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Berger: Too many junior series

Gerhard Berger says the single-seater ladder needs to be reformed to ensure the best drivers are able to shine
Former F1 racer Gerhard Berger insists that something needs to be done to help the cream of young drivers to rise to the top, with the Austrian believing there are currently too many junior formulae for aspiring racers of the future to consider.

Berger, recently appointed as the president of the FIA's Single Seater Commission, was speaking in an interview with the FIA's own InMotion magazine during a discussion about the current state of play in single-seater competition.

As things stand, drivers can try and make it to F1 through a range of different series – such as Formula Renault, Formula 3, Formula Renault 3.5 and GP2 – and Berger said there was too much choice, which was making it difficult to unearth the true talent there is.

“I find that the pyramid at the moment is very loose,” he said. “There are too many championships out there and attention between them is split too much. People are complaining that the best drivers are now all spread out. 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.”

Berger insisted that his priority was to resolve some of the issues that are currently in place with Formula 3, although he conceded that work was needed at all levels.

“The most urgent thing is to sort out Formula 3,” he said. “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.

“It's a similar problem at the next level up, with Formula 2, GP2 and Formula Renault 3.5,” he says. “It is not as bad a problem as with Formula 3, but we need to study what is the best solution there and concentrate things more. You don't want to dictate a new formula, you simply want to create a better formula, so the question is what does that mean?

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August 15, 2012 2:18 AM
Last Edited 457 days ago

Have they ever considered running a second division in F1 (like in football). That way they could get rid of HRT and Marrusia from the Div 1 grid and at the same time provide an exciting Second Division (racing on the same weekends). It would hopefully encourage more lower budget operations into the glamour of F1, and provide an opportunity for younger drivers to get F1 experience earlier.


August 16, 2012 5:42 PM

In all junior(feeder)series drivers are paying for their seats one way or another. The teams in those series are there as businesses to make a profit or they are not there long. If a number of drivers can afford to stay in a feeder series for a number of years what's wrong with that? They help keep a number of teams viable and provide a benchmark for the up-and-comers.

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