This year, the internationally filled field of the FIA Masters Formula One Championship includes the participation of a German many fans still remember well: Harald Becker was a firmly established driver in the DTM from the late 80s onwards and contested nearly 100 races in BMW and Mercedes-Benz models. After his touring car days he switched to endurance racing, was on the grid of the European and World Sportscar Championships before ultimately retiring from his active career in the V8 Star. Before hanging up his racing helmet seven years ago he had “pretty much driven anything that can be driven – except a Formula One car,” the native of Freiburg recalls. Like many racers, he never really let go of motorsport and for him that meant making a long-held dream come true one day: driving Formula One once. “Now this dream has come true – and not just once but several times,” he says happily.
Ex-DTM driver in Patrese’s Arrows
Becker got to drive the Arrows through the good offices of the Mec team that also prepares the single-seater. “I told the team principal at some point in time that this was my dream – preferably in the historic Formula One race in Monaco,” he relates. The team subsequently found the car in the United States from where the 1981 Arrows A3 was imported to Germany. When the ex-DTM driver climbs into his single-seater he won’t be able to complain about a lack of attention because many fans remember the gold-coloured racing car very well: Jochen Mass drove an A3 sporting this livery in the 1980 season. A year later, Becker’s Warsteiner Arrows was driven by his equally well-known teammate Ricardo Patrese.
Premiere at the AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix
Becker had already entered the Arrows for the Formula One race at the Nürburgring last year but encountered gearbox problems in qualifying that ultimately prevented him from running in the race. “Consequently, this race here is a real premiere for me,” he says. “I’m very happy. In the setup sessions on Thursday the Arrows was running perfectly and in qualifying on Friday I drove a Formula One car in rain for the first time. I immediately managed it well but also noticed that you have to use the throttle with great sensitivity.” The Arrows, by the way, is not the only Formula One car in Becker’s collection. He also