(GMM) F1 legend Gerhard Berger, who was intimately involved in Formula 1 for decades, says he is “becoming a fan” once again.
“This is 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 series DTM, but he is also keeping an eye on his F1 allies at Red Bull – led in 2021 by championship leader Max Verstappen.
“He is ready for his first title,” Berger, 61, said.
“We finally have a real duel again between a young driver like Max and an experienced guy like Lewis Hamilton. Of course, this used to be completely normal.
“Today, it’s Red Bull against Mercedes, but it used to be Williams against Ferrari or McLaren against Williams.”
Of course, many people remain critical of F1, including the regulatory framework which is overseen at grands prix by F1 race director Michael Masi.
“He took over from Charlie Whiting but I like his (Masi’s) level headed approach which is ideal for that job,” said Berger.
“Most of the penalties have been understandable to me. Basically a good balance is being maintained.”
Berger was slightly critical of the penalty given to Yuki Tsunoda last weekend, but he is less worried about the Japanese rookie’s radio outbursts.
“As long as Dr Marko sees that a young driver is pushing so hard, he turns a blind eye even if there is something said on the radio,” he said.
“That wasn’t an issue in my time because they could barely hear us anyway,” Berger laughed.
“The best thing about this sport are the emotions,” he insists.
“The audience should feel that there are people at the steering wheel who sometimes freak out, so I’m glad that we now have the chance to hear that.”
As for the thorny issue of ‘track limits’, Berger also said the issue wasn’t controversial in the past because driving off the circuit left a driver in the wall or gravel.
“The drivers should just stay on the actual track and everything will be fine,” said the Austrian.