Berger predicts long reign in F1 for Vettel

(L to R): ROC Nations Cup winners Team Germany, Sebastian Vettel (GER) and Michael Schumacher (GER).

Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher

Sep.23 (GMM) Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing could be set to reign over a new era of dominance in Formula 1, similar to the one enjoyed by Michael Schumacher and Ferrari at the start of the new millenium.

That is the view of former grand prix winner and paddock personality Gerhard Berger, a countryman and close friend of Red Bull mogul Dietrich Mateschitz.

He is also the former team co-owner of Vettel’s first team Toro Rosso.

“If he keeps it up like this and Adrian Newey keeps on building such brilliant cars, then it pushes slowly into dimensions that have only been seen with Schumacher and Ferrari,” Berger told Die Welt newspaper.

But another Austrian, triple world champion Niki Lauda, is not so sure Schumacher’s seven world titles will be troubled. “What happened with Michael will probably remain out of reach for Sebastian,” he insisted.

Lauda referred to Schumacher’s era of success that featured a Ferrari budget approaching EUR 400 million a season, unrestricted testing and a works-style relationship with tyre supplier Bridgestone.

“For them it was the perfect system,” he said.

According to Pirelli’s Paul Hembery, however, it is the little things making the difference for Vettel, who he said was the only F1 racer in 2011 to make a surprise visit to the new tyre supplier’s factory.

Hembery told Spain’s Marca newspaper that the visit was in the dead of the Christmas period.

“He wanted to know what was going on, to see the labs, meet the staff, think about the sporting side and strategies, compounds, everything.

“I can’t say what advantage that gives you but if that’s what you do with each aspect of the car then you can understand the results,” he said.