What a colorful career! He has seen it all: For almost 20 years a successful racing driver and these days a popular TV commentator - Christian Danner knows what he is talking about. He took the time to talk to me in the Hockenheim paddock. TSS: Christian, we are here at the Hockenheimring and the prospects for another GP here are not very good. Talking about financial difficulties to promote and run races in Germany: what is your opinion on the fact that the Nürburgring was sold to Russian investors a few years ago, when nobody in Germany stood up and invested money to keep it in german hands? CD: To be honest, in my opinion this is a national disaster to the biggest possible extent. Other countries maintain and nurse their sites of historic interest and have them declared as a UNESCO cultural heritage. In the car nation Germany of all places, the Nürburgring - and also here the old track here in Hockenheim - should have had the right and status to be protected and preserved as a historical heritage. For me personally it is an incredible catastrophe that the Nürburgring was sold as if it was a piece of junk and thereby such an important piece of german history was given away. TSS: Talking about racing at the Nürburgring:  A few weeks ago, Porsche and T. Bernhard set a very impressive new record on the Nordschleife with an evolution of the 919 Le Mans car. But you also have a record on the Nordschleife which goes back to your days in F2, right? CD: Yes! In 1983 I did a 6:26.19 min. during  a Formula Two race with a March F2 car with a 2 Liter 4 cyl. BMW engine and about 320 BHP, which is an average speed of 197 km/h. It is still the fastest time ever by a formula car! TSS: Let`stalk about about your career in F1. You were on your way to become the first European champion in F3000 when the possibility arose to drive F1! CD: Yes, that was at the end of the season 1985 when J. Palmer had an accident in a Porsche 956 sports car and was not able to compete for Zakspeed in Spa and Brands Hatch. For me, it was clear that the next step after F3000 could only be F1 and I happily took the chance. For 1986 there was no seat available at Zakspeed but I wanted to stay in F1 so I signed with Osella. In mid-season, M. Surer  had a crash in a rally car and I could switch to Arrows, which was a better car with a better engine, the BMW turbo. For 1987 I was able to return to Zakspeed. TSS: Was Zakspeed as a team too small for F1 or why did they never really have the results? CD: The team was not too small and the people there were very capable. The problem was reliability of the car. With a little more effort and investment, it would have been possible to make the car more reliable. Each Grand Prix I finished, I finished in the top ten, which was fantastic. But we had too many DNF`s because of failures of the engine and its components. Reliability was generally an issue back then, not only at Zakspeed but with all the other teams as well. TSS: You have not been in F1 in 1988, why? CD: I signed a contract with Ligier for 1988, but when we did the seat fitting for the new car, we realized that I was too tall and the roll bar could not be modified in a way to make it conform with the regulations! That was the strange car with the fuel-tank between engine and gearbox. So Stefan Johansson got the drive instead of me. I had a wonderful relation with Guy Ligier, but it was not supposed to be - in hindsight it was ok for me, because the car was crap and they didn`t score a single point with it. As I kept in touch with Zakspeed, I was able to do all the tests for Zakspeed during the season, so I was not really out of F1. TSS: You came back to racing in F1 in 1989 with Rial. CD: Yes, the team had a successful year in 88 with de Cesaris and it was a promising option. The year went reasonably well until the Canadian Grand Prix, where it was raining for the first time that season. The problem was the carbonfibre monocoque, which was made by a german company. It got soaked with water and the lamination became soft. Teamboss G. Schmid refused to have a new monocoque built and the situation with the car got worse and worse. It was impossible to have that car qualified for a Grand Prix and I quit the team after the Portugal GP. TSS: Has there been a Grand prix where you were standing at the start, thinking: “this will be my day!”  CD: Yes, absolutely – that was at each Grand Prix! Each and every single GP I was sure to be able to achieve a good result. Without this optimism, it would not make sense to be a racing driver. TSS: How did your career progress after F1?  CD: I did 43 testing days for Bridgestone in Japan to develop their F1 tires in 1990 with a Reynard chassis and a Mugen-Honda engine. Then I did DTM for a private team but I wanted to do single seaters again. A mechanic whom I knew from Zakspeed was working in Indy Cars, and he asked me if I would be interested in trying IndyCars. It was a great time in the US. I was treated very well from the team and the fans and we had good results although we were only a small team with not much money. TSS: You are working now as an expert for German TV. But you are not only sitting in the commentator booth, you also are out on the circuit doing live coverage directly from the circuit! CD: Yes, I put a lot of effort into this job and that was my idea - it was only possible because of my initiative! To go out to the circuit with a camera has not been allowed when Bernie was still the boss in F1. But I went to Liberty and explained them what I want to do and they were very supportive – I am proud of what I achieved! Here in Hockenheim for example, I will go to the Sachskurve with my cameraman in free practice and explain the different racing lines which are possible there. TSS: Coming back to the race here in Hockenheim. Who will win on Sunday? CD: Ferrari is looking very strong here, so I think Sebastian will be able to win his home Grand Prix! TSS: Thank you for your time and enjoy the race!
I still hold the record for Formula Cars on the Nordschleife!
What happened at the Nürburgring is a national disaster! All Speed and cars Danner Open Words,Christian DAnner All-round Talent
All Speed and cars
What a colorful career! He has seen it all: For almost 20 years a successful racing driver and these days a popular TV commentator - Christian Danner knows what he is talking about. He took the time to talk to me in the Hockenheim paddock. TSS: Christian, we are here at the Hockenheimring and the prospects for another GP here are not very good. Talking about financial difficulties to promote and run races in Germany: what is your opinion on the fact that the Nürburgring was sold to Russian investors a few years ago, when nobody in Germany stood up and invested money to keep it in german hands? CD: To be honest, in my opinion this is a national disaster to the biggest possible extent. Other countries maintain and nurse their sites of historic interest and have them declared as a UNESCO cultural heritage. In the car nation Germany of all places, the Nürburgring - and also here the old track here in Hockenheim - should have had the right and status to be protected and preserved as a historical heritage. For me personally it is an incredible catastrophe that the Nürburgring was sold as if it was a piece of junk and thereby such an important piece of german history was given away. TSS: Talking about racing at the Nürburgring:  A few weeks ago, Porsche and T. Bernhard set a very impressive new record on the Nordschleife with an evolution of the 919 Le Mans car. But you also have a record on the Nordschleife which goes back to your days in F2, right? CD: Yes! In 1983 I did a 6:26.19 min. during  a Formula Two race with a March F2 car with a 2 Liter 4 cyl. BMW engine and about 320 BHP, which is an average speed of 197 km/h. It is still the fastest time ever by a formula car! TSS: Let`stalk about about your career in F1. You were on your way to become the first European champion in F3000 when the possibility arose to drive F1! CD: Yes, that was at the end of the season 1985 when J. Palmer had an accident in a Porsche 956 sports car and was not able to compete for Zakspeed in Spa and Brands Hatch. For me, it was clear that the next step after F3000 could only be F1 and I happily took the chance. For 1986 there was no seat available at Zakspeed but I wanted to stay in F1 so I signed with Osella. In mid-season, M. Surer  had a crash in a rally car and I could switch to Arrows, which was a better car with a better engine, the BMW turbo. For 1987 I was able to return to Zakspeed. TSS: Was Zakspeed as a team too small for F1 or why did they never really have the results? CD: The team was not too small and the people there were very capable. The problem was reliability of the car. With a little more effort and investment, it would have been possible to make the car more reliable. Each Grand Prix I finished, I finished in the top ten, which was fantastic. But we had too many DNF`s because of failures of the engine and its components. Reliability was generally an issue back then, not only at Zakspeed but with all the other teams as well. TSS: You have not been in F1 in 1988, why? CD: I signed a contract with Ligier for 1988, but when we did the seat fitting for the new car, we realized that I was too tall and the roll bar could not be modified in a way to make it conform with the regulations! That was the strange car with the fuel-tank between engine and gearbox. So Stefan Johansson got the drive instead of me. I had a wonderful relation with Guy Ligier, but it was not supposed to be - in hindsight it was ok for me, because the car was crap and they didn`t score a single point with it. As I kept in touch with Zakspeed, I was able to do all the tests for Zakspeed during the season, so I was not really out of F1. TSS: You came back to racing in F1 in 1989 with Rial. CD: Yes, the team had a successful year in 88 with de Cesaris and it was a promising option. The year went reasonably well until the Canadian Grand Prix, where it was raining for the first time that season. The problem was the carbonfibre monocoque, which was made by a german company. It got soaked with water and the lamination became soft. Teamboss G. Schmid refused to have a new monocoque built and the situation with the car got worse and worse. It was impossible to have that car qualified for a Grand Prix and I quit the team after the Portugal GP. TSS: Has there been a Grand prix where you were standing at the start, thinking: “this will be my day!”  CD: Yes, absolutely – that was at each Grand Prix! Each and every single GP I was sure to be able to achieve a good result. Without this optimism, it would not make sense to be a racing driver. TSS: How did your career progress after F1?  CD: I did 43 testing days for Bridgestone in Japan to develop their F1 tires in 1990 with a Reynard chassis and a Mugen-Honda engine. Then I did DTM for a private team but I wanted to do single seaters again. A mechanic whom I knew from Zakspeed was working in Indy Cars, and he asked me if I would be interested in trying IndyCars. It was a great time in the US. I was treated very well from the team and the fans and we had good results although we were only a small team with not much money. TSS: You are working now as an expert for German TV. But you are not only sitting in the commentator booth, you also are out on the circuit doing live coverage directly from the circuit! CD: Yes, I put a lot of effort into this job and that was my idea - it was only possible because of my initiative! To go out to the circuit with a camera has not been allowed when Bernie was still the boss in F1. But I went to Liberty and explained them what I want to do and they were very supportive – I am proud of what I achieved! Here in Hockenheim for example, I will go to the Sachskurve with my cameraman in free practice and explain the different racing lines which are possible there. TSS: Coming back to the race here in Hockenheim. Who will win on Sunday? CD: Ferrari is looking very strong here, so I think Sebastian will be able to win his home Grand Prix! TSS: Thank you for your time and enjoy the race!
Danner Open Words,Christian DAnner All-round Talent What happened at the Nürburgring is a national disaster! I still hold the record for Formula Cars on the Nordschleife!