Gerhard Berger ( born August 27, 1959 in Wörgl ) is an Austrian entrepreneur and former racing driver. From 1984 to 1997 he drove in Formula 1 for teams like Ferrari, McLaren and Benetton. After his driving career Berger served from 1998 to 2003 as BMW Motorsport Director and from 2006 to 2008 as co-owner of the Formula 1 team Toro Rosso. In addition, he is the majority owner of a logistics company.
- 4.1 Career stations
- 4.2 Statistics in Formula 1 4.2.1 Grand Prix wins
- 4.2.2 Individual Results
Beginnings in motorsport
Gerhard Berger is the son of the freight forwarding business operator Johann Berger. His father's industry put in childhood laid the foundation for his interest in engines and cars. After his compulsory school-leaving Berger started the business school. He broke this but early on and began an apprenticeship as a motor mechanic in the family business. Berger had the desire to be a professional racing driver already at that time. The training was nevertheless completed first.
In 1978, Berger was driving his first car race at the Austria ring with a Ford Escort Group 5 and won in its class. This was followed by participation in the International Alfasud Cup. About Karl Wendlinger sen., Who was then also drove in this racing class, he made contact with the German team owner Josef Kaufmann, who enabled him to start in the German Formula 3 Championship.
A year later, Berger grew with the help of Helmut Marko in the European Formula 3 Championship. He drove for several teams until 1984. The former BMW Motorsport boss Dieter Stappert enabled Berger way to get started in the European touring car racing. There he went to 1986 for the Team Schnitzer BMW 635 CSi with and won the 24 -hour race in Spa- Francorchamps with Roberto Ravaglia and Marc Surer as a co- pilot.
ATS, Arrows, Benetton I (1984-1986)
On August 19, 1984 Gerhard Berger drove in his first race in the ATS Formula 1 in Austria. Three laps to go he fell out due to gearbox damage. Due to the distance traveled, he came in twelfth and last in the standings. On his second Grand Prix in Italy Berger reached sixth place points standings, but was not in the score because his car was not registered at the beginning of the season in the message list. In the two remaining World Cup races Berger drove the ATS team out any points.
Immediately after the end of the season Berger had a car accident in which he broke a neck vertebra in Tyrol. The operation was a success and Berger recovered in time for the new season. For 1985, he received a contract with Arrows, not least due to the influence of engine supplier BMW. In 16 starts Berger drove out three points.
In 1986 he went to the newly founded Benetton team. Again, BMW played a role in the signing of the contract as an engine partner. Berger won the Grand Prix of Mexico for the first time in Formula 1 Ferrari Enzo Berger committed for the 1987 season.
Ferrari I (1987-1989)
Berger convinced at Ferrari compared to his teammates. In a less successful 1987 season with two wins followed to the financial statements, but this had no effect on the World Cup. Having won the Grand Prix of Japan Berger ended the hitherto longest winless series of Ferrari 's home race by engine supplier Honda.
1988 Berger was against the superior McLaren - Honda, the 15 out of 16 races decided for themselves a chance. The race in Italy he won a month after Enzo Ferrari's death. Berger benefited from a collision of the erstwhile leader Ayrton Senna with the lapped Jean -Louis Schlesser. Berger was his teammate Michele Alboreto most superior and was at the end of the year with 41 points third in the World Championship.
Also in 1989 did not succeed Ferrari to build a McLaren car equal rank. Berger and Nigel Mansell retired from often because of technical defects. In addition, a serious accident put the Grand Prix of San Marino at Imola, where he ran into the barriers of the Tamburello curve due to a broken front wing with 280 km / h, too. After impact, the Ferrari caught fire. Berger was very lucky and überlebete the accident with burns to the hands. Only towards the end of the season Berger recovered from the accident and won the Grand Prix of Portugal.
Berger decided to go to McLaren for the 1990 season and thus the swap space at Ferrari with Alain Prost. With the change, he was team-mate Ayrton Senna. During the 1990 season showed that he had no chance against the dominant Senna.
At the first race for McLaren in Phoenix at the U.S. Grand Prix Berger drove pole position. However, the race was won by Senna, as well as the World Cup 1990. And also 1991, Berger against Senna won a hard time during this seven races and once again became World Champion, Berger ran only in Japan first over the finish line after him Senna had gone behind.
1992 Berger stepped out of the shadows Senna - at a time when McLaren had lost its supremacy to Williams. He won the race in Canada and Australia and finished the season fifth in the drivers' standings with just one point behind Senna from. Berger decided the financial lucrative opportunity of returning to Ferrari to use, not least because McLaren's engine partner Honda retired the end of 1992 from Formula 1.
Ferrari II (1993-1995)
Ferrari committed Berger for season 1993 especially for the development of the vehicle. Ferrari had 1991 and 1992, partly owing to many failures achieved a single victory. Jean Alesi, who was driving for Ferrari since 1991, although was an extremely talented racers, but the team did not help enough further in the technical development work.
The 1993 season was initially disappointing. In particular, the active suspension prepared Ferrari problems that led to some accidents sometimes. In addition, the Ferrari kept either in terms of durability even in the competitiveness with the leading teams. Berger was only in Hungary as third on the podium. At mid-season of the previously successful in rallying Jean Todt as the new team manager was used to transform the Ferrari team again.
1994 won with Berger for the first time after almost four years of Sieglosigkeit Ferrari Ferrari again a race. In Germany, he sat down opposite Michael Schumacher through with a dominant lights - to-flag victory. In the battle for the World Cup but he did not intervene despite the rising trend.
In 1995, he wanted to continue the upward trend continues with Ferrari, but Ferrari had the Renault - powered Williams and Benetton nothing to oppose. Jean Alesi in Canada celebrated its first victory, which was favored by numerous problems and failures of the favorites. Berger, however, missed the Grand Prix of San Marino in a panoramic position, the chance to win and had to settle at the end of season with six third places. Even during the season, Ferrari had given the commitment of world champion Michael Schumacher announced for 1996 season. Berger left the team at end of season.
Benetton II (1996-1997)
Berger joined the Formula 1 season 1996 along with Alesi world champion team Benetton. When Benetton Berger promised to wind down his career again one last chance to win the world championship title. But already in the first test he got with the tuned car on Schumacher in such difficulties that it seemed to him inexplicable how one could thus win the World Cup. Alesi fared no better - the Frenchman could not cope with the nervous driving behavior of Benetton. Berger described his vehicle in an interview even as " impassable " and later explained his respect for Schumacher's car control. This showed that Berger only found quite late for motor sports and not as Schumacher had already sat as a child in a kart. Thus he came along better with neutral to understeer tuned vehicles while Schumacher preferred a nervous tail with a slight oversteer.
The 1996 season was a big disappointment for Berger and Benetton. After eleven victories in the previous year, the team won a single race. The greatest chance missed Berger when he turned a lap to go in the lead turned out in Germany and Damon Hill gave the victory.
1997 Berger wanted to go with the newly designed according to his needs race car back to the drivers' title. In fact, he started the season well and fought in Brazil for a long time with Jacques Villeneuve to win. Thereafter, the power of Benetton did, however, steadily and Berger was weakened by a painful sinus infection, so he finally had to stop three races. During his absence, Alexander Wurz Benetton tester stood in for him and stand in the UK in third place on the podium. It was then speculated in Formula 1 experts, which Benetton team boss Flavio Briatore would forego a return Bergers to allow the promising Wurz more driving experience. Benetton has denied the rumors, but Berger stood before his return under considerable pressure.
Before the Grand Prix of Germany Berger's father also died in a plane crash. Berger secured the pole position, drove in the race by far the fastest lap and won superior. His victory was greeted on all sides with respect - even Berger thanked the public for their support " from above".
A short time later, he announced his retirement at end of season. Berger finished his racing career in 1997 after the European Grand Prix with a fifth place in the championship.
Gerhard Berger met Ayrton Senna in 1981 for the first time. From the year 1985, the friendship deepened. Berger and Senna met regularly not only on the race weekends, but also on a private basis. Berger was one of the few racing colleagues of Senna with those of the Brazilians shared a genuine friendship. The tragic death of Ayrton Senna during the Grand Prix of San Marino 1994 Berger had to think long about his resignation. Finally, he continued his career as a Formula 1 driver.
Gerhard Berger drove for 14 years in Formula 1 On 26 October 1997, he ended his driver's career on the Spanish course in Jerez de la Frontera. The Austrians started 210 times in F1 and won ten races. In the F1 World Championships of 1988 and 1994 Berger was considered in each case as a third party. Overall, Berger is with 385 championship points, were 48 podiums and 21 fastest laps win together with Stirling Moss, Carlos Reutemann, David Coulthard and Rubens Barrichello the most successful Formula 1 drivers among drivers who do not world title.
After his resignation as a Formula 1 driver in 1997 Berger was hired in 1998 by BMW as motorsport director. Together with engineer Mario Theissen he prepared the return of BMW in Formula 1 as an engine supplier to Williams. Four years after Gerhard Berger got out of the five-year contract with BMW and returned in 2003 Formula 1 back.
In 2006, he took over 50 percent of the Formula 1 team Scuderia Toro Rosso. In return, Dietrich Mateschitz involved (Red Bull GmbH) to 50 percent at Bergers logistics companies Berger Transport GmbH.
In November 2008, Berger gave his participation back on the team Toro Rosso Mateschitz. He saw with the new regulations ( customer cars were no longer admitted to the Formula 1 World Championship) no chance of competitive cars for the upcoming season.
Gerhard Berger is married to the Portuguese Ana since 1995. With her he had two daughters. From his first marriage comes another daughter. He lives with his family in Monte Carlo / Monaco. In September 2012, it was announced that divorced spouses. The divorce process takes place in Monaco.
Statistics in Formula 1
Grand Prix victories
- 2002: Gold Decoration for Services to the Republic of Austria