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Gerhard Berger: ‘Motorsport as a whole is sick and needs urgent treatment’

The DTM is facing a transitional year in 2018. In this climate, series boss Gerhard Berger has had to think long and hard about their next moves. In his opinion, racing as a whole needs to re-evaluate where they draw the line between motorsport as entertainment and an excercise in engineering.

Gerhard Berger

“Everywhere in Motorsport you find the same problem,” warned the Austrian speaking to Speedweek. “It depends on the series but they all have their problems. Motorsport as a whole is sick and needs urgent treatment partly because it disregards the fans and because the cost/benefit ratio is often not right.”

In order to execute this vision of a better spectacle, the series has a adopted a number of measures to reduce aerodynamic efficiency by 30% in 2018. The idea is aimed at preserving the touring car DNA of the championship.  

On the sporting side, rolling “Indy” restarts will be dictated by the leader’s speed when the green flag is waved and teams will no longer be able to use pit boards to convey strategic messages in order to execute controversial team tactics like we’ve seen in the last few seasons.

For the 10-time grand prix winner at the helm of the series, changes like these are a step forward in order to keep manufacturer interests in line with the overall vision of the series.

“They use their massive technical possibilites like windtunnels and simulators that often lead to an explosion of costs. That needs to be contained”, he said. Catering to the manufacturers often times means neglecting other stakeholders. In this case, Berger believes that fans have had to withness a development battle with little to none entertainment value.  

“The customer is king and our customer is the fan”, said the series boss, referencing a famous German saying. “They don’t care what kind of materials are used to build pistons, what kind of combustion procedure the engines use or how the aerodynamics work in detail. They can’t really tell the differences between cars.”

Utlimately, Berger believes that a balance needs to be found between what the manufacturers want to accomplish and what creates an enjoyable spectacle on the track.

“We need to accept that technical differentiation is only possible to a limited extent if we want to keep costs under control and offer good racing. DTM’s main motivation needs to be sporting and emotional”, concluded Berger.

Source and Image: Motorsport Week