Too many junior series, says Berger
14 August 2012 – Motorsport currently has too many junior formulae which are masking the abilities of the best drivers. That is the opinion of former F1 driver Gerhard Berger, now President of the FIA Single Seater Commission. In the view of the Austrian, the system should be updated in order to ensure that the best competitors can truly showcase their talents.
Although money has always been an object in the sport, drivers’ careers can now be jeopardised by a lack of room in certain series. Having to move elsewhere, their abilites can be overlooked as some are not always able to compete with other big upcoming names.
“People are complaining that the best drivers are now all spread out,” Berger says in the latest edition of the FIA’s InMotion magazine. “You can’t look at the British Formula 3 Championship, for example, and say, ‘He is certain to get to Formula 1.’
“These days the best drivers are all over the place: one in Formula 3, one in GP3, one in Formula Renault and one in Formula Abarth. The system no longer does what it is supposed to do, which is to give a highly talented driver a CV he can use to progress to Formula 1. I went through the system myself and I have seen it for 30 years now. I am sure that I can bring something to the sport, because of the contacts I have made during my career, and maybe having the right strengths to help sort out what is required.”
Although he has a number of ideas, Berger is putting his priorities straight.
“The most urgent thing is to sort out Formula 3,” he stresses. “For me this has always been the most important class for young drivers. That is where you can really see, for the first time, how much talent someone has. Nowadays there are so many championships, even inside Formula 3 itself. There are national championships holding races outside their own countries and each series has different regulations. Some countries have championships that are not very strong, with only eight or ten cars, and others have A, B and C classes and so on. You have different engine rules as well. It’s not Formula 3 as we knew it.”
Before making his own F1 debut, Berger finished third overall in both the German and European Formula 3 Championships. On top of this, he achieved podium finishes at the prestigious Macau and Monaco F3 events. He went on to win ten F1 Grands Prix, pick up 12 pole positions and finish on the rostrum 48 times between 1986 and 1997.