S4312 Rial ARC02 US GP 1989, Christian Danner
The team Rial were to start in 1988 and 1989. It was the second attempt of Günther Schmid to enter the Formula 1 after the first approach with ATS, also a rim manufacturer like Rial, failed. The eccentric Schmid counted on Gustav Brunner and his engineer skills. He was coming from Ferrari and due to a good memory a lot of material to bring. So it was no surprise that the Rial of 1988 was named “blue Ferrari” among certain experts in the Formula 1. The performance of the one car team was not outstanding, but for the resources they had it was respectable. As solid that the German Christian Danner couldn’t resist the temptation and joined the team of Schmid in 1989. Together with Volker Weidler Rial counted on a complete German casting. Brunner had already left the team and was followed by Stefan Fober and Bob Bell. As base for the ARC02 it was used the previous model. Because of a 9th place in the 1988 championship due to a 4th position of De Cesaris the German team only had to pre-qualify with one car. For Danner’s team mate Volker Weidler it had the effect to call it a day already on Friday morning. Whereas Danner managed to qualify for four GP. The highlight was the US GP. Danner could achieve a 4th place and gained three championship points. Still today he is annoyed: “I could have become third. But Eddie Cheever’s car made it. It was just retiring after the finish line. That’s why he was third and not me.” Also at the Canadian GP Danner was passing the finish line as eighth of the grid. Today he would get some points, but at that time only the first six cars were receiving points. Positon 8 in Montreal was at the same time the last arrival at the finish for a Rial in the Formula 1. After Canada there were only non-qualifications and driver changes. Danner was giving a reason for: “In Montreal it was raining very heavily and the chassis soaked up a lot of water. With each race the chassis got softer and softer. I couldn’t qualify anymore.” After the Portuguese GP Danner’s adventure in Schmid’s team was terminated. The Swiss Gregor Foitek was trying instead of him and had an accident in Jerez (Spanish GP). “It was the inglorious end of a no longer intact chassis”, recalls Danner.