11 January 2014
Gerhard Berger critical of 'underpowered' modern F1
Former Ferrari driver Gerhard Berger has criticised the sport for being too safe and sterile, and says that watching modern Grand Prix races puts him to sleep.
Former F1 star Gerhard Berger has attacked the current state of the sport, saying that watching today's races on television puts him to sleep.
"I didn't turn the television off, but sometimes I fell asleep in front of it," Berger told German specialist motorsports publication Auto Motor und Sport this week.
And Berger went on to explain that in his view, the problem was that the sport has become too safe and sterile in recent years. "Safety comes first, and rightly so, but the cars and the tracks are now incredibly safe," he said.
A big part of the problem in Berger's eyes is the reduction in engine power over recent years: "My gut tells me that 650 or 750 horse power for an F1 car is not enough," he explained. "I think we could have engines with 1000 horse power again.
"Together with perfect aerodynamics, huge run-off areas and the electronic aids, the good drivers are not different enough from the less good," he added. "In my time, when you did a perfect qualifying lap you were a second faster than your teammate, because you were riding a cannon ball.
"In the morning you trained with 850 horse power. In the afternoon, they have given you over the boost pressure 1200 to 1300 horse power. Another gear ratio. Another wing setting. And qualifying tyres, which made for very different braking points. You went without preparation in this round.
"You had to use all your driving skills in one lap," he added. "Therefore Senna was always on pole position even though Lotus did not have the best car. [Then] in the race, everything was different.
"The fans should watch and say 'I couldn't do that' - like they do with MotoGP," he insisted. "Overtaking must not come into existence by DRS, but because of one driver being better than another through a corner. Then there is sport."
Going further down that road, even less to his liking is the FIA's new Formula E championship for electric single-seater cars which launches in September, the 54-year-old Austrian revealing that he'd turned down the chance to become involved in the series.
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