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Berger ready to quit F1 06 Mar 2003

Gerhard Berger (AUT) BMW Motorsport Director is interviewed by the World's media.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, 6 March 2003

BMW Motorsport director Gerhard Berger plans to quit F1 when his contract runs out in September this year. Then the 43 year-old Austrian says he will retire.

"The decision was far from easy for me," Berger revealed in Melbourne, Thursday. "My job as BMW motorsport director means a great deal to me, especially as I have a deep-rooted and special relationship with the company. After all, BMW gave me the opportunity and its trust to prove me entrepreneurial capabilities as well after my active career as a racing driver.

"My relations with the decision-makers at BMW have been excellent, and working together with Mario Thiessen as a directing duo has not only functioned extremely well but has also been very successful. Our target was to build up a powerful team, and we managed to do that. But it's a very time- and labour-intensive job and demands the life of a vagabond, such as I've now been living since my early motor racing days in 1979. For the future I would simply like more time for my private life, for my family and myself."

Berger does not have to worry about money. In 1992 alone he beat the slump in the driver market by signing for Ferrari at $11m, and has interests in the trucking business set up by his late father.

BMW Motorsport said it was far too early to comment on whether Berger would eventually be replaced.