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Gerhard Berger about Hockenheim 1997: "Everything was against me"

Thursday, August 10th, 2017 | Sports

(cafetheology.org) – 20 years after the wonderful comeback victory in Hockenheim 1997, when Gerhard Berger after the death of the father and three race compulsory break everything to reason And ground, we dedicate a special focus to the miraculous events (see the story of Technician Pat Symonds and team colleague Jean Alesi Berger's Resurrection). In an interview with 'cafetheology.org', the 57-year-old Berger reveals the background of the hour: why he was unhappy at Benetton, why Teamchef Flavio Briatore did not want him to drive in Hockenheim at all and from where he had the strength "Hockenheim was already one of my best victories, alone." "It was a great success for us," Hockenheim said Because the private environment at the time was so difficult for me, I was in the hospital with a cervical spine infection and surgery, was not quite fit for this race yet, was actually also critical in the team because I was not fit and The season has not gone perfectly. "" And then, just before I drove to Hockenheim, I lost my father in a plane crash N. There was a bit of a lot going on. Even in Hockenheim, nobody really understood why I was here. And the car was actually not a winner. "" All the signs were against me. But that has also affected my head: I said, now more. Then I drove pole position, the fastest lap, and I won the race. That was a special day. "Why Berger was unhappy at Benetton. Question:" How did this season go? They were very fast at the tests in Barcelona, ​​almost won the second race in Interlagos, and then the story began. "Berger:" I've already dragged them from the previous year. I got it under control, then it broke out again. So I took antibiotics. And they always get you down a bit when it comes to performance. "" The team was also incredibly difficult. The Ross Brawn went to Ferrari the previous year, and the team was a bit torn. So that was internally a madly bumpy story. I did not have easy with the car. It was not as I imagined it for my driving style. "Benetton was the first team I did not feel comfortable with." Gerhard BergerFrage: "What did not fit into your style?" Berger: "This has already been shown in the first tests. With this car, you were quick on a very fast time, but when it came to the last hundredth of a second, it was very critical in the aerodynamic boundary. Especially on ground waves. The airflow is always a bit torn off. Michael Schumacher had a good grip on this because he was up to it, he was trained for it. But I've done it quite hard, so I've flown a couple of times quite hard. "Question:" That was 1996. Was the car developed a little bit more in 1997 or was the problem with you? "Berger:" That was Already the characteristic of this car, but that has also had advantages, because it has maximized the aerodynamic downforce. And this always leads to the fact that the car is more critical in the border area. Then the airflow abruptly abruptly, and it is difficult to intercept the car. "" I did not feel comfortable in this team. This was the first team I did not feel comfortable about. But I can not say that anyone was not nice to me, but somehow that was not my team. "

Teamchef Briatore was not exactly known for his warm-hearted dealings


Question: "In your biography, Briatore has provoked you with his dazzling Italian style, but then she turned out to be 'cold and unscrupulous' …" Berger: "Well, that also applies to Ron Dennis, Frank Williams, or Bernie Ecclestone, all of them were successful people and aliens, and I found the Flavio quite likeable, but it was not always easy to work with, I simply believe that trust was not there. " Because of the sinuses in front of Canada with a specialist in the USA Flavio then spoke with him behind her back and forced you to the substitute bank Would you have been able to drive then? Berger: "I wanted to drive in Canada, wanted it like in the race With antibiotics. But I was, on the whole, on the one hand fattened because the Flavio behind my back talked to the doctor and gave him free information. "" What was not a problem, but the procedure did not please me. But then, frankly, I was also glad that I was finally in the hospital and the matter in attack. "Why Briatore wanted that Wurz drives in Hockenheim question:" Alex Wurz has then taken over your car. Briatore was interested in getting him into the car for financial reasons, Berger: "Yes, there was a financial story, but that was no problem for me at the moment, Alex was our test driver and I was in the hospital. It was a very logical decision that Alex was driving this car, which was good, but the whole thing was financially linked, of course. "Question:" Wurz brought a sponsor and was able to take over the car. . "Berger:" Yes, whatever that was structured with Alex's sponsors and money, but that's nothing untypical. "

After third place as a Berger replacement in Silverstone, Wurz was regarded as the star of the future


Question: "Briatore threatened to break the contract if you did not get immediate performance in Hockenheim …" Berger: "The problem was: Briatore had an agreement with the root management that the sum x fliest, if the Alex still But I did not know what to do, but I did not know what to say, And then came the news of your father's death … "Berger:" Yes, I was in the UK and got a call, then I flew home, and a few days before Hockenheim was the funeral of my father. " Question: How did you feel when you came to Hockenheim? "Berger:" I was still struck, still on antibiotics. I was not superfit – neither physically nor mentally. I've known I have to fight now, because of course everyone is asking my approach. People said: He was in the hospital now, the father has just crashed, why does not he allow himself time, why does he drive the next race? He should make test drives, which would probably bring more. It was sort of a strange mood. "

Already during the season of 1997, Berger were plagued with resignation


Question: "Before the weekend, you announced at a press conference not to go to Benetton in 1998 …" Berger: "Yes, because I did not feel comfortable in this team, and because I do not get the support in this difficult situation "Which was the only thing that Benetton had to say about his career?" Berger: "It was already on Benetton , But the thoughts of the end of the career were already present at this time, I just wanted to make sure that I had not been able to fix it at that time. "I wanted to prove it to the world …" The Hockenheim miracle: Q: And then everything suddenly seemed to be running smoothly: Pole position, fastest lap and victory. How did you experience the weekend? "Berger:" It's all just like running, but I've got it in every round Head said, That I would like to prove to the world that they are not all right if you do not trust someone who is in trouble. "Question:" Did the car feel good from the beginning? " Berger: "Yes. It was okay right from the start. That fit. "

Pole, Fastest Round and Victory: In Hockenheim, Berger was not slow down


"Yes, I was on a two-stroke strategy," Fisichella said. "I was not sure if that was the right way, but I knew what "It was already planned before the race." Question: "On lap 29, so before the second race Stop, there was a delicate situation when Magnussen had a major engine failure: a blind flight at over 300 km / h … "Berger:" That was a real fog, where I had not seen anything for a moment "In the previous year, you had two laps before the end of the race, which stifled the safe victory," he whispered in his head, "Berger:" Yes, of course. The previous year was still in my bones. It was in the penultimate round, and I had the victory in my pocket, even though one had to say that Damon Hill was under my gear at this time. But he had been ten laps long, and he would not have moved past me in the last two laps. He did not have a chance although he was quicker than me in the final stages. "Question:" They had no problems at all in 1997 with the overtaking maneuvers against Häkkinen and Fisichella, they were very self-confident … "Berger:" It was really me care less. At this point, I said, "I want to win this race." Berger leads victory "Power from the top" back "The situation was shit – and then I win everything. Then I thought: somehow there is something … "Gerhard BergerFrage:" How were the last racing circuits from an emotional point of view? "" I can not remember that anymore. But I still know that I was quite touched after getting off and on the way to the podium. I stood on the podium and thought: How is that actually? There is perhaps somewhere a dear God or somebody who directs. Because it was not then at this car, which was superior. The situation was shit, the physical conditions were shit – and then I win everything: pole, fastest lap and victory. Then I thought to myself: "There was something like that …" Question: "You said at the time that you have never had such a feeling before …" Berger: "Yes, that had by the connection with my father Already a special value. "Have you thought about these moments on the pedestal consciously?" Berger : "No, I have not saved. I saved the Ferrari victory in Monza. Funnily. If you ask me, I immediately remember the podium at Monza in 1988, where the people have almost crumbled down, but Hockenheim is not in the program. "Question:" How did Briatore react to victory? "Berger : "Italian. Before the race, he said, "That's all wrong, you're not fit. After the pole position: You are the best. "After the victory, Briatore said to me," Now we win the world championship. "Flavio Briatore Question:" They already won in Hockenheim in 1994, had to win in 1996. Why were you always so good at Hockenheim? "" I do not know. But I have always liked to drive cars with little wings. Monza and Hockenheim were always a slide, because one hardly ran wings. Perhaps it is that … I have always felt comfortable in Hockenheim. "Despite the victory: resignation from the resignation was not a question of debate:" Was there a big party after the victory? "Berger:" No. I flew to the concert of Michael Jackson in Nice. "Question:" … in the private jet of Ron Dennis. There were rumors at the time that you could switch to McLaren. "Berger:" Yes, there was some conversation, but these were only the last convulsions. "

Twenty years after Gerhard Berger, his nephew Lucasauer also triumphed in Hockenheim

© Daimler

Q: So, after the miracle of Hockenheim, was there no thought to add another season? Berger: "No. For me this was done." Question: "Exactly 20 years after the victory in Hockenheim, your nephew Lucasauer has been there "I think it's a good thing that the family is always back at the racetrack, and that we are starting to bring a bit of a race tradition into the family But I think it's a good idea if my son will be able to reach some point or not, but it's nice if family generations meet at the racetrack. "Question:" Lucas has tested for Force India in Hungary It's nice to see the Lucas in Formula 1. But I think you can only tackle it one by one. "

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