In the eighth episode of Formula 1’s ‘Beyond The Grid’ podcast, former grand prix winner Gerhard Berger opens up on his racing career, relationship with Ayrton Senna, racing for teams like McLaren & Ferrari, Red Bull’s journey and more.
The 58-year-old starts the podcast talking about his journey into racing which only started at the age of 21-years without any karting experience when the people in his hometown called him an ‘idiot’ to think of becoming a F1 racer.
The Austrian was a truck mechanic before making into F1 and now is celebrated a sound racer. Berger calls himself as a similar driver to Lewis Hamilton who tries to do everything in terms of racing, partying and holidaying as well.
Moving on to his rival and teammate Senna from the McLaren days, the Austrian says that the two shared a good rivalry despite him managing to beat Senna on few occasions. He reckons the Brazilian’s concentrating power was his biggest tool for him to succeed so well.
Berger says he didn’t have problems with the clever games played by Senna when they raced together in McLaren. Talking about his death during the Imola race in 1994, Berger recalls that they had talked about improving the safety the day of the incident.
In fact, the corner where Senna crashed, the two had surveyed the same corner during a test where they felt they had to move the wall but never through about adding a chicane or so to slow down the car in the corner.
He feels it was in their hands to get the corner changed but they shrugged it off at that time. Meanwhile, he also elaborated on his road car crash in 1984 where he almost died with multiple injuries.
That was the year he made his debut and was negotiating to drive for Arrows in 1985. He did manage to recover and race for the team. Talking about his teams, he discusses the time spent in McLaren and Ferrari.
Over the years he has said about Ferrari at a larger extent but he feels McLaren is family too and that Ron Dennis never implied or favoured drivers back in those days. He then reveals how the deal with Enzo Ferrari came up.
He also recalls the famous win at Monza after the death of Enzo. While he had good relation with McLaren and Ferrari, he reveals his time at Benetton wasn’t great especially how Flavio Briatore handled him and Jean Alesi.
He then talks how Red Bull came into F1 when Dietrich Mateschitz approached him to sponsor Berger when he was racing for Arrows. Mateschitz was only starting the company which has now become a global name.
He ends the podcast talking about Sebastian Vettel and how he impressed everyone with his maturity when. Among the current drivers, he hails Daniel Ricciardo’s talent, but when it came to picking drivers for his team, he opted for Hamilton and Max Verstappen.
[Hear: Jacques Villeneuve]