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Berger questions driver career ladder

NEWS STORY
15/02/2013

Grand Prix winner and former Toro Rosso joint team owner, Gerhard Berger believes that there should be a more structured route for young drivers aiming for a career in Formula One.

The Austrian, who was appointed the FIA's Single Seat Commission President in 2012 believes that a more sustainable structure should be created in order that up and coming drivers are not spread out participating in various formulae around the world.

"The Commission looks at everything between karting and Formula One and I find that the pyramid at the moment is very loose," he told he FIA's InMotion magazine, "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."

Berger, who enjoyed a fourteen season F1 career which included stints with Benetton, Ferrari and McLaren, finishing third in the championship twice, says his plan is to define regulations for a simple sequence of steps from karting to F1 and allow each nation, region or promoter establish a series utilising those rules in their own territory.

His first move in this process was to institute the FIA European F3 Championship, which in 2012 replaced the FIA Formula 3 Trophy and resumes next month.

Run to the former F3 Trophy regulations, and contested over ten rounds, the FIA European F3 Championship features three prizes offering winners test drives in machines including a Ferrari F1 car. Berger's next target is helping young drivers move from karting to slicks and wings racing.

While this is all very well, no matter how or where young drivers make it up the ladder, it is increasingly obvious that it is their funding - as opposed to outright talent - that will really open doors.

Furthermore, drivers 'converging' on F1 having made their names in different series on the way up is part of the magic when they finally arrive on the F1 grid.

Not content with its obsession with one-make series, the FIA now appears to be looking at one-series drivers.

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