Former World Champion Nigel Mansell believes his long-time rival Alain Prost has made a mistake in deciding not to take part in the inaugural Grand Prix Masters race at Kyalami next month.
Prost had looked certain to compete in the South Africa event but this week decided against doing so because of what he claimed there were 'pressing commitments and preparation for his annual participation in the Andros Trophy'.
But Mansell believes that Prost is merely making excuses by opting out of GP Masters - and claims he has only done so because he fears other drivers will have an advantage after testing the cars at Silverstone this week.
When asked by autosport.com about whether he was disappointed Prost would not be taking part in the Kyalami race, Mansell said: "I am very surprised. But I have told some people, and I don't mind saying it again, I think it's a mistake he's not doing it."
Mansell disappointment at Prost's absence has been fuelled by the fact that the Frenchman managed to get extensive testing in a DTM car earlier this year prior to a Masters' touring car event at the Norisring.
"It is Alain's own fault that he says he feels he is starting a day or so later than some of us," added Mansell. "And if a day makes that big a deal to him then I am very surprised, because I was three weeks late for him at the Norisring without any private testing whatsoever.
"I think he will have to gravitate to the series next year, I think pressure will bring to bear from the public and various other places about why he isn't doing it. But whether he does it or not is immaterial to the series. I think the series will be bigger than any individual."
The first Grand Prix Masters race takes place at Kyalami on November 13.