Ex-Ferrari ace calls for F1 to be simpler

Ex-Ferrari ace calls for F1 to be simpler

Gerhard Berger says F1 has become too predictable.

Former McLaren and Ferrari driver Gerhard Berger has called for greater emphasis on the driver in an effort to reinvigorate Formula One.

The Austrian veteran, who raced alongside Ayrton Senna at the peak of his powers, started more than 200 grands prix, winning 10 of them.

Since retiring at the end of the 1997 season he’s held positions at Toro Rosso, advisory roles with Red Bull and was instrumental in the creation of the FIA’s entry level open wheel series, Formula 4.

According to Berger, the sport has become too predictable and lacks the sort of diversity it enjoyed during his time at the wheel.

“The sport is now so perfect that a dominance of a car affect the entertainment value more,” Berger told Auto Motor und Sport.

“Errors were not forgiven,” he explained of his time in the sport. “Whoever went too fast stuck it in the guardrail.

“Today a spin is no longer punished. Whoever spins, is captured by huge run-off areas. The driver comes back to the track and usually doesn’t even lose a place.”

Berger also believes increases competition for television audiences has made it ever more difficult for the sport to grow and maintain and audience, leaving it with a tougher task simply to maintain its current fan base.

There is no simple solution, he warned, suggesting what the sport needs is strong leadership that is willing to make brave and potentially unpopular decisions.

“The solution can only come from the top command,” Berger reasoned. “Currently we have a debating club, and the saying goes too many cooks spoil the broth.”

Berger’s solution would be to simplify the sport.

“Every Sunday we have a new term. We have DRS, KERS, token, the Ultra soft tyres, and so on.  People have to work all week. They want to be entertained for the two hours it takes to run a grand prix.

“If Bernie [Ecclestone] and Jean [Todt] are not able to keep this nonsense from the spectators, they must not be surprised that no one is more interested in it.”

Formula 1 and V8 Supercars content courtesy of Velocity Magazine, Australia’s leading motorsport monthly – vmag.com.au

About the author

Mat Coch

Mat is a contributor and looks after the motorsport content for the website. Based in Sydney but widely travelled, Mat Coch began reporting on Formula One in the mid-2000s. In the last decade he has contributed to websites and magazines globally and in 2014 he founded Velocity, Australia’s only monthly motorsport magazine. Passionate about motorsport, Mat is an expert on Formula One.