Despite the team’s failure to conjure a single point out of its top-of-the-line BMW turbo engines in 1983, driver Winkelhock’s good offices saw the deal continue into 1984 and there were rumours that the team would return to a two-car entry, with Jonathan Palmer and Johnny Cecotto among those named. However, team owner Günter Schmid eventually opted to remain with a single car at least at the outset for Manfred Winkelhock, with Gustav Brunner drawing a new D7 chassis for him. The team switched from Goodyear to Pirelli tyres – not, on the face of it, a good swap given the Italian rubber’s problems in 1983.
Winkelhock’s muscular driving style drew some criticisms during 1983, but also garnered him compliments, and it was clear that he was a much better driver than the ATS was allowing him to show. He usually qualified well, but the car was simply not reliable – he only finished two races all season, and only one with no technical problems. When the car was on the road, Winkelhock was usually found running among or just behind the top teams, which made it all the frustrating for Winkelhock and his engineers when he was inevitably seen pulling off with something broken a few laps later.