Mansell Tips Prost for Title

Nigel Mansell has tipped former arch-rival Alain Prost to win the maiden GP Masters race in South Africa next month

Mansell and Prost join a host of former Formula One stars in the series' inaugural race at Kyalami, including Emerson Fittipaldi, Alan Jones, Rene Arnoux and Andrea de Cesaris.

The 1992 World Champion believes that those who have kept racing since leaving Formula One will have the edge, including former title-rival Prost, who has been racing in the French GT championship.

"Prost will start as the hot favourite, I have no doubt," Mansell said. "He has been racing a lot recently and I haven't been in a car for a long time. I don't think it would be wrong to say I am not one of the favourites to start with. But I like being the underdog. I always was in my Formula One career and I will be again at the start of the Grand Prix Masters.

"The first race is really just something that we will all need to get through. Until people see the cars in action I don't think they will understand how quick they will be, which means they are going to be tiring to drive. So fitness will be a major factor in the first race and I think that will play into the hands of drivers who have been racing recently, rather than people like me who haven't raced properly for a decade."

Mansell has visited the Delta Motorsport factory for a seat fitting for the cars, based on the 1999 Reynard Champ Car and powered by a 600bhp, 3.3-litre Nicholson-McLaren V8 engine.

"The chassis and engine are really going to shock people when they see and hear them for the first time," he said. "It's far better than any Formula One car from the 1980s, for sure, and is exactly the sort of car we drivers dream of.

"It puts the skill factor back into the hands of the driver, not just the car designers and engineers. Just looking at them you can see they have been professionally designed and built and will provide every driver with a level playing field ­ something that will be a breath of fresh air for motor racing fans the world over.

"The cars are not overly complicated. They have no traction control which means you can spin if you try too hard and damage your tyres if you are not careful with your driving style."

Mansell also praised the proposed GP Masters qualifying system, which will not limit the laps completed during the session.

"It won't be like the current Formula One one-lap qualifying format, which is rubbish if you ask me," added the Briton. "The format of the race weekend is well thought out. We have enough practise time to get the cars well set-up and have a proper qualifying session where we can do as many laps as we like, which is great for the drivers and spectators."

"Compared to modern Formula One it will be so different. Everything has been sterilised in Formula One now, the whole thing is controlled too much. Grand Prix Masters drivers have reached the top of the ladder and have nothing left to prove. We can compete without fear of offending anyone."

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