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08/15/2010

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Wow, I pert near watched every F1 race during the Gerhard Berger era from the time he started with ATS doing a very gutty and credible job to his swansong with the Benetton team. I get the feeling his comments have as much to do with the way he got to F1 rather than some of the silver spoon entries in today’s series. But I don’t recall the driving being any rougher in his day unless you count Andrea deCesaris bouncing off concrete every other lap.

I do feel the driving talent then was far better than what I see today however.

Early on in his career, Berger had to go up against guys like Senna, Prost, Mansell, Piquet, Alesi, Alboreto, Arnoux, Rosberg Sr. etc and I would not rate today’s bunch at the same level.

It's one thing to have "all the respect in the world" for Clive Rayman and his ilk but it's a great deal harder to have any respect at all for his half-witted declaration that, "There are few drivers with any real balls left," he writes. "Racing was meant to be dangerous . . . now, we've got a bunch of prima donna scaredy cats driving race cars."

That's just an ex-racer sitting on his ass and flapping his gums. If you follow his kind of logic, then you'd take all the safety equipment out of the cars and have the drivers wear '30s-style cloth helmets. Just to prove that they're REAL men -- even the women drivers. 'Cause racing's "meant to be dangerous."

Anyone who lets him/herself be strapped into a Formula One car (or an Indy car for that matter) in my book is a courageous person. Allenparkpete is right about the pool of driving talent being a lot shallower now than it was in Berger's heyday. But the level of courage, I believe, is very little different. It absolutely takes "real balls."

Formula Ford is NOT Formula One. Mr. Rayman may have been a pretty big fish in his time but it was in a pretty small pond.

What Schu did in Jerez 1997 and Adelaide 1994 cannot be compared to what he did two weeks ago.
I do not understand why people take these examples. Those moments had the world championship at stake. I would have done the same things in his place.
What he did two weeks ago was for nothing. His motive had no reason (other than maybe personal issues against Barrichello because of what he said about Schu in media inteviews). They both were lapped.

Bereger's opinion is not really relevant.

Mr. McDonald,
The "runner" in The Challengers is Craig Hill, not Bill Brack.
It is in fact Bill who is playing squash.
Thanks for posting the link, now I can show the kids some of their Grandfather's racing days. My father has the original film version, but it's easier to view on the internet.
Michael Hill

The Formula Atlantic Series in the mid-late 70's was some of the best racing around. Full-fields - check out the video of 40 cars heading into the first turn at Ste. Jovite, International Stars - imagine some of today's top F1 drivers dropping in for a run like they used to at Trois Riviere - James Hunt, Alan Jones, Jean-Pierre Jarier, Patrick Depallier,Jacques Lafitte, Keke Rosberg et al - who in turn generally got thumped by our own Canadian driving heros. It was heady times for Canadian Motorsport, which due to economic conditions, we will never see again. Imagine if you will current World Championship leader Mark Webber running a car for the weekend as James Hunt did in 76, while he was leading the championship. He was so blown away by the talent of Gilles Villeneuve, he returned to Europe to tell the Mclaren ownership to give him a ride - the rest is history.
Many talented drivers used this springboard to greater things. A number of F1 world champions came out of this series, Indy Car champions and Sports Car greats too. What a shame that it died a slow death over the past few years and is non-existant today. Drop Indy-lights - bring-back/promote Formula Atlantic and grow the fields again for the sake of the fans - who wants to watch a field of 12-16 cars like in Lights now - boring!!

Thanks for the post and particularly the link to the film and comments by Michael Hill. The link to the film really highlights a special time in Canadian motorsport. Great to see the footage of Craig Hill back in the day.

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