Gerhard Berger for FIA president?

Niki Lauda, Gerhard Berger, Bahrain, 2008, 470150

When Gerhard Berger (right, with Niki Lauda) spoke out in defence of embattled FIA president Max Mosley in the Monaco Grand Prix press conference many people assumed Berger, an ally of Mosley’s, had been put up to it by FIA communications director Richard Woods.

However new rumours have emerged linking Berger with Mosley’s job. So perhaps his press conference remarks were a statement of his intentions were he to become FIA president. Here’s what he said:

Well, I never commented because I think it’s an entirely private thing. I think there is nothing to comment on. It’s something that has happened with grown-up people, nothing which is against the law and I have to say I’m very surprised how many angels there are around here, especially in Formula One. Suddenly everyone seems to be very clean and very nice.

But to connect this to the job of Max Mosley, as an FIA president, I don’t think is right. I’ve been in Formula One a long time now. I’ve seen many things. I’ve been racing in the Max Mosley era and in the position that I’m in now. I think there are very few people ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ maybe nobody ?σΤιΌΤΗ£ who has had such an impact on safety for motor sport as Max. If you think back, especially after what happened in ’94 at Imola, it needed a very strong guy to change a lot of things: race tracks, crash tests, etc and to see an accident, like Kubica’s last year in Canada for example, before, you would have had no chance to survive.

I think he has had a lot of input even in road car safety, in the Euro NCAP, all these improvements in the crash tests save a lot of lives. I think it’s not fair to see it through the glasses as some people have tried to see it at the moment. I think it should be totally decided by the automobile clubs and by himself, how the future of the FIA goes, but it should not be run by newspapers or us.

I just know one thing: the sport needs a strong guy, a competitive guy, a strong guy who understands the business, and we definitely have this with Max and hopefully we will have in the future. That’s all I want to say.

Berger is the fifth most experienced Grand Prix driver with 210 starts and has won races for McLaren, Ferrari and BMW (the latter as an engine builder) and he managed the Munich outfit’s partnership with Williams. He now manages the Toro Rosso team, but it is set to be sold within the next 18 months.

Is Berger after Mosley’s job? Would he make a good FIA president?

The FIA senate will discuss the Mosley scandal on June 3rd.

Gerhard Berger biography

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13 comments on Gerhard Berger for FIA president?

  1. George said on 28th May 2008, 10:33

    My feeling is that this rumour is exactly that – a rumour. The media are now going to go wild on the Mosley story again as June 3 approaches. I’m inclined to agree with the line on grandprix.com, which is that it shouldn’t be taken seriously – not only does Berger have no serious involvement in the FIA at present, but given that Jean Todt has been unable to muster support from among the FIA clubs for a presidential bid it is even less likely that Berger would be able to do so.

  2. Cooperman said on 28th May 2008, 11:12

    It’s only a rumour, so you’d have to live in a world of fantasy (though not the same one that Max lives in) o see this being a reality. Having said that, how much would the FIA’s image become change if Berger was in charge?

    I’m a massive fan of Gerhard, and the legendary stunts he pulled. For Berger to be president of the FIA would be fantastic!!

  3. Don’t forget, George, Gerhard might have a better chance of gathering support from the teams than Jean Todt. After years of suspected collaboration between the FIA and Ferrari, Todt would not be (in my opinion) a welcome President for the teams or the fans.

    Whoever replaces Max, my biggest concern is that they might try to make their mark on the sport by introducing too many big changes, eg a major change to the points system or reverse grids.

    The new President has to respect the values and traditions of the sport. I think Gerhard might well fit that role.

    But alas, rumours, rumours…

  4. Sush said on 28th May 2008, 11:56

    Mario “iron Mario” Thiessen for president.

    He wants V10’s back in the sport.

  5. gerhard would seem to be an acceptable choice between manufacturers and drivers – but there isnt any substance in that at the moment and it would be another ex ferrari man as well – who knows – lets see how mad max’s lawyers get on in gay paree first.

  6. michael said on 28th May 2008, 13:58

    to be honest he could be a good FIA president and furthermore he would make a bad choice. Gerhard Berger has vested interest and I don’t see any reason to employ any one person from within the current F1 ranks. why not ask if Alain Prost would make a good president? Actually any savvy lawer would do proficient in current and future technology plus the eagerness to keep pushing the envelope. so I don’t think we necessarily need an active nore former F1 driver.

  7. I’d disagree that ‘any savvy lawyer’ could jump in and do Max’s job. Granted, from a qualifications and abilities point of view, I’m sure they’d be adequate, but an understanding of the history of the sport is crucial. I want somebody who cares about the sporting side of F1, not just the business side.

    Competitors going on to become managers/coaches/leaders is a natural progression in any sport.

    How about Jackie Stewart? He’s already done a great deal for the sport in terms of safety and seems to have a good business head.

  8. SeanG said on 28th May 2008, 15:49

    No Ferrari-related person should go become FIA president.
    I would go even further and say that a motor racing person is not preferable.

  9. michael said on 28th May 2008, 16:47

    As SeanG correctly pointed out in my view, no motorsport related person should take over the reigns would clearly be my preferance. What I meant to say was a laywer who deals on a daily basis with patent proofing and or design technology there are some really good heads out there who can make a diference. But when it comes down to Ferrari related person I would venture the argument that we all are currupt to some degree so who ever steps in would surely brig with him or her a degree of flawedness.

  10. i bit rich from Berger to compliment maxxx with safety,if maxxx had taken notice of Bergers smash at that wall at Imola,senna would still have been alive today!

  11. Berger would make a piss-poor president. Un-biased, equanimity, reserving opinion are not words that spring to mind in describing him.

  12. I would rather follow what Jackie Stewart has said in the past and have an independant FIA President drawn from Industry (even the Motor Industry) who can keep control of the different vested interests which are becoming more apparent in Sport.
    How about Alan Sugar? He would be great at shouting down a rowdy Bernie.
    I don’t think anybody who has close links with any current team or manufacturer should be chosen – which in overall motorsport terms would rule out a lot of potentials, since nearly every manufacturer races something, somewhere in the world.
    Any thoughts on this?

  13. Gman said on 29th May 2008, 21:33

    Shsh, another good one! I always thought of him more as “Super Mario,” after the video games, but you’ve got a better one this time.

    As I’m still new to the sport, I don’t know enough about Berger to make an honest statement on his chances at the job and if he would be qualified or not. I do think it is important to have someone in the office who is both aware of motorsports history and safety issues, and also knows the new angels in the business side of things. Understandibly, such a role is difficult to fill, but I’m sure it can be done. As much as I’ve been disgusted by Max’s scandelous behavior, I have always saluted the work he’s done towards safety, and hopefully whoever succedes him will have that same vision.

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