Formula 1 legend Gerhard Berger foresees a fourth consecutive world championship for Red Bull and Max Verstappen in 2024. The former F1 driver and motorsport executive, now retired, reflected on the current state of the sport, balancing its sporting aspect with entertainment value.
Berger acknowledged the success of F1’s strategy in filling stands but noted the sport’s evolution due to social constraints. He pointed out the stark contrast between F1 and MotoGP, highlighting the grit and resilience of MotoGP riders compared to the relatively pampered environment of F1 drivers.
Discussing Red Bull’s technological mastery, Berger lauded the team’s flawless preparation, which saw Verstappen go through the entire 2023 season without a car failure. This level of perfection, he noted, was unheard of in his racing days.
Berger also marveled at Verstappen’s skill, placing him above even Ayrton Senna, his former McLaren teammate. “Max didn’t make a mistake last season – and Ayrton made them now and then. But Verstappen is now doing virtual races on the simulator in his free time – sometimes three a day. He’s always thinking through where you can overtake and where you can’t,” Berger explained. He commended Verstappen’s consistency and tactical acumen, traits not seen in Senna, Schumacher, or Hamilton to the same extent.
Despite predicting Red Bull’s continued success in 2024, Berger believes that the team’s reign will eventually end. The catalyst for change could be internal shifts within the team or radical steps taken by competitors. “Once a team loses two or three key positions, the balance of power shifts,” he said.
While Berger places his faith in Ferrari’s potential resurgence and acknowledges the strengths of Mercedes, Hamilton, and McLaren, he concedes that 2024 might mirror the one-sided nature of the previous season. However, he remains optimistic about F1’s resilience, recalling the intrigue surrounding Schumacher’s dominance and the perfectionist approach of the teams.