F1: Vettel Now Better Than Alonso, Hamilton - Berger

Mike Stevens | Dec 30, 2011
  • Vettel now better than Alonso, Hamilton - Berger
  • Vettel 'could beat Schumacher records' - Todt
  • Marko was unhappy with axed Alguersuari in October
  • Domenicali in 'eye of the storm' at Ferrari - Todt
  • Retired Berger too content to consider F1 return

Vettel now better than Alonso, Hamilton - Berger

Sebastian Vettel proved in 2011 that he is the best driver in formula one.

That is the claim of former Toro Rosso team co-owner Gerhard Berger, who in 2008 stood on the podium to collect the constructors' trophy after Vettel won the first of his now 21 race victories.

"The boy is just great and he's also with the best team," said the Austrian, referring to Toro Rosso's parent team Red Bull Racing.

"In the meantime he has become the best racing driver in formula one," Berger told the Austrian broadcaster ORF.

"Last year I would have put him together on a level with Alonso and Hamilton, but after this season I have to say -- he's the best."

Vettel, 24, won the 2011 championship in dominant style after his breakthrough title last year, and Berger tipped the German for more success.

"Together with Red Bull, he will be the front runner again next year," he said.

(GMM)

Vettel 'could beat Schumacher records' - Todt

Sebastian Vettel could be on a winning streak that races him past the record-setting achievements of Michael Schumacher.

That is the claim of Jean Todt, who before becoming president of F1's governing FIA was Schumacher's boss and close personal friend as Ferrari team principal.

Schumacher was 26 when, in 1995, he became world champion for the second time -- a milestone reached by Vettel in 2011 at the tender age of 24.

"Vettel could beat Schumacher's records," predicted Frenchman Todt, referring also to the seven time world champion's 91 wins, "but it's not something that needs any more reflection than that.

"They are both great types, the same only in their backgrounds as Germans, with very different personalities and characters."

He also thinks Schumacher - albeit nearing his 43rd birthday and now with Mercedes - could win again.

"Remember that he didn't immediately dominate at Ferrari," Todt told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

"There are no miracles in formula one. Those who return after three years and do not get the best car do not win straight away.

"He is certainly handling the pressure just as well and so I can imagine him on the podium again," he added.

(GMM)

Marko was unhappy with axed Alguersuari in October

Sections of the Spanish media claim to have unearthed perhaps the true reason for Red Bull's decision to drop Jaime Alguersuari.

The young Spaniard's Toro Rosso teammate Sebastien Buemi has also been ousted so that the Faenza camp's lineup will feature the fresher faces of Daniel Ricciardo and French rookie Jean-Eric Vergne next year.

But the Spanish reports, including the ABC newspaper, have seized on a video that was recorded in the Toro Rosso pits during Saturday practice in Korea in mid October.

It depicts Alguersuari - in the presence of his boss Franz Tost - being told off by the implacable Dr Helmut Marko, the manager of the energy drink company's driver programme.

ABC said it was "the day Alguersuari's wings were cut".

Marko is telling off Alguersuari, 21, not only for holding up senior team Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel on a flying lap but also for "not accepting" the rebuke.

After Alguersuari hits back by enquiring sarcastically if he is supposed to give way to the other cars "on every single lap", Marko turns to Tost and says: "That's not acceptable."

(GMM)

Domenicali in 'eye of the storm' at Ferrari - Todt

The top job at Ferrari is "the eye of the storm", the fabled Italian team's former boss Jean Todt has admitted.

Frenchman Todt, 65, is now the low-profile president of F1's governing body, succeeded at Ferrari a few years ago by Stefano Domenicali.

Ferrari - the sport's most famous team and a symbol of Italian national pride - intends to bounce back in 2012 to win its first drivers' title since Kimi Raikkonen's four years ago.

"Stefano's role is the eye of the storm," Todt, referring to the immense pressure of leading Ferrari, told Corriere della Sera newspaper on Wednesday.

"I was also constantly the subject of criticism and I'm proud that in the end I made the decision about how I should retire after all the risks that I would be fired."

He gives the example of 2011, with Ferrari insisting it now needs to take an aggressive new approach to next season.

"It was claimed that they did not have a competitive car but I don't agree," said Todt. "The Ferrari was not as good as the Red Bull but in any case it was still a good car."

He also commented on Felipe Massa, the Brazilian driver signed by Todt to be Michael Schumacher's teammate in 2006.

Massa, managed by Todt's son Nicolas, has one year left on his current contract and is under huge pressure to keep his seat for 2013.

"Felipe was unable to adapt completely to the new Pirelli tyres," said Jean Todt. "I think he's still a good driver who will show that again.

"(Fernando) Alonso is the point of reference not just for him (Massa) but for everyone -- and Felipe was three tenths away from him, not three seconds," he added.

(GMM)

Retired Berger too content to consider F1 return

Gerhard Berger insists he is too content in his retirement to consider options to return full-time to premier motor racing.

After hanging up his helmet in 1997, the ten-time grand prix winner served as BMW's joint motor sport director before buying half of the Toro Rosso team.

With those adventures over, the 52-year-old recently denied reports he is set to buy the GP2 team Super Nova or replace Eric Boullier as Lotus' F1 team principal.

His latest role is as the president of the FIA's single seater commission, triggering rumours Austrian Berger might have designs to succeed Jean Todt.

"It's very simple," the former McLaren and Ferrari driver told broadcaster ORF.

"I would say that one half (of the rumours) is speculation, the other half are requests, but I decided to retire because I enjoy having the free time.

"Of course I am still interested and of course I am here and there, but I am finished with getting on the plane or on the road all the time and living formula one 24 hours a day.

"I never rule anything out but I think it (returning) would be a very difficult decision for me," said Berger.

He said he decided to head the FIA single-seater panel because his former Ferrari boss Todt asked him specifically.

"So I said 'Ok, I'll help you out and pass on my experience'."

As for replacing Todt as the Paris federation's president, Berger insisted: "That's not for me."

(GMM)

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Filed under: f1, Racing, sebastian vettel, red bull f1, jean todt, helmut marko, jaime alguersuari, News, toro rosso f1, enthusiast, gerhard berger

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