A few years ago Super Aguri refugee Anthony Davidson had never set foot in Monte Carlo let alone hustled an 800bhp Formula One car around it’s tortuous streets.
In 2004 Davidson stamped his authority on the street circuit as Honda’s Friday man and he has never looked back since.
Talking exclusively to Forumula1.com, the British ace gives his take on the jewel in the Formula One calendar.
What is it like racing at Monaco?
It’s a great track for any driver to drive around in any car. A Formula One car is the only thing I’ve ever driven around there but I’d imagine it would be the same challenge in anything. Monaco is one of the circuits where a driver can make a difference even in a modern Formula One car.
How true is it that a driver can deliver beyond the capabilities of his car at Monaco?
Well the interesting that about Monaco is that maybe not on a single lap in qualifying but definitely in the race – that’s were driver can make a difference. Controlled aggressiveness can see you going much faster than other drivers that zone out into a comfort area.
You can definitely make up time if you keep it 100% the whole race. At most of the circuits you let the car do what it wants to do but around Monaco you do have to be physical with it and take it by the scruff of the neck every single lap of the race. The more the tyres wear the more you have to drive like that.
I saw this last year when I was in inferior equipment and towards the race. I could see I was actually hauling in faster cars where drivers had pretty much just gone into a nice comfort zone and weren’t prepared to push anymore. You have to be on it every single lap to make a difference.
You’re one of the few drivers not to live at the Principality, is that a good thing given that you’re not racing there his year?
Yeah I think it’s a good thing anyway. It would be my worst nightmare come true to be living in Monaco not because of the money but because I don’t like living in cities, on top of people. I much prefer the countryside and yeah it’s a good one anyway not to live there. It would have been horrible to be a resident at Monaco and then the Grand Prix pretty much landing on your doorstep. It definitely wouldn’t be my preferred country to live in that’s for sure.
What are your best memories from the street circuit?
I think Monaco was one of the circuits where I made people aware of me back in 2004 when I was doing the third driving for Honda.
You can’t go fast around there if you’re not a decent driver. To go second fastest to Michael in my first ever time there in a Formula One car, well my first ever time there period, was a really good. People couldn’t then doubt my speed and consistency. I think was Monaco was a real eye opener for other people which put me on map.
Where next for Anthony Davidson? You mentioned you had “unfinished business”; is that back in Formula One?
Well obviously that’s gone to be the main target, I feel I belong there. I feel I’ve done enough to have a proper go at it and I think I was only scratching the surface in what I can do. So yeah hopefully I will be back there next season showing what I can do.