The ‘brutal’ racing series with ‘superstar’ characters…and it’s not F1

Michelle Foster
Sergio Perez collides with Charles Leclerc at the Mexican GP start.

Sergio Perez in the air after a crash in Mexico.

A veteran of 210 F1 Grands Prix, Gerhard Berger believes between Formula 1 and MotoGP it is the latter that’s the “golden” product with its “superstar” characters.

Last season the former Ferrari legend joined a list of former drivers criticising the current crop after their Qatar Grand Prix complaints.

Racing in temperatures that exceeded 50°C in the car, Lance Stroll revealed he was “passing out” in the car while Esteban Ocon says he threw up in his helmet.

MotoGP superstars ‘grit their teeth when it hurts’

And they weren’t the only drivers to suffer with Logan Sargeant retiring with heat exhaustion while his Williams team-mate Alex Albon sought medical treatment after the race.

At the time, and despite the FIA announcing they’d be taking new measures to avoid a repeat situation, Berger took aim at the drivers complaining, telling Servus TV: “It was the same for us. This time, the boys seem to have pushed themselves to the limit, but it’s simply a question of fitness.

“If you’re in great shape, you won’t get sick. It’s a fitness problem and a circulatory issue.

“If you ask a Verstappen or a Hamilton, they don’t get sick even in those temperatures, because it’s a factor that you must have on the radar if you want to win.”

It’s a stance the Austrian still holds as he criticised the F1 product, both the drivers for their complaints and the sport’s bosses for their “calculated” attitude when compared to MotoGP.

“Motorcycle racing is more brutal and down-to-earth,” he told Auto Motor und Sport. “By that I don’t mean the technology.

“The whole environment is more relaxed and closer to the fans. Formula 1 is more detached in its entire attitude. Everything is subordinated to perfection, everything is calculated.

“If a driver sprains his finger, doctors and physios are there straight away, and the whole thing is a huge story.

“In MotoGP, a rider breaks his shoulder in the morning and, to put it bluntly, is back on his bike in the afternoon.

“This is how you imagine superstars who, on the one hand, control an infernal machine, but then also grit their teeth when it hurts. In Formula 1, the drivers complain when it’s too hot like in Qatar.

“During my time we drove in Rio in 40 degrees and high humidity. And we also had to switch gears by hand. I don’t want to say it was harder back then, but it wasn’t easier either.” recommends

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But while Berger isn’t all that happy with F1’s complaints, the former driver also doesn’t want to see the sport go down the same path as events such as the Isle of Man TT, which year on year sees competitors or spectators killed during the annual event.

“Of course, there are limits to your willingness to take risks,” he added.

“I was on the Isle of Man last year. I left after a day. That’s just too much risk, too much danger.

“On the other hand, Formula 1 is too far behind in this regard. MotoGP is the golden mean.”

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