini, sent the Toyota spiralling into the air, before coming down hard into the barrier.
Fuelled with adrenaline, Davidson extracted himself from the stricken machine, only to lie down moments later beside his wrecked car; however five months the 33-year-old feels he is close to stepping back into the drivers seat.
When asked how his back was holding up, Davidson’s response was immediate and direct. “It’s pretty good. It’s not holding me back anymore and I feel like I’m ready to get back into a car. I’ve done a bit of karting. I’ve been out twice now and on a pretty hard core circuit with lots of kerbs and crashing and bashing and it held up to that, so I’m sure a nice sprung car will be a little bit easier.”
While Davidson is confident that he’ll be driving again January, he is concentrating on simulator work for Mercedes at their base in Brackley. “I was just whizzing around a virtual Brazil – always fun! There’s not an official date [for a return], but maybe a test in January.”
It has been a year of change for Davidson – and not just on the racing front. Following Peugeot’s surprise withdrawl from the WEC at the start of the year Davidson found a place with Toyota, but not before solidifying a position as co-commentator with Sky Sports F1 after several years co-hosting Grand Prix on BBC Radio 5 Live.
Yet in the midst of what has been a tense, but enjoyable season, Davidson found himself taken aback after a huge opening lap shunt at Spa-Francorchamps, when Lotus’ Romain Grosjean collected Lewis Hamilton before crashing hard and high into both Kamui Kobayashi and title contender Fernando Alonso.
“I wish the Spa incident hadn’t happened with Grosjean at the start. That was quite a scary moment for Formula One, especially as it was my first race back with Sky after my back injury and to witness something like that at the start was pretty scary and brought back quite a few memories.” Davidson continued: “that was the scariest point of the season and it was completely avoidable. There was a sea of tarmac on his left-hand-side and somehow managed to tangle with [Hamilton] on the right.”
Davidson is also well aware of how close Formula One came to having a tragic incident in front of tens of millions of television viewers across the world – some the sport is desperately keen to avoid at all costs.
“It was pretty spectacular and hopefully something we don’t see for a long, long time. We were pretty lucky with the end result, without anyone getting hurt. All it would have taken was a few cars out of position and it could have been a completely different story.”
Like the rest of us, Davidson will hoping to see some clean racing in tomorrow’s Formula One finale at Interlagos as Alonso and series leader Sebastian Vettel line up for one last battle.
Anthony Davidson is an expert analyst on Sky Sports F1 HD. Watch the Brazilian Grand Prix live on Sky Sports F1 HD, plus follow the race using F1 Race Control via the Sky Sports app for iPad.