Berger wants a simpler path for drivers to reach F1

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I’m not seeing this getting picked up anywhere, and that seems a major shame.

Gerhard Berger — who now is the FIA’s Single Seat Commission President (I was certain Andy had that job) — is calling for a simpler path for drivers to make it to Formula 1.

His comments are buried, somewhat, at the FIA’s site, which may explain its lack of disbursement. They come in the FIA’s InMotion magazine.

“The Commission looks at everything between karting and Formula One and I find that the pyramid at the moment is very loose: there are too many championships out there and attention between them is split too much.

“People are complaining that the best drivers are now all spread out and so you cannot look at the British Formula 3 Championship, for example, and say that he is certain to get to Formula One. These days the best drivers are all over the place: one in Formula 3, one in GP3, one in Formula Renault and one in Formula Abarth. The system no longer does what it is supposed to do, which is to give a highly talented driver a CV he can use to progress to Formula One.”

No arguments there. Perhaps the one issue is the fan experience — is it in anyway good for fans that a great driver might be in Formula 1, another in Formula Renault, another having a Friday beer in Sonoma, CA?

Of course, you have to balance that fan experience with the greater stage: F1. Just check recent posts here to see that there’s a renewed bit of hand-wringing about the state of F1 drivers.

According to the FIA link, here is Berger’s solution:

Berger says his plan for the future of junior series is to define regulations for a simple sequence of steps from karting to Formula One and let each nation, region or promoter establish a series utilising those rules in their own territory.

His first step was to institute the FIA European F3 Championship, which last year replaced the FIA Formula 3 Trophy and will start again next month. Run to the former F3 Trophy regulations, and contested over 10 rounds, it features three prizes offering winners test drives in machines including a Ferrari Formula One car. Having tackled F3, Berger’s next target is helping young drivers move from karting to slicks and wings racing.

He might want to think about getting a few banks involved, too, if you know what I’m saying.

Thoughts? Is this an issue that needs serious addressing or do you think the cream still rises to the top? What about simple market dynamics? If there is an audience for a Formula F1B, why not start it? Does everything have to point directly to F1?

Perhaps that’s an issue, actually: the presumption that F1 is the top of the top. (We all assume and believe that, right?) But does that need to be institutionalized this way? What if a young driver suddenly gets a taste of rallying or just really enjoys endurance racing? Is it just “too bad” because the biggest stage and biggest money is with F1 and always will be?

And is that enough questions?

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