Gerhard Berger, Sebastian Vettel, 2008 Italian GP

© The Cahier Archives

F1 legend Gerhard Berger, who has been intimately involved in Formula 1 for decades, said he was “becoming a fan again”.

“It’s the best Formula 1 we’ve seen in a long time. I’m slowly becoming a fan again,” he told Servus TV.

Berger is currently in charge of the German DTM series, but he also keeps an eye on his F1 allies at Red Bull – led in 2021 by championship leader Max Verstappen.

“He’s ready for his first title,” said Berger, 61.

“We finally have a real duel again between a young driver like Max and an experienced guy like Lewis Hamilton. Of course, that was quite normal before.

“Today it’s Red Bull v Mercedes, but that was before Williams v Ferrari or McLaren v Williams.”

Of course, many people remain critical of F1, including the regulatory framework which is overseen at Grand Prix by F1 race director Michael Masi.

“He took over from Charlie Whiting but I like his balanced approach (from Masi) which is ideal for this job,” said Berger.

“Most of the penalties were understandable to me. Basically, a good balance is maintained.”

Berger was mildly critical of the penalty inflicted on Yuki Tsunoda last weekend, but he’s less worried about the Japanese rookie’s radio overflows.

“As long as Dr Marko sees a young driver pushing so hard, he closes his eyes even though there is something to say on the radio,” he said.

“It wasn’t a problem in my day because they could barely hear us anyway,” Berger laughed.

“The best thing in this sport is the emotions,” he insists.

“The public must sense that there are people behind the wheel who panic sometimes, so I’m glad we now have the chance to hear that.”

As for the thorny issue of ‘track limits’, Berger also said the issue had not been controversial in the past as exiting the circuit left a rider in the wall or gravel.

“The drivers should just stay on the track and everything will be fine,” said the Austrian.


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