Despite backing from West tobacco, the German team were running on a shoestring for their first full season in 1986 and they had had good input from experienced tester Jonathan Palmer rather than a full-time test driver. With Palmer now on his way to Tyrrell, Zakspeed were able to sign the talented Martin Brundle in his stead and welcomed West German driver Christian Danner back to the team from Arrows. A new chassis, the 871 was being readied but would not be ready for the start of the season so the unsuccessful 861 would be used in Brazil.

Brundle9. Martin Brundle gb

Martin Brundle had shown talent in spades over the previous three years with Tyrrell, only for circumstances to repeatedly conspire to stymie him in his attempts to parlay it into results on the track. On the face of it, a move to Zakspeed didn’t look like it would prove much of an improvement but stranger things had happened.



Danner10. Christian Danner de

The 29-year-old Bavarian returned to the team that had given him his debut towards the end of 1985, after a year which he had begun in the dreadful Osella-Alfa Romeo and ended in the mediocre Arrows-BMW after Marc Surer’s accident. Danner had at least scored a point for Arrows in Austria, and Zakspeed hoped he might repeat the feat for them.


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