BMW motorsport director Gerhard Berger has been awarded the Grand Decoration of Honour in Gold for Services to the Republic of Austria, the first person in motorsport to receive the award. Berger was nominated by the Federal Ministry for Public Services and Sports and the Honour was presented by Austrian President Thomas Klestil.
"Mr. Berger has always driven with a red-and-white helmet on and has always remained faithful to Austria,' said President Klestil. "He is a very down to earth person. The Republic and I personally are by all means grateful to him and he absolutely deserves to be honoured."
Berger said the award meant a lot to him: "For 25 years now, have I been on both sides of the pit lane, and I have had many ups and downs," he remarked "Today is a great day. The older I get, the more meaningful the cups and such awards are to me. You begin to realize that your accomplishments do not go unnoticed."
The Austrian has hinted before that he may be ready to stand down from his role of motorsport director for BMW. However, should he stay in the business it would be with the same company: "After many years of travelling you get tired and I want to see my children grow up," he said. "But if I do continue working in the motor sport then I will stay with BMW."