Danner Warns GP Masters Rivals

Former Zakspeed driver Christian Danner has warned of the dangers of not taking the new Grand Prix Masters seriously and labeled series rivals and former F1 stars Alan Jones and Patrick Tambay as 'fat'

Danner Warns GP Masters Rivals

The German is one of several names to sign up for the 600bhp single-seater series, which includes star names such as Jones, Tambay, Emerson Fittipaldi, Riccardo Patrese, Rene Arnoux and Andrea de Cesaris.

The series is also likely to include Alain Prost and further big names are promised before the inaugural race at Kyalami, South Africa on November 13.

All drivers must pass a medical examination before they race, but Danner, who raced in Formula One in 1986 and 1989 believes that all drivers will have to ensure their physical fitness is up to scratch before competing in the series.

"That first race will be very interesting," Danner said. "What will be most revealing is how well prepared the drivers are. Alan Jones and Patrick Tambay will be fat. I want to see their faces when they take their helmets off after the first race.

"I recently met with Andrea de Cesaris in Monaco and he was fiercely competitive just talking about the series. I think we will have to be sensible when we race and probably pacify things a little.
 
"The trick is for us all to understand that we are not racing for our careers any more - this is with entertainment in mind and for the sheer hell of it. The racing, however, will be no less serious as will the fitness and preparation required.

"I am pretty fit, so are many of the other Masters and in some cases they are as fit as ever. For some of the other drivers it is a bit of an incentive for them to lose some weight."

The car is being designed by British company Delta Motorsport, which the 47 year-old reckons will be faster than the current GP2 cars.

"I don't think anyone should underestimate the speed of the car," he added. "I started training quite some time ago and run for at least an hour a day. I don't want to run out of puff at the third corner, unlike some!

"I have spoken at length to the engineers at Delta about what the ideal car would be like for this series. It must certainly be faster than a GP2 car, which it will be. It also has to be very driveable and progressive. None of us are 25 any more and we won't be doing anywhere near as much testing as we did in our youth so we need cars that allow us to race hard but safely."

Danner also revealed that the reason behind his participation in the series was the chance to settle some old scores, when he wasn't given the chance to compete in equal machinery. Drivers are eligible for the series if they have retired from open wheel racing, competed in F1 for two complete seasons and are over 45.

"Having identical equipment is undoubtedly one of the major attractions of this series. It will certainly be interesting for the superstar names. These guys were used to being in the right cars during their F1 careers. I'm not bemoaning that; they were clever and quick and earned the right.

"But in reality the only time I ever met some of these drivers on the racetrack was when they were lapping me in a car with a significant performance advantage. Now we will all have the same equipment and it is a chance for me to prove that I am on the same level as these guys.

"I'd look like an idiot if I went and raced in something like GP2 and even though I do the odd race now I have not really got much to gain. I recently won a Mini Challenge race at the Spa but if I'd lost, it would have been me being beaten by 'no names'. With Grand Prix Masters I am racing against the best again."

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