I did actually promise myself that I wasn’t going to write columns devoted to particular drivers. I promised my editor too, so I can probably expect to have a keyboard whacked across my face for trying to sneak this one through…

But please indulge me just this once, because it’s crucial – it really is. So who is it that’s so important they warrant this? Schumi? Ferdy? The Kimster? JV, DC or even our own Jenson Button? Nope. They have acres of print and screen devoted to their charmed careers. No – it’s Anthony Davidson.

What I want to know is what Davidson has done in some previous life that’s stopping him from being F1’s next Great Briton? A man who often matched and frequently bettered Jenson Button and Dan Wheldon in karts should clearly not be where he is now.

In British F3 he partnered Takuma Sato throughout the 2001 season to come second in ever improving races and with obvious pace, persistence and a wily, ballsy penchant for overtaking. But since becoming Honda’s 3rd driver, things have clearly drifted – not helped by the team effectively leaving him on the bench, Gil de Ferran bringing in Barrichello, and the team being reluctant even to let him do things like the Williams shoot-out test.

Davidson is known by many names: ‘The Ant’, ‘Little Ant’, ‘Boy Friday’, ‘F1’s Best Kept Secret’ – and, quaintly, by a friend of mine as ‘That Total Ginger Studmuffin’.
The Boy Friday moniker comes from his 3rd driver duties with Honda this current season, and in 2004, where his scorching sessions in both years sometimes led to lazy (and fundamentally wrong) notions that he was running on fumes. He also has a phenomenal reputation as a test driver.

His feedback to engineers in testing and developing cars is well renowned, as is his searing pace not only on short runs but over huge distances, week in week out. He has also had the very briefest of actual GP outings.
Nothing though, ever seems to give Ant enough kudos to have a decent team put him in a race seat; something not helped by his lack of absurd Buttonesque ego or PR presence. F1’s Mr Nice Guy is sadly also F1’s invisible man.

But, and I don’t use the word lightly, Goddammit! Somebody give him a drive! At a time when even people like Ide (who simply couldn’t drive an F1 car, let alone communicate with his team) manage to get seats and when apparent heavyweights (cunningly disguised as has-beens) like Barrichello can flap around so uselessly without getting sacked or punched, it’s criminal that Ant isn’t on the grid.

The burblings of a drive at Aguri in 2007 sound dangerously like a dead-end though: he deserves way better than that, and it’s high time a top team manager came to their senses and put him in a race seat worthy of his considerable gifts and skills.

Rant over: Peace, out.