Berger: Alonso was the most complete driver, but after 2013 I would put Vettel first

Gerhard Berger mentored Sebastian vettel to his first grand prix victory at Monza in 2008 for Toro Rosso

Gerhard Berger mentored Sebastian vettel to his first grand prix victory – Monza 2008 for Toro Rosso

In the view of ex Formula 1 driver Gerhard Berger, Red Bull’s quadruple World Champion Sebastian Vettel has overcome Fernando Alonso as the very best driver in Formula 1 after his dominant performance last year.

Berger nonetheless admitted that the style of Vettel’s domination in 2013 was a questionable spectacle.

“I didn’t turn the television off, but sometimes I fell asleep in front of it,” the inimitable Austrian legend told Auto Motor und Sport.

For many, Vettel’s nine grands prix wins on the trot in the second half of 2013 ended the debate about whether the 26-year-old German is a true great. But many still regard Ferrari’s Spaniard Fernando Alonso as better.

“That’s not fair,” Berger told the German magazine.

Sebastian Vettel with Fernando Alonso

Sebastian Vettel with Fernando Alonso

“Mark Webber is a very good racing driver, and he was also sitting in a Red Bull,” he said. “Until a year ago, I still saw Alonso as the most complete driver, but after [last] year I would put Vettel in first place for the first time.”

Berger thinks that Alonso’s outbursts against Ferrari revealed a chink in his armour, while in contrast Vettel redoubled his efforts when things were not going quite right early on. As for Lewis Hamilton, Berger thinks that the Briton is now lagging behind the very best.

“For me, just behind Vettel and Alonso comes Raikkonen, although with Alonso [at Ferrari] he might now reach his limits.

“Hamilton is also not as complete as [Alonso and Vettel], who are in a league of their own. Hamilton’s speed is enormous, but he has too many distractions.

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg

“I am impressed by Nico Rosberg,” said Berger, “who is underestimated. He did an unbelievable performance against Michael Schumacher, and now he’s doing the same with Hamilton.

“Step by step he is bringing the [Mercedes] team to his side. It was like that with Schumacher and now he’s turning the tables for a second time.”

As for Nico Hulkenberg, Berger thinks the German is “good” but “too hyped up” by the media.

“He was [going to be] driving for Ferrari, then Lotus, then McLaren, [but] all the trains departed,” he said.

Berger is also not shy to be honest about the new ‘double points’ innovation for the 2014 finale, brusquely dismissing the rule as “nonsense”.

Perhaps more than any, Berger is a purist. Asked to diagnose Formula 1’s biggest problem, the former Ferrari and McLaren driver thinks that the sport has become too sterile.

Nico Hulkenberg returns to Force India for 2014

Nico Hulkenberg too hyped?

“My gut tells me that 650 or 750 horse power for a Formula 1 car is not enough. Together with perfect aerodynamics, huge run-off areas and the electronic aids, the good are not different enough [to] the less good.

“In my time, when you did a perfect qualifying lap, you were a second faster than your teammate, because you were riding a cannon ball.

“Safety comes first, and rightly so, but the cars and the tracks are now incredibly safe. So I think we could have engines with 1000 horse power again.

“The fans should watch and say ‘I couldn’t do that’, like they do with MotoGP.”

Berger acknowledges, however, that he is simply of a different generation. Now, in the ‘green’, computer era, the FIA’s new and silent Formula E series might be set to take over.

“Could be,” he admitted. “I was asked if I wanted to be involved in Formula E, but I refused. This is not my kind of motor sport.

“I come from a generation that was proud of your car. You gave it wider tyres, tuned the engine, put a big wing on it.

“Modern cars are now so perfect that they are worse if you try to touch it. And if you bring a flash one to a disco, the women think you are a show off.” (GMM)

Subbed by AJN.

Content on by: staff & contributors, Reuters syndication, GMM service, Getty Images, Formula 1 teams, sponsors & organisations.

  • SteveisGreat

    Who asked Berger? Shouldn’t he be off ruining driver careers or something?

    Pisser is I agree with him 100% and now I feel dirty. He”s dead on about Vettel but even more so about Alonso and Hamilton and even more dead on about the state of F1 cars and the lamer than lame Formula E!

    “I was asked if I wanted to be involved in Formula E, but I refused. This is not my kind of motor sport.”

    Amen. Now I’m going to go shower with grain alcohol to try and get this dirt off. Bleeech.

  • Butterfly

    Every single year you have Berger, Horner, Marko, and Ecclestone spewing propaganda to improve Vettel’s image.

    They start singing in unison right after the season ends and it’s usually a discussion of Alonso versus Vettel.

  • O’Ferrari

    He said this last year “For me, Vettel is more complete as was witnessed by his comeback.”

    So was he lying last year.

    He only now thinkz vettel is the best.

    Every year the redbull propaganda machine comes out in full swing. Yawn.

    Next, Marko will be bragging about Seb’s sperm count or something.

  • Red Bull Cheats

    O’Ferrari, classic. Marko bragging about Vettel’s sperm count. What else can they say? If Red Bull had balls they would have put Kimi in the other car and watched Vettel get his a$$ handed to him. Instead they ran from the challenge. Alonso on the other hand will have yet another chance to show how awesome he is.

  • captain tortuga

    I think the alonso/kimi battle will totally depend on how well either one them performs in the first 4-5 races. After that the master/slave roles will be divided, and all is done.

  • Spartacus

    Finally reality is starting to sink in to those behind F1. Vettel is simply the best, and Alonso’s BS is now being seen for what it is.

  • WestMclarenMercedes

    I used to respect Gerhard so much. Now its gone. Hey gerhard. It not him its the CAR!! Makdonado said it himself he would have won the title if he had that red bull and you know how much we all trust his word. Here is the order

    Alonso, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Button, Grosean, Rosberg then vettel. They would have all won that title plus 3 if they had that car for petes sake berger. Your best friend Ayrton would say the same.

  • Jules

    It is pathetic that after 9 straight wins in a RB last year, Vettel still needs people around him to convince many fans that he is a great driver. It just proves one thing. Vettel still can’t convince many F1 fans and people in the paddock that Vettel is better than Alonso because it was all down to a faster and better car. Vettel’s racing skills are below Alonso and Kimi. He still can’t prove he can drag a 4th or 5th faster car onto a podium. Whenever Vettel has a 4th or 5th fastest car, he finishes 4th and 5th.

  • Gambrinus

    He’s spot on about everything in this interview.

  • Tamburello_1994

    I’ve heard more and more folks coming around to the obvious this last season. You don’t get to four championships by accident.

    Vettel has the hardware to back up Berger’s statement.

    Sebastian is on the up. Alonso has peaked. Simple as that.

  • Do a barrel roll at 1MPH

    As I read the comments on this. My iq dropped a lot. Some idiots on here

  • Elf

    Alonso’s brigade in action.

  • Tt

    All the 12 year old commenters here have no idea what this quote from Berger means to people who care about F1 more than about Bieber or Alonso or whoever.

    Berger is DEAD ON about the state of F1 today.

    Kids today watch and blow their mouths about F1 who don’t even have a drivers license… Let alone done 0-100mph in 4 seconds… Let alone raced and crashed on track…. how would they know what it is like to qualify a 1600hp car weighing 400 pounds less than a modern F1 car around Monaco.

  • Tim

    Preach it G. Berger!

  • Tim

    All the 12 year old commenters here have no idea what this quote from Berger means to people who care about F1 more than about Vettel or Alonso or whoever.

    Berger is DEAD ON about the state of F1 today.

    Kids today watch and blow their mouths about F1 who don’t even have a drivers license… Let alone done 0-100mph in 4 seconds… Let alone raced and crashed on track…. how would they know what it is like to qualify a 1600hp car weighing 400 pounds less than a modern F1 car around Monaco.

  • Krunksoft

    The people in Formula One are all professionals with alot of experience so I have no sympathy for them when one driver and one team dominates. If you don’t like it get your combination of car/driver spot on as Red Bull clearly has. There’s no way you can prove that if Vettel were in a different car the results wouldn’t be similar if not the same. The only thing we have to go on is results, and they speak for themselves. I fully expect Reb Bull to dominate again next year and it will start right around the middle of the season. Winning 9 races in a row is ridiculous in ANY car. Not everyone can do that so give Vettel his props and hope the new Formula next year evens the field. As for Formula E, it’s not a competitor to F1 so I don’t understand the angst. It’s really a compliment to F1, simply something different from the FiA. The sound the cars produce is about 80 decibels, similar to a motorcycle or consumer sports car. Not nearly as loud as a typical race car but far from silent. Because the cars produce less noise they can race on new streets circuits around the world where F1 can’t. The torque the FE cars put out is VERY impressive. Just give it a chance. There’s no reason you can’t be a fan of both. There’s plenty of LOUD racing for us all to enjoy already.

  • haha

    I say it every day on this forum, Fia kills F1 to promote “formula E”. Like the words above “formula E could take over” confirm. First WRC was killed then IRC now F1? Motogp nearly survived but it was close to quits you know.

  • haha

    Krunksoft, really? No sound or artificial sound and look at those ugly michelin 18″ rims, plain aweful. Diesel almost killed Le Mans, to me Toyota are the real winners in Lmp1! Hope Ferrari shows Audi a lesson in the near future, with a petrol engine! If you people haven’t realized yet that global warming is one big “green and clean” money farce. Sorry but weather manipulation exists for decades now, keep laughing with so called “nuts” who believe in Haarp en chemtrails. Tune in on CNN please, numbnuts! You still believe in 9/11 orchestrated by a sheepherder and in the Boston bombings planned by the Mario brothers :-). Nice dreams people, mèèèh. Bread and games, bread and games my friends!

  • Red Bull Cheats

    @ Krunksoft , you say “The people in Formula One are all professionals with alot of experience.” And for the last few years they have voted Alonso the best driver, well ahead of Vettel. If ANYONE thinks that a driver in F1 can be judged by their results alone, and not the car, the inner team politics etc then they are NUTS. F1 has always been this way. Berger is the best mate of Red Bull Boss, he used to own half of Torro Rosso and he is German speaking, like Vettel. And even HE said it took until this year for him to consider Vettel as good as Alonso. Haaaaaa.

  • Hawk

    You forgot Lauda

  • Butterfly


    You’re right. :-)

  • Madnessisfame

    Alonso raced hard & fought constantly putting him self & his car in danger to make up for the Ferrari deficiencies. With A bit more luck on his side, he would have won 2010 & 2012.
    Vettel, no doubt is a supreme driver, everyone…I mean everyone is so aware that he had the fastest car on all tracks in any condition. Perfectly balanced for him with an accurate brilliant downforce. It almost looked weird when the few times he doesn’t grab the poll. But when he does, he just ran to chase the back markers with no distraction a head of him. Vettel was hardly challenged on a racing day, while Alonso is trying to survive around better cars keeping his car on the track to bring valuable points…I am sure Berger is aware of that.

  • Butterfly


    Of course he is, but he’s got to help his Red Bull friends. I don’t think there’s any doubt within the F1 paddock about who’s the best driver.

    Even Vettel knows the truth, it’s just that he likes taking that flag first, even if he’s not racing anybody, not even backmarkers.

    He likes practice and qualy when cars just get out of his way. :-)

  • AlonsoFan

    amazing their(helmut,horner,niki) love child has won 4 titles and still it is Alonso whose bugging them. I mean I still don’t get it are they trying to convince themselves that Vettel is better or making a point. I still find it preposterous that they signed Ricarrdo to partner Vettel in a Redbull car. when they had choices of Kimi and Fernando, Lewis and Fernando only have the balls to partner World Champions as their team-mates..tells a lot if you know what I mean..Even Alonso says he isn’t afraid to partner Vettel but after Hungary 2013 when vettel was asked to choose a suitable partner he said Daniel hahahahahahahahahahahah..

  • wolfgang

    redbullcheats. funny, last year (2013) the teams and drivers voted vettel as the best. but then, what do they know?

    earlier you claim that rbr chickened out of hiring kimi. it was the other way around. kimi turned down the drive!

  • realf1fan

    Alonsofan , totally agree Lewis will take on all comers and defeats champions and Schumi beaters in the same car . Justin Beiber would never let speedking take him on in the Red Bull slingshots.

  • Jose

    I really enjoy the post…
    I still stand my ground about Vettel’s performance in
    second half of the season. I still believe some nefarious
    chicanery was at work…The voice of many, the car was
    analysed, checked off as completely legal, no hurt, no
    foul, no cheating found.
    No mistake Vettel is a member of that elite top five in F1
    a super quick driver.
    One Red Bull car was more that just competitive…

    Old Jose

  • O’Ferrari


    You must be either German or 12. Drivers voted alonso #1.

    Team principles voted vettel #1 (with webber #8)

    You cant just make sh!t up to try to prove ur point.

  • Kimi4WDC


    I would like to agree with you, but Chilton was just confirmed by Marrusia :(

  • Alonso_is_Slow

    Butterlfy = Alonso = Loser

  • Brit media at it again

    Berger, Marko, Horner, Eccelstone will make great casts for
    BAD GRANDPA part 2. with Vettel playing the grandson role.

  • wolfgang

    oferrari. YOU just did!

  • O’Ferrari


    Amazing comeback. I bet u stayed up all night thinking of ways to sugar your shit.

    principals overwhelmingly voted for vettel.
    Drivers split. Only two voted for seb. Six voted for alonso, with neither being out of the top four.

    Sooo, are u German or 12 or both?

  • Karloff

    Honestly, the reason why everything is about Vettel vs Alonso and who is better and who is real and who deserves it more and what so and so from the Austrian F1 mafia said, is…

    …is because all you want to read, all you want to see, is just that. I am pretty sure that Berger’s interview, as with any other, was about many things, of which Vettel vs Alonso was but one part- say two or three questions out of ten. The editor of this article chose to prune the interview and publish what his readership demands – controversy. Else we’d be reading the whole transcript and realizing that Berger & co probably don’t give that much of a **** about Vettel or others.

    Most of you, however, seem to be really bothered by the thought that Vettel is being considered the best and if not, that he has won 4 titles beating the supposed best. Get over it! Friggin’ boulevard non-sense!

  • Red Horizon


    I agree 100%

  • The Voice of F1 Fandom

    “Every single year you have Berger, Horner, Marko, and Ecclestone spewing propaganda to improve Vettel’s image.”


    And Surtees, and Murray Walker, and Stirling Moss, and Andretti, and Kimi Raikkonen, and all the rest of the German speaking propaganda brigade, all trying to convince us fans wat are real experts in F1 that the driver wat’s won the last four WDC’s is a great driver. But they can’t put one over on us!!!

  • wolfgang

    oferrari. you talk like a pubescent schoolboy. does talking dirty give you some sort of thrill? mods should remove your sick comments.
    and I see that you are also suffering from bigotry. what difference does it make where I come from? I don’t come from the sewer like you. nor am I german.
    happy now?

  • Krunksoft

    Why is Vettel held to a different standard than Alonso?? All I ever hear is how Vettel has to prove he’s the best by winning in an inferior car because that’s what the best do. Well by that logic shouldn’t Alonso still be winning races?? Either he’s overrated as a driver or Ferrari’s cars over the past 5 years have been absolute GARBAGE. Which is it?

    At the end of the day do you think Alonso would rather be regarded as the best driver or crowned as world champion?? I don’t think he would care what kind of car or reputation he has as long as he’s qualifying and finishing first… Seb has been doing with Red Bull.

    Does Seb need to win on 3 wheels and only 1 gear? With one arm tied behind his back as well? Maybe he should start a lap behind the field?

    The double-standard doesn’t make any sense to me.

  • farizY

    Well said.