Gerhard Berger: F1 must change to keep fans interested

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Gerhard Berger has called for Formula 1 to place a greater onus on driver skill in the future, believing that the series has become too predictable and risks losing fans as a result.

Berger enjoyed a 14-year career in F1 that saw him race for Ferrari, Benetton and, most famously, partner Ayrton Senna at McLaren between 1990 and 1992.

The Austrian remains a keen observer of F1, having previously owned a stake in Scuderia Toro Rosso.

In an interview with the Salzburg Nachrichten newspaper in Austria, Berger hit out at the modern-day sport, saying that it was too predictable.

“Fans want to see more fighting on track and more action,” Berger said.

“Back in my time a F1 car was like a loose cannon. We had 1,400 BHP and didn’t have so many driver aids.

“But today it’s clear after the first corner who will win the race.

“You have to go back to a system where the driver is the key to success in F1. There should only be four or five drivers who are able to pull it off.

“You have to make this change in order to keep fans watching the races.”

Berger also feels that drivers are not punished enough for mistakes nowadays and that cars are too reliable, making the result a formality.

“Nowadays every car makes it to the finish line, there are no surprises anymore,” Berger said.

“Back in the days you couldn’t be sure until the end. Even on the last lap of the race you couldn’t be sure. And driver errors were punished severely.

“But today, all suspense is gone right after the start and you have huge asphalt run-off areas, where, with a little bit of luck, you don’t even lose a position when you go off.”